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.


Major Settlement in the Parish of Drigg and Carleton

Historical Forms

  • Dreg 1175–99 DuLa c.1180 StB 1363 Ipm
  • Dreg in Coupland c.1290 StB
  • Drege otherwise Dregge 1557 Netherhall
  • Dregg(e) 1279 Ass 1514 BM
  • le Dregg 1279 Ass
  • Drigg 1572 FF
  • Drigge al. Dregge 1579 ib


In the first edition of DEPN, Ekwall suggested that this name represents an OScand  *dregi , the dative case, with mutated vowel, of ON  drag , 'portage.' The latter word may occur in dragg myre infra 393. In view of the situation of Drigg, it is not unreasonable to assume the existence of a portage between the sea and the river Irt at this point. In the Addenda to the second edition of DEPN, Ekwall quotes a Swedish place-name, Dräg, which apparently stands for a mutated nominative drægh , identical in meaning with drag , which would give a simple explanation of the Cumberland name. Derivation from ME  dreg , 'filth,' though possible (cf. Adel (WRY) and Mixon (St)), is less likely, for at present no other example of this word has been found in place-names.