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 Rowley

Historical Forms

  • to brusun laya, of rusun laya (for hruʒan lapa) 963 RegAlb 14th
  • Rule(e) 1150–60,1180–97 Melsa 1249 YI
  • Ruley 1227 Ebor
  • Ruelai 1204 Ass
  • Ruele 1274 Ebor
  • Rugeleg' 1268 Ebor
  • Roule(e), Rowle(e), Rowlay, Rowley 1276 YI 1280 Ebor 1544 FF
  • Roweley 1300 Ebor 1410 YI


If the first spellings are correctly identified with Rowley, as seems likely, the name was originally 'rough hill,' v. ruh , hlaw , but the second element has been changed under the influence of leah .