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 East and West Dawlish

Historical Forms

  • Checston, Checkston 1265 HMCExeter
  • Litleham juxta Chekston 1296 Ass
  • Lyttelham juxta Chikeston 1371 FF
  • villa de Chikeston 1388 Seld33
  • a ston called Orcheston now named Chikston 1422 HMCExeter


The term is now used of a sandbank and rock at the mouth of the Exe. It is clear that this is not the original name of the rock itself. There was a villa de Chikeston in the middle ages, in the neighbourhood of Littleham. This vill may well have been somewhere on the site of the present Exmouth which, as the name of a town, is not ancient (v. infra 591). The 1422 reference suggests that the rock was originally called Orcheston and came to be named after the vill at a comparatively late date. The ultimate etymology of Checston and Orcheston must remain uncertain.