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.

Duncliffe Hill

Early-attested site in the Parish of Stour Provost

Historical Forms

  • capud de Dunclive 1247 For 1270
  • capud de Dunclyve 1300 Hutch3
  • capud de Duncleve 1338–40 Glast
  • capud de Dunclyf(e) 1441 GillCt l16 KCC
  • (the top of) Duncliffe 1568 Hutch3
  • Duncliffe Hill 1609 LRMB
  • Dunclyffe Hill 1574 Hutch3
  • Donclyfe 1364 ib
  • Doncloyf 1364 For
  • Duneclyffe 1572 HaRO
  • Dunkly or Duncliff hill 1774 Hutch1
  • Doncliff 1811 OS
  • Dunclift Hill 1838 TA(Motcombe)
  • Dunkweie Hy3 Cerne 14


Duncliffe Hill (ST 826226), capud de Dunclive 1247 (1270) For , capud de Dunclyve 1300 Hutch3, capud de Duncleve 1338–40 Glast, capud de Dunclyf (e )1441GillCt , l16KCC , (the top of ) Duncliffe 1568 Hutch3, Duncliffe Hill 1609LRMB , Dunclyffe Hill 1574 Hutch3, Donclyfe 1364 ib, Doncloyf 1364For , Duneclyffe 1572HaRO , Dunkly or Duncliff hill 1774 Hutch1, Doncliff 1811 OS, Dunclift Hill 1838TA (Motcombe); the form Dunkweie Hy 3 (14) Cerne also belongs here but is apparently corrupt, though it may be a contraction of Dunklifweie , v. weg 'road'. The second el. of Duncliffe is clearly clif 'steep slope of a hill-side, escarpment'. The first el. may well be dūn 'hill, down' (for the somewhat tautological compound, cf. Dundridge Bk 144, second el. hrycg 'ridge'), but the adj. dunn 'dun, dull brown, dark' gives better sense, and more appropriately describes Duncliffe Hill, a prominent feature which rises to 691′ and which 'makes its dark presence felt in all this part of Dorset' (M. Pitt-Rivers, Dorset , 1968).