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 Wawne

Historical Forms

  • Melse 1086 DB 1154 YCh1385–6 1238 Meaux
  • Melsa 1149–50,c.1150 YCh1379–80 12th Nunkeel 1163–4 BM 1465 Pat
  • Melsam 1246 Ass 1300 Ebor
  • Mealsa 1157,1162 P
  • Mealse 1176 Percy 1197,1198 P
  • Meausa 1158–62 YCh1387–90
  • Meaus 1267 Ebor 1286 Misc 1303 KF
  • Meusle 1175–85 YCh1066
  • Meus c.1180 LeonardR
  • Mehus 1196 FF
  • Meusse 1207 Cur
  • Mewes 1343 Baildon
  • Meaux 1291 Meaux 1339 Extent 1406 Melsa 1840 Poulson
  • Meux 1436 Baildon 1568 FF 1828 Langd
  • Meuxe 1530 Test


Meaux is the site of the great and important monastery founded by William le Gros, Earl of Albemarle and lord of Holderness about 1150 with a group of monks from Fountains (WRY). As with Rievaulx and Jervaulx (PN NRY 73, 250), the existence of the monastery has resulted in French influence on the forms of the place-name, but in this case the name is not of French origin, as it is already found in DB. Meaux was probably a compound of OScand  melr 'sandbank' and OE  'pool' (v. Kilnsea supra 15) or OScand  sǽr , and an exact parallel to it is found in the Norwegian lake-name Mælsjø (NoEN 157) and possibly also in Maalsjøen , earlier Melsøe (NoGN xiv, 368). The pool no longer exists. Cf. Ekwall in StudNP ii, 8.

French influence is to be noticed in the partial vocalisation of l in spellings like Mealsa and in the complete vocalisation in Mehus , Meaus , etc. The loss of the final vowel e and the replacement of s by x in the spelling were probably brought about by the monkish association of Melse , or its Latin form Melsa , with the name of the famous French  abbey of Meaux (originally Meldianum , OFr  Meldis )