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 Somersham

Historical Forms

  • Parkale 1252 Rams c.1350
  • Parchalemuth 1279 RH


Here, as throughout the fen-country, one is faced with the uncertainty of the original features of the countryside. On the face of it it looks as if Parchale were a river-name and Parchalemuth the name given to some spot where it debouched into a larger stream, but we know nothing as to whether this was the case in actual fact. Apart from this we might take the name to be from OE  pearroc and healh , and the whole name to mean 'nook of land marked by an enclosure.' Professor Ekwall calls attention to a La Parrok used of an arm of the sea in the Colne estuary in Essex and Parrokflete (Pat 1362), and for the interpretation of these passages notes the use of park in the sense 'enclosure for fish' (NED).

Places in the same Parish

Early-attested site

Major Settlement