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 Beverley

Historical Forms

  • Estorch 1086 DB
  • Storck' 1297 LS
  • Stork(e) 1309 Ebor 1321 BevAct 1577 BevRec
  • Stork-Hill 1828 Langd


It is obvious that this name goes back to a significant word and can hardly be connected with the bird-name stork . It is possible that it is a metathesised form of Norw  strok which enters into the Norw river-name Strokbækkern (NoEN 249) and place-names such as Stryker , called after the strong current of the nearby river (NoGN i, 115), Stryken (ib. iv, 134; v, 86, etc.), Struksanden near a stream Struka (ib. xv, 25). These names are related to OScand  strjuka 'to strike,' strykr 'strong wind,' Norw  stryk (masc.), strok (neut.) 'strong current.' The last goes back to an OScand  *strok which, at least formally, would suit Storkhill. The place stands on the river Hull, but it is doubtful whether the name could refer to the Hull at this point.It would seem therefore preferable to take into account a different root, OScand  storkna 'to stiffen, congeal' (especially of fat, etc.); in England storken (EDD s.v.) has developed a further sense, 'to grow strong or stout, to thrive.' The word is related to Gothic gastaúrknan 'to dry up' and, in a different grade, to OE  stearc 'rigid, strong,' *stercan 'to stiffen' (v. NED s.v. starch , stark ).The original sense of the group seems to be 'grow rigid, stiff.'It is not difficult to suppose the existence of an OE  *storc or an OScand  * stork , which might well have had a topographical reference to 'land dried up,' perhaps (in view of the meaning of dialect storken 'to grow fat') 'land built up or increased (through drainage)'; we may contrast the sense development in Swine supra 51. The land at Storkhill was originally marshland, but it has been extensively drained. A field (to which the name must have applied) between Storkhill Farm and the river Hull has been drained in a curious manner. There is a long ditch at right angles to the river and this ditch is fed by numerous cross ditches, of the usual field drainage type; instead of being shallow depressions, however, they are about four feet deep and the soil from these valley-like hollows would appear to have been thrown up on the intervening ridges. The drainage is not modern.v. Addenda lx.