English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.

Sty Head

Early-attested site in the Parish of Borrowdale

Historical Forms

  • the Stey heade 1540 LRMB
  • the Stime (or Stye) head 1578 Cocker
  • Stye Head 1774 Donald
  • Edderlanghals, Hederlanghals 1209–10 CWxx
  • Edderlanghalf (sic) 1322 Cl
  • Edderlangtern 1209–10 CWxx
  • Edderlangtirn 1322 Cl


'Head of the path,' from OE  stīg. The original name for

Cf. also Ederlangebeck 1294 Cl. hals is OE h (e )als , or ON  hals, 'neck, col, hause.' The name Edderlang was doubtless first applied to the tarn. The second element, which seems to be derived from lang , 'long,' may be compared with that of Swedish lake-names such as Eklången and Lelången . The Edder will then be the earlier name of the tributary of the Derwent which runs down Sty Head Gill. By 1294, it had come to be known as Ederlangebeck . There are alternative explanations of Edder . It may be from OE  ǣdre , 'watercourse,' or from the adjective which gives the OE  adverb ǣdre , 'quickly, at once.' The latter would be admirably suited to a stream with so rapid a fall. See Ekwall RN 156. Edderlanghals , now known as Sty Head Pass, is the hause or col between Great Gable and Seathwaite Fell which is crossed by the sty or path leading from Derwentwater to Wastwater.