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 Hamerton

Historical Forms

  • Hambertun 1086 DB
  • Hamertun 1152 BM c.1155 Colchester 13th
  • Hamereton 1168 P
  • Hamerton 1199 Cur 1219 FF 1227 Ass
  • Hammerton 13th ADi 1587 FF


It is difficult to believe that if there really was a b in this name in the time of DB that it would have then completely disappeared.Rather we must take it to be a sporadic appearance of a common type of epenthetic b between m and r (cf. Campton supra 167).That leaves us with Hamer - as the more correct form of the first element. Skeat suggests that there may have been an OE  pers. name Hamor , as illustrated by such a p.n. as Hameringham (L), and this is endorsed, somewhat hesitatingly, by Ekwall (PN in -ing 141). Cf. OGer  Hamar , ON  Hamarr . If we believe we have this name here we must take the name to be one of that rare type in which the pers. name and the second element are placed together without any connecting genitival inflexion (cf. Kimbolton infra 243). The only other alternative is to take the full first element as having been a plant-name such as hamor-secg , 'hammer-sedge,' or hamor-wyrt , 'hammer-wort' or 'black hellebore' (cf. Skeat PN Hu 344) and to explain the present form as due to that dropping of the middle element from a triple p.n. compound for which Ritter gives a good deal of evidence (88 ff.). Hamerton stands on low ground, by Alconbury Brook.

Places in the same Parish

Early-attested site