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.

Sowmead

Field in the Parish of West Orchard

Historical Forms

  • 1840 TA 939 ShaftR 963 ShaftR

Etymology

Sowmead(the situation of these fields not far from the par.bdy at about ST 829171 suggests a connection with the Anglo-Saxon bdymark to sugging made in the bounds of W Orchard(939(15) ShaftR(S445)), corresponding to to sucgimade hauede, of þane hauede in those of EOrchard(963(15) ib(S 710)). Perhaps the most likely explanation of theOE forms is that the first el. is a derivative in -ing1 or -ing2 of sug(g)a'swamp, marsh, bog'(surviving as Do dial. sog), alternating with adenominative adjectival form *sug(g)ig'swampy'(v. -ig3, cf. ModE soggy), thus'mead at *Sugging'('the swampy place') or'swampy mead', v.mǣd, with hēafod'head, upper end'. The later development of the namecannot be fully explained in the absence of intermediate spellings, but theSow of the modern forms may be due to the substitution for the first el. ofthe near synonymous sow(also sough, derived from the obl. and nom.forms respectively of an OE  *sōg, *sōh by Löfvenberg 194, v. sogh'bog,swamp'), or due to confusion of sug(g)a with sugu'sow, female pig'(cf.the interesting case of this confusion cited in EPN s.v. sugga, noting thatthe p.n. Southway So there adduced seems to be that to which the formsSogheweye, Soweye discussed by Löfvenberg loc.cit may refer))

Places in the same Parish