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.

Hanham Abbots, West Hanham

Major Settlement in the Parish of Hanham Abbots

Historical Forms

  • Hanvn 1086 DB
  • Hanona 1167 P
  • Hanum c.1150 Bath 1155,1189–99 Berk 1189 GlastonInq
  • Hanam 1154–89 Berk 1287 Ass 1313 Ch 1324 MinAcct 1400 FF
  • West Hanam 1325 FF 1328 Banco 1482 IpmR
  • Est Hanam 1347,1421 FF 1482 IpmR
  • Hanan 1327 SR
  • Haneham 1444 Cl
  • Hannam 1486 Ipm 1497,1578 FF
  • West Hannam 1497,1578 FF
  • Doune Hannam 1497 ib
  • Hannam Pryor 1572,1583 FF
  • Hannam Abbottes 1601 FF
  • Hanham 1540 Monast
  • Hanham Abbatts 1535 VE
  • Hanham Abbottes 1555 FF
  • Downe Hanham 1578 ib
  • Hanham als. Henham 1587 ib


The earliest spellings make it clear that the second el. is not OE  hām 'homestead' or hamm 'enclosure', for these are invariably retained as -ham and -hamme , -homme in medieval forms in Gl. There can be little doubt about Ekwall's suggestion that Hanham is from an OE  hānum '(at) the rocks' (v. hān ); dat.pl. forms in -um are so rare in Gl p.ns. that the eventual treatment as -ham is likely. This interpretation is very appropriate topographically, as Hanham parish is bounded on the south-west by Hencliff Wood (infra ), the deep rocky gorge of the Avon, along which are many rocks and old quarries. Hanham Abbots, so called from being a property of Keynsham Abbey (So) (v. abbat ), was formerly also called West Hanham. 'East' Hanham does not survive but may now be represented by Hanham Court, nor does Downe or 'lower' Hanham (v. dūne ); Hanham Pryor was held by Farleigh Priory (W), v. prior .