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.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Ulpha

Historical Forms

  • Wrenose 1576 S 1610 Speed
  • the mountain Wrynose 1610 Denton
  • Wrey Nose a great fell 1671 Fleming
  • wrye knott 1675 Sandford
  • Wry-Nose 1789 Clarke
  • Wreineshals 1157–63 LaCh
  • Wrainshals 1170–84 ib


The meaning of the name is shown by the early forms Wreineshals 1157–63 LaCh, Wrainshals 1170–84 ib., recorded for Wrynose Hawse (We). According to Ekwall (DEPN), the elements are ON  (v )reini , 'stallion,' and hals. But ON  (v )reini is a weak noun, and the -s - will be difficult unless we can assume that the 1157–63 form represents ON  (v )rein-nes , the second word, ON  nes, being used in the sense of 'spur of land.' hals is frequently used in Cumberland place-names in the sense of 'pass.' The modem name Wrynose results from an attempt to change the unintelligible (v )rein-nes into a word which conveys some kind of meaning.