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.

Monk Foss

Early-attested site in the Parish of Whitbeck

Historical Forms

  • Fossa 1135–54 DuLa
  • Fossa(m) 1135–52 Furness
  • Munkfossam c.1200 ib
  • Munkeforse c.1220 ib
  • Fors in Coupland 1242 ib
  • Mounkfors c.1280 ib
  • Mountfosse 1460 Pat
  • Monk Force 1610 Denton
  • Monkffoss 1738 CW(OS)xvi


The origin of this name is shown by a series of charters in the Furness Coucher (ii, 522–3), in the earliest of which Godard de Boivilla grants quondam carrucatam terre in Cauplandia , Fossam nomine to the monks of Furness. This carucate, or ploughland, appears again in an original charter of 1157–8 recording its surrender, as una carucata in Copelanda que dicitur Fossa , by the monks of Furness to Michael le Fleming (LaCh 307–8). The monks subsequently recovered this ploughland, and by the end of the 12th century, it had come to be known from their ownership, as Munk fossa . The original name was simply the Latin fossa , 'ditch.' The later name Monkeforse , Mounkfors is probably due to the influence of the name Hall Foss (supra ), a short distance to the north, deriving from fors .