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 Hoby with Rotherby

Historical Forms

  • Ragendel(e) 1086 DB
  • Rachendale c.1130 LeicSurv
  • Rakendale 1166 RBE
  • Rachedal' c.1130 LeicSurv
  • Rakedal(e) 1220 MHW 1243 Fees 1254 Val 1285 Banco 1294 OSut 1447 Ferrers 1492 Fisher 1516 Ferrers 1519 EpCB
  • Raggedal(e) 1243 Pat 1262 Abbr 1414 Ferrers
  • Ragedale 1428 FA
  • Ragdale 1428 FA 1518 Visit 1580 Fisher 1604 SR


The first el. appears to be OE  hraca 'a throat' used topographically in some such sense as 'a narrow passage'. Elements s. v. points out that hraca may be the source of dial, rack 'a narrow path' and rake 'a rough path, a narrow path up a ravine'. At Ragdale, a pinched dale rises northward from the wider Wreake Valley, giving access to the Roman road Margary 58a across the Wolds. Ragdale may perhaps be interpreted as 'the valley with a narrow passage or narrow pathway rising through it', v. hraca (hracan gen.sg.), dæl 1 . The rare, original OE  dæl 'a valley' was here no doubt reinforced by ON  dalr with the same meaning.