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 Workington and Workington Rural

Historical Forms

  • Wirkynton c.1125 StB c.1540 Leland
  • Wrykinton 1275 FF
  • Wrykynton 1512 LP
  • Wirkyngton c.1130 StB 1564 FF
  • Wyrkingthon 1277 Netherhall
  • Wrykington 1279 Ass
  • Wirchintuna c.1130 StB t.Rici Ch 1308
  • Wirchinghetona c.1150 StB
  • Wirchintona c.1160 Lowther
  • Wirketon' 1211 Cur
  • Workington 1564 FF
  • Woorkyngton 1569 SP


This contains a personal name Weorc or Wyrc which enters into many place-names in the Anglian parts of England. The one individual who is known to have borne a name formed from this element—an abbess called Verca , mentioned in Bede's Life of St Cuthbert—lived near the river Tyne. If stress is laid on the form Wirchinghetona , the present name can be translated 'tūn of Weorc 's people,' but the other forms suggest that the -ing - was uninflected, and it is doubtful whether it can have had more than the force of a simple genitive. It may be added that for historical reasons the form Wurcingtun in BCS 815 cannot be identified with Workington, as in DEPN. It probably refers to Warkton (Nth).