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 Belgrave

Historical Forms

  • Merdegrave 1086 DB
  • Merdegraue 1086 ib
  • Merthegrava (quæ nunc alio nomine Belegrava dicitur) s.a.1081 Ord c.1130
  • Mardegraue c.1130 LeicSurv
  • Belegraua, Belegrava s.a.1081 Ord c.1130 P 1191,1192 1201,1202 LCDeeds 1267 RTemple l.13
  • Belegraue, Belegrave 1185 P a.1186 Dane 1186 P 1200,1201 1333 MiD 1352 LCDeeds 1368 1442 RTemple
  • Bellagrave 1199 Cur 1252 GildR
  • Bellagraua, Bellagrava 1205 ChancR 1211 P 1265 GildR
  • Bella Grava 1234 Ch
  • Bellegraue, Bellegrave 1205 P c.1240 AD 1308 Pap 1311 GildR
  • Belgraue, Belgrave 1205 P 1227 RHug 1343 RTemple 1344 MiD
  • Marthegrevegate a.1183 (l.14) Beau


Originally 'the small wood or grove frequented by marten, weasel', v. mearð , grāf . Such AN  forms as Merdegrave became associated with OFr  merde 'excrement, filth' so that, presumably in the early 12th century, the name of the manor was deliberately altered to Belegrave with OFr  bel 'beautiful' as the new specific, v. bel 2 . The early form Marthegrevegate a.1183 (l.14) Beau 'the road to Merdegrave ' (v. gata ), a minor name recorded for Wymeswold parish, refers to the Fosse Way.

Places in the same Parish