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.

Kifts Gate

Early-attested site in the Parish of Weston Subedge

Historical Forms

  • Kyftesgate 1354 Ipm
  • Kyftesgate 16 WinchLBii,441


Kifts Gate, Kyftesgate 1354 Ipm, Kyftesgate 16 WinchLB ii, 441; the first reference is to the taking of an inquisition here and the second to 'þe Kynges court' held here. Many other spellings are given for the names of the hundred of Kiftsgate (230supra ) which presumably met here or at Kiftsgate Court or Spelsbury (250supra ).This site is 1″ O.S. 144–135390 on the ridgeway on the top of the Cotswold escarpment a mile west of Chipping Campden. The second el. is OE  geat 'gate, gap'; the topography suggests the meaning 'gate' (across a road), as in Rapsgate (155supra ) rather than 'gap in the hills', though this would suit Kiftsgate Court. The first el. has been explained by Ekwall in RES (NS) viii, 408. In this interesting note he takes the first el. to be an OE  *cȳft which would have a meaning similar to that of the related Goth  gaqumþs 'meeting, conference' and ON  samkund 'meeting'. It is cognate with OHG  cumft 'coming', which, like the related words, is from the verbal root *kum - with an original -ti suffix. Kiftsgate would thence mean 'gate or gap where meetings (presumably of the hundred) were held', a close parallel to Rapsgate. v. Addenda.