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.

Great Givendale

Major Settlement in the Parish of Great Givendale

Historical Forms

  • Geuedale 1086 DB
  • Gevedale 1212–7 RBE
  • Ghiuedale 1086 DB
  • Giuedal' 1231 Ass
  • Geueldal(e), Geveldal(e) 1120–9 YCh449 1158–72 1363 Ch
  • North Geveldal(e) 1296 YI 1373 Pat
  • Gevildale 1260,1422 YI
  • Geweldale 1290 YI
  • Ghiualdala 1142–54 YCh450
  • Gaveldal 1198 Fees
  • Ganedale 1203–4 Ass 1214 Abbr
  • Ginedal' 1204 ChR
  • Geveledale 1210–2 RBE
  • Giveldal(e), Giueldal(e), Gyueldal(e) 1231 Ass 1247 FF 1256 YI 1293,1299 Ebor
  • Gwyveldale 1293 ib
  • Gevendale 1231 FF 1301 Ebor
  • North Gevendale 1404,1421 YI
  • Geuindal 1260 Rental
  • Great Gevydale 1564 FF
  • Great Gevydale als. Gevingdale als. Geldale 1610 ib
  • Great Gevyndall als. Great Geldayll 1578 FF
  • Gyvyndall on the hill 1607 FF
  • Great Givendaile 1650 ParlSurv


On the whole the various spellings of Givendale and Little Givendale infra 179 point to an original form Geveldale . Gane - and Gavel - can hardly be variants of Givel -. They could, however, be AN  spellings of Gevel -. The Givel - spellings arise from the early raising of e to i which is found in Bridlington and some other names supra 100, whilst en for el is a common AN spelling (cf. IPN 107).

Zachrisson (NoB xiv, 57 ff.) has suggested that the first element of Givendale is an OE river-name *Gifel 'the giver,' as in Ivel (PN BedsHu 8) and some other names in Somerset and Cornwall. Ekwall (RN 221) doubts this, for river-names of OE origin are unlikely in the south-western counties. With McClure (141) he takes the river-name Ivel back to a British *gablo or *gablia 'a fork,' which would result in OE  *gefl , later *gifl . If we could assume that the stage *gifl was not reached in OE in the case of Givendale, then Ekwall's suggestion would be formally possible, and it would not be inappropriate topo- graphically, for Givendale is at the head of a small deep valley which stands at right angles to the main valley of Whitekeld Dale.In this case initial g would be due to Scandinavian influence.

The difficulty with this explanation is that the original Gevel - from which we must start is not found with other names which Ekwall rightly groups together as from British *gablo , etc. It would therefore be better to associate Givendale, and perhaps Givendale (PN NRY 94), with the Scandinavian cognates of OE gifol 'generous,' which Zachrisson adduces, such as OScand  gjǫfli 'the generous one,' or even OScand  gjǫfull 'liberal' itself.The sense of these words is extended to the idea of 'the giver of fish' in some Scandinavian river-names and place-names such as Norwegian Gjev (in Gjevedal ), etc., Gjønnes , from OScand  gef 'the giver' (NoE 67, NoGN ii, 132), Danish Gevninge , etc. (Olrik, Danske Studier , 1910, 26 ff.), Swedish Jäfvern , Gäven , etc., and others cited by Zachrisson (loc. cit .), and containing the root geb - with various suffixes. Givendale would mean 'valley of the Gevel (i.e. the stream rich in fish)' or 'the rich valley.'The stream is a small one but there are old fishponds in it. In Fangdale (PN NRY 68) we have a name that would be a parallel to Givendale (cf. Fangfoss infra 185).

Places in the same Parish

Early-attested site

Major Settlement