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 Barkby Thorpe

Historical Forms

  • Hamelton' c.1130 LeicSurv 1199 Cur 1200 Fine 1306 Banco 1316 FA 1371 Banco 1395 Cl 1449 MiD 1492 Banco
  • Hameleton 1199 Cur
  • Hameldon 1220 MHW 1324 GildR 1353 Ipm 1494 Banco
  • Hameld' 1236 Fees
  • Hamilton' l.13 RTemple 1294 MiD 1408 AD
  • Hamulton' 1406 AD 1434,1435 MiD 1481 1539 MinAccts
  • Homulton' 1489 MiD
  • Hambleton 1609 Terrier 1835 O


Possibly 'Hamela's farmstead, village'. The preponderance of spellings point to tūn 'farmstead, village' as the generic rather than to dūn 'a hill' (cf. Hambleton, YW 428 and La 155) and the medial e of the unique form Hameleton 1199 Cur (p) hints at a pers.n. in the possessive case as the specific. The OE  pers.n. Hamela is unrecorded outside p.ns., but it has a recorded Scand  parallel Hamall (cf. ON hamall 'maimed'). The specific may alternatively be OE  hamol, hamel 'maimed, mutilated' used as a noun denoting 'a cut-off, flat-topped hill' or the like (cf. MHG hamel 'a steep, abrupt cliff'), hence 'farmstead, village near the flat-topped or steep hill'. Less likely, the p.n. may simply represent the common OE  topographical name *hamol -dūn 'cut-off, flat- topped hill' (cf. Hambleton, Ru 179), although spellings with dūn as the generic are sparse and even the cited 1324 GildR (p) form may rather represent Hambleton in Rutland.

Examination of local topography is inconclusive for the name's interpretation. The village site lies on slightly shelving ground in a wide valley bottom beside a ford across a major brook which runs westwards into the river Soar. To its north-east, beyond the brook, rises an impressive east–west ridge with a flat, seemingly sliced-off top, declining shallowly east to west. To the south of the village, another major east–west ridge rises quite steeply, again to a flat top. However, there is nothing to suggest that the village migrated from either ridge top to its present location and that the p.n. once denoted an earlier hill-top settlement.

Hamilton is now a deserted medieval village of which extensive earthworks remain, including manor house and probable chapel sites. As a community, the township ceased to exist in the 15th cent., presumably through enclosure for sheep pasture by the Abbey of St Mary de Pratis, Leicester.

Places in the same Parish