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 Marnhull

Historical Forms

  • Marnhull(e) 1267 Glast m14 GlastE e14 Pat 1303 1316 Ch 1330 SR 1332 Glast 1338–40 GlastF 1341–2 Pat 1343 1347 DCMDeed 1349 Cl 1362
  • Marnhule 1338–40 Glast
  • Marenhull 1274 Pat 1308 FF
  • Marenull(e) 1291 Tax
  • Maren Hull' 1327 SR
  • Marenil 1291 Tax
  • Marmhull 1340 NI
  • Marmehull 1369 Cl
  • Marnehull(') 1417 IpmR 1443 KCC e17 Weld1
  • Marnell(e) 1426 IpmR Hy8 Rent 1535–43 Leland
  • Marnehill 1428,1431 FA 1448 Pat
  • Marnhyll, Marnhill 1489 Ipm


v. hyll 'hill'. Ekwall DEPN supposes that the first el. here as well as in Marnham Nt (Marneham DB) and Marlcliff Wo, Wa (Marnan clive , Mearnan clyfe 9th cent. in 11th cent. copy) is an OE pers.n. *M (e )arna (comparing OG  Marningum , v. Förstemann ON ii, 214), cf. PN Nt 190, PN Wo 314, PN Wa 202. On the other hand Kökeritz 122–3 favours a significant word *m (e )arn -, perhaps to be connected with the OE  adj. mearu 'tender, soft', which may have applied to 'some kind of stone or clay, for there are quarries both at Marlcliff Hill and at Marnhull. As pointed out in PN Wa 202, however, the stone quarried at Marlcliff is marble-like whereas that at Marnhull is a Corallian limestone (RCHM 3 148, cf. Hutch3 4305), and there are no quarries at all at Marnham Nt.

In the absence of very early forms, there can be no certainty about the first el. of Marnhull. However, the frequency of Maren - (alternating with Marn -) among the earliest forms, and the relatively late appearance of forms with medial e (Marme -, Marne -), should be noted, and may suggest that the first el. here is different to that in the other two names. Unfortunately the OE  adj. mearu (wk.obl. mearwan ) itself, although perhaps topographically suitable if taken to refer to the limestone found here, is hardly likely in view of the total absence of -w - among the forms.

Two early forms Meirnhylle 12 and Mereinhylle 13, cited by F. Perks, The Biography of the Dorset Village of Marnhull (n.d.) from Salisbury diocesan archives, look unreliable in view of the run of spellings above and in any case do not help in identifying the first el.

Places in the same Parish