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 Wressell

Historical Forms

  • Weresa 1086 DB
  • Wresel(l) 1183 P 1226 FF 1468 Pat
  • Wesele (sic) 1190–1 P
  • Wresele 1253 Ch
  • Vresel 1267 Ebor
  • Wresille 1283 Ebor
  • Wresill, Wresyll 1342 SR 1362 Extent 1537 FF
  • Wresull 1462 Pat
  • Wressell 1285 KI 1359 Percy 1609 FF
  • Wressill 1583 FF


The most likely explanation of Wressell is an unrecorded OE  word *wrǣsel , a derivative of OE  wrāse 'knot, lump' and connected with OE  wrāsen 'tie, band,' wrīðan 'to twist,' and *wrǣst used of 'twisted, contorted land' in Wrest (PN BedsHu 162).OE  wrāse is the source of Wraysholme (PN La 197), where it appears to refer to a ridge and one or two small knolls close by, and of Wrose (WRY), Wrose 1379 Poll, 1547 FF, Wrayse 1426 Calverley Charters, where it applies to a steep rounded hill. At Wressell, however, the land is flat and the only slight prominence is the old site of the castle. In this case the derivative OE  wrǣsel might alternatively have reference to the marked bend in the river by Wressell church.

Places in the same Parish