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.

Worbarrow, Worbarrow Bay, Worbarrow Tout

Early-attested site in the Parish of Tyneham

Historical Forms

  • Wyrebarowe 1462 Pat
  • a Cryke in purbyke called Wyrbarow c.1500 RoyRoll
  • Worthbar(r)ow bay(e) 1575 Saxton c.1586 Tres 1861 Hutch3
  • Worbarrow (Bay) 1579 Hutch3 1774 Hutch1 1811 OS
  • Worebarrow (Bay) 1795 Boswell
  • Morbarrowe (sic for Worbarrowe) 1658 AddCh
  • Warbarrow Bay 1773 Bayly
  • Warbarrow Tout 1841 TA
  • Wer Coves c.1825 Map


Worbarrow (SY 871797), Worbarrow Bay, Worbarrow Tout, Wyrebarowe 1462 Pat, a Cryke in purbyke called Wyrbarow c. 1500RoyRoll , Worthbar (r )ow bay (e )1575 Saxton, c. 1586 Tres, 1861 Hutch3, Worbarrow (Bay )1579 Hutch3, 1774 Hutch1, 1811 OS, Worebarrow (Bay )1795 Boswell, Morbarrowe (sic for Worbarrowe )1658AddCh , Warbarrow Bay 1773 Bayly, Warbarrow Tout 1841TA the second el. is beorg 'hill', possibly with reference to what is now Worbarrow Tout (v. tot(e) 'look-out hill') described in Hutch3 1 619 as 'a little rocky conical hill…almost environed by the sea, being joined to the continent by a neck of land', v. bay 1 , crike 'a creek'. The forms are too late for any certainty about the first el., but it is possibly OE  weard 'watch' (as in Warborough O 138, cf. DEPN; for the Wyr -, Wor - spellings from OE  wear -, cf. Worgret in Arne par. supra ) or its mutated variant *wierde of similar meaning (v. Woodsford par. infra ), cf. Wor Barrow in Wimborne St G. par. infra which is probably analogous: the form from 1462 Pat occurs in a commission 'to set the accustomed watches at a place called Wyrebarowe by Pole [i.e. Poole par. infra ], for the safety of the town and the adjacent country'. The spellings in Worth - probably show association of the first el. with worð 'enclosure'. The early loss of -d - may be partly due to influence from OE  waru1 'defence, guard', cf. Warborough O 138 which has no -d - spellings later than 13th cent, and which Ekwall (DEPN s.n.) in fact interprets as containing waru 1 rather than weard . Worbarrow Tout is also known as Worbarrow Knob (Short 45), 1882 Robinson, v. knob . Caves here are called Wer Coves c. 1825 Map.