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 Steeple

Historical Forms

  • Stepla(m) 1086 DB
  • Steple 1194 CurR
  • Lestepl', le Stepl' 1232 Cl
  • la Stepel' 1239 FF
  • Esteple 1254 Ass
  • Steplun 1154–89 Dugdv
  • Stieples 1163–70 AC
  • Stepoll' 1199 CurR
  • Stepele 1207 FF
  • Stepell 1230 Ch
  • Stepyll 1403 Bodl 1428 FA
  • Stepeltun(e) 1230 Bodl 1239,1254 FF
  • Stepelton 1227–1317 1251 Ch 1254 Ass
  • Stepleton 1233 FF
  • Stipelton 1255 Ass
  • Stupelton 1282 IpmR 1283 Pat
  • Stepildone 1291 Tax
  • Stapell 1428 FA


Originally named simply Steeple (OE  stīepel ), the place was later known as Steepleton . For the former we may perhaps compare Stepple in Neen Savage (Sa), DBSteple , for the latter Steepleton (Do), Stepelton 1210–12 RBE, Stapleton (He), Stepeltun t. Hy 3 Ipm, Stepulton 1399 BM and (Sa) Stepelton , Stepulton 1316–1428 FA. The only recorded sense of stī (e )pel in OE is 'tower,' whence the modern 'steeple,' but it is not very likely that in place-names stiepel by itself or when compounded with tun had this sense. More probably stiepel could also be used in OE of a steep thing or place generally, being a derivative of OE  stēap , 'steep.' 'Steep place,' 'farm by the steep place' would suit the topography of these places, though the Essex one is only steep in contrast with the surrounding flats. The modern staple - forms are due to mistaken association with the common place- names in Staple -. For similar place-name formations cf. OGer  Staufen , Stoufinberc , Stofola (Förstemann, ON ii, 882–3).

Places in the same Parish