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.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Bengeo

Historical Forms

  • Celsen 12th StAlbansN
  • Cealsa 1130 P
  • Chelse 1199 FF 1275 RH
  • Chelese 1221 FF
  • Chelsen 1204 1296 SR 1296,1314 Ipm
  • Chelsyn 1470,1483 Pat
  • Cheleseyn 1351 Ipm
  • Temple Chelsyn 1535 VE
  • Temple Chelsing 1652 FF


This is a very difficult name and Ekwall's suggestion that it is from earlier Ceolesdene hardly seems justified by the forms.The name looks to be one of those cases where you have side by side a dative singular and a dative plural form; cf. Boxbury supra 141 and Ashton (PN Nth 96) with early forms Asce , Asshe and Asshen . The place stands on ground which is distinctly stony as compared with other places in the immediate neighbourhood lying at a rather lower level and within a quarter of a mile of it there have been diggings of gravel, though the soil is for the most part clay. The only suggestion that can be made is that the name of the place derives from OE  ceosol , 'pebbles, gravel' and was alternatively (æt ðǣm ) ceos (o )le and (æt ðām ) ceos (e )lum with metathesis of l and s. Metathesis of l and s in unstressed syllables is not uncommon. At a very late date the form derived from the dative plural, then pronounced [tʃelsin], was assimilated to the more common type of name in ing . Cf. Southings and Hatching supra 35, 38. The manor was held by the Knights Templars (1253 Ch).