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.

Cockpit Hill

Early-attested site in the Parish of Derby

Historical Forms

  • Copecastel 1085 Dugd c.1236,c.1250,c.1266 Darley Ed1 RadCh
  • Capecastel 13th Darley
  • Castelcape 13th ib
  • Castell Hyll 1540 DbAnsviii
  • Castle Hill 1611 DbAxxxvi 1626 Brookhill
  • Cockpitt Hill 1760 DbAnsiv


Cockpit Hill (local), formerly Copecastel 1085 Dugd, c. 1236, c. 1250, c. 1266 Darley, Ed 1 RadCh, Capecastel 13th Darley, Castelcape 13th ib. It is Castell Hyll 1540 DbAns viii, Castle Hill 1611 DbA xxxvi, 1626Brookhill and later Cockpitt Hill 1760 DbAns iv, cf. The Cock Pitt 1610 Speed and Cowcastle Hill Close alias Cockpitt Hill Close 1711 DbAns iv. The earliest name is 'market castle' from ON  kaup 'bargain' later 'market' and castel(l) 'castle'. The market would therefore seem to have been of somewhat earlier date than the castle. Sir Frank Stenton comments “The general impression left by the Domesday account of Derby is that of a group of traders superimposed upon an economic organisation of the land such as was common to the whole of the county” (VCH i, 309). The castle itself was of the Norman motte and bailey type, the timber of which was never replaced by masonry and which consequently disappeared at an early date (DbStreet 6). A drawing of the old Cock Pit appears on Speed's plan of 1610.