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 Howden

Historical Forms

  • Belleby, Bellebi 959 YCh4 c.1200 DB 1086 FF 1199 BM t.Ed3
  • Ballebi, Balleby 1086 DB
  • Belby(e) 1285 SR 1576 NCWills
  • Beleby 1316 NomVill 1333 YAJxi


The first element would appear to be a pers. name Belle , but the ME  name Belle (from ME  bell ) is not on record early enough to be associated with this place-name. The OScand  Beli , gen. Belja , is possible (cf. Bielby supra 232), but it leaves us with ll unexplained. An OScand  by-name Belli , connected with bellinn 'bold' or with Norw  dialectal bell 'bell-clapper,' or Bjalla from OScand  bjalla 'bell,' may well have existed, though not on record. Though formally possible, OScand  bjalli 'a round hill' (as in Bjelle , NoGN xii, 89) is unlikely on topographical grounds.'Belli 's or Bjalla 's farmstead,' v. by .