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 Muncaster

Historical Forms

  • Mulcastre t.Hy1 Furness 1412 LP 1509
  • Mulcastel 1292 Ass
  • Mulkaster 1363 Ipm
  • Molecastre 1185–1201 DuLa
  • Molecastr' c.1200 LaCh
  • Molecastre 1265 Cl 1278 Ass
  • Mulecastr' 1210 Cur 1252 Cl 1279 Ass 1301 Ch
  • Mulecastre 1246 LaAss
  • Mullecaster 1278 Ass
  • Mulncastre 1278 Ass
  • Melecastre 1279 Ass
  • Mulcastr' et non Moncastel, Monescastre, Monecastr' 1292 Ass
  • Mulcastre vel Moncastre 1389 IpmR
  • Munkaster 1397 DuLa
  • Moncastre 1436 Fine
  • Moncastre al. Mouncastere al. Mouncastell 1505 Pat
  • Montcastre 1508 ib
  • Monkcaster 1525 CWxiv
  • Momaster 1576 S
  • Monkastle 1675 Sandford


The second element in this name is OAnglian cæster. As in Palmcaster supra 330, the first element seems to be a personal name.Formally, it may be OE  Mūla , recorded in Mulantun (Moulton, Nf).But OE personal names are very rare in the place-names of this county, and it is much more probable that the first element of Muncaster is the ON  by-name Múli , recorded in the north from the 10th century. The suggestion in DEPN that the first element may be the ON  múli , 'crag,' is made unlikely by the absence of any trace of this word in the numerous hill-names of Cumberland. The change from Mul - to Mun - is probably due to the common French interchange of l-r to n-r , or to change of l-l to n-l , arising in forms in which OFr  -castel has replaced the earlier -caster . A change of this kind would be natural in the name of an important feudal site. The forms Monescastre and Monecastr ' from the 13th century show that the change was not due to the influence of the word 'monk.'