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.

St Osyth

Major Settlement in the Parish of St Osyth

Historical Forms

  • Cicc c.1000 Saints
  • Ticc c.1000 CCC383 c.1125
  • Cice 1086 DB 1123 ASC 12th
  • Cicia 1119 Colch
  • Cic c.1125 WMP
  • Citā 1086 DB
  • Chich(e) 1198 Colch 1218–60 FF
  • Chich(e) St Osithe 1289 ib
  • Chich(e) Seynte Osythe 1544 LP
  • Chyche, Chyche Regis alias St Osith's 1547 FF
  • Chicke 1230 Pat
  • Chic(h)che 1247,1256 FF
  • Chuch t.Hy3 FA
  • Chuthe 1358 FF
  • Cheche 1280 Ipm
  • Chichey 1552 Pat
  • Sancta Osida 1187 P
  • Sce Oside 1205 ClR
  • Seyntosid' 1229 Cl
  • St Osith 1280,1302 FF
  • Se(i)nt Osy(e) t.Ed1 ChancMisc 1467–73 ECP 1493 Ipm
  • St Osea 1713 WigboroughPR
  • Seint Osiez 1362 Pat
  • St Osyes 1467–83 ECP
  • St Oses, St Osis 1538 LP
  • Seynt Osees 1552 FF


The old name Chich is a difficult one to interpret. Professor Ekwall notes that it is on a creek and suggests that we may here have some English cognate of ON  keikr , 'bent,' Norw kika , 'to bend.' Cf. John de Chichebroke de Dakeham (1310 HPD).Similarly Dr Ritter calls attention to the series of names discussed in Norske Gaardnavne (xi, 87 ff.) under Kike , which all go back to the root-idea of something bent, curved or twisted, including one or two river-names.

The modern name commemorates St Osyth (Osgyð ). Daughter of a Surrey subregulus , she was betrothed to Sigehere, king of the East Saxons. Owing to a vow of perpetual virginity, the marriage was not consummated. Osyth retired to Cicc , given her by Sigehere, and there founded a nunnery of which she became abbess. The date of the solitary reference to Chyche Regis is probably significant. On the dissolution of the Priory the estate was granted to Thomas Cromwell, on whose execution in 1540 it reverted to Henry VIII and remained in the Crown until granted in 1553 to Thomas, lord Darcy (M i, 457).