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 Hotham

Historical Forms

  • be fastan hode 963 RegAlb 13th
  • Hode, Holde 1086 DB
  • Hodhu' 1086 DB
  • Hodhum early13th StoweCh
  • Hodum 1166 P
  • Hothum 1153–66 YCh 1401 YI
  • Hoðum 1167 P
  • Houthum 1203 Cur
  • Hodham early13th BM
  • Hotheham t.Hy3 SR
  • Hotham 1444 Test 1562 FF
  • Hothom 1285 KI 1296 YI 1457 YD
  • Hothome 1523 Test 1529 FF
  • Howthome 1546 YChant
  • Hoothome 1569 FF


Hotham should probably be taken with Hood (PN NRY 195), but it should be pointed out that the position of Hotham in the bottom of a valley rules out the suggestion made that Hood may mean 'a hood-shaped hill' (from OE  hōd ). We could, however, in either name, have OE  hōd 'hood' used as a nickname for some small dwelling. This use would be paralleled by Hove (PN Sx 293) from OE  hūfe 'hood, covering' and perhaps by Core (PN La 143) connected with OScand  kofri 'hood' (though perhaps in a purely topographical sense). But there is more probability in Professor Ekwall's suggestion (v. PN NRY 195) that we have an unrecorded OE  *hōd , related to OE  hēdan 'to protect' in the same way as German hut (subst.) to hütten (vb.), and having the meaning 'shelter'; cf. MLGer hoede 'protection' and so 'fortress.'

The earlier spellings of Hotham fluctuate between an OE  dat. sing. hode and a dat. plur. hodum 'at the shelters.' The spelling Hoothome (and the modern pronunciation) suggest a ME long vowel ō . Medial th for OE d is a fairly well-evidenced Scandinavian sound-substitution.

Places in the same Parish

Early-attested site