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.

Fern Down Hill & Fern Down Nursery, Ferndown

Early-attested site in the Parish of Hampreston

Historical Forms

  • Fyrne 1321 FF
  • Ferne 1358 ib
  • Ferne 13 Cecil 1244 Ass


Fern Down Hill & Fern Down Nursery (SU 072009), Ferndown (1″), Fyrne 1321 FF, Ferne 1358 ib, possibly from OE  fergen (WSax  fiergen) 'wooded hill', as suggested by Ekwall Studies2 140, cf. Verne Yeates 1220, Ferne Ho W 188, v. dūn . The forms Ferne 13Cecil , 1244Ass both (p) may also belong here. The hill is a low one in an otherwise fairly flat area between Uddens Water and R. Stour. However, as Professor Löfvenberg points out, all the forms can be derived from OE  fearn 'fern' (in a collective sense 'ferny place', cf. PN Brk 290) or a derivative of it, an OE  *(ge)fierne 'fern brake', and this explanation is probably to be preferred.