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 Horninghold

Historical Forms

  • Horniwale (sic) 1086 DB
  • Horniuuald Hy2 BelCartB e.15
  • Horniwold 1316 FA
  • Horninuald Hy1 Ch 1333 BelCartB Hy2 e.15
  • Hornynwold' 1328 e.15 ib
  • Horningualt a.1155 BelCartB e.15
  • Horningwald 1174×82 Rut 1221 BelCartA e.14 1322 BelCartB 1343 e.15
  • Hornyngwala (sic) Hy2 e.15 ib
  • Horningwaud 1269(e.14),1276(e.14) BelCartA
  • Hornigwaud 1249 RGros 1277 Rut 1333 Ch
  • Hornigwald 1254 Val 1275 BelCartB e.15 1320 e.15 et passim
  • Horningwold(e) c.1151,1135×54 Rut 1284 ChronPetr 1305 BelCartA 1576 LibCl 1580 LEpis 1606 LML
  • Hornyngwold(e) 1233 BelCartA e.14 BelCartB 1284 Pat e.15 Peake 1356,1357 Wyg 1439 Pat 1465 Fine 1553 1590
  • Horningswolde 1578 LEpis
  • Horningewald 1163,1167 P
  • Hordingewalde (sic) 1209×35 RHug
  • Hordyngewald (sic) 1325 Rut
  • Hornigewald 12 BelCartB e.15
  • Hornigewalt 1325×53 e.15 ib
  • Hornyngold 1495 Ipm 1535 VE
  • Horningolde 1578 LEpis
  • Hornynghold(e) 1475×85 ChancP 1588 Fine
  • Horninghold(e) 1557,1590 1610 Speed


Horninghold is also found as a minor name in Skeffington parish, five miles to the north-west in East Goscote Hundred (v. Lei 3222), so it is possible that the whole of the higher land between the Skeffington and Horninghold townships was once called *Horningwald . The generic of the name is wald , probably in its earlier sense 'woodland'. Horning can be interpreted in several ways. It may be thought of as a horning 'a horn-shaped hill', also 'a bend, a corner' (in formation, OE  horn 'a horn' used topographically as 'a horn-shaped piece of land', with the noun suffix -ing 1 , the whole acting as an appellative). Alternatively horn may here be suffixed by the place-name-forming -ing 2 , giving an early place- name or hill-name *Horning . A third possibility is that Horning is in origin a folk-name *Horningas , either 'the people living at the horn- shaped piece of land' or 'the people of a man called Horn', although the OE  masc. pers.n. Horn is rare, so the latter is less likely.

Ekwall DEPN opts for the folk-name in his interpretation; hence he considers the place-name as meaning 'the woodland of the Horningas '.He observes that the township 'is in a winding valley', and so believes that the Horningas may have been 'the dwellers in the horn or bend'.Ekwall's 'winding valley', however, is not immediately striking on the ground and the surrounding hill formations appear a likelier source of the place-name, with either an earlier hill-name *Horning or the appellative use of horning (defining one of the curving hill-spurs above the village) constituting the specific. The most satisfying interpretation of the place- name Horninghold would appear to be 'the woodland on the horn-shaped hill', v. horning , wald ; otherwise 'the woodland at or on Horning '. Such an interpretation as 'the woodland of the Horningas ' is obviously possible (v. horn , -inga-, wald ), but it should be noted that the spellings containing medial -inge -, which may be considered the reflex of -inga -, the gen.pl. of the folk-name-forming suffix -ingas , are sparse and apart from two consecutive instances from the Pipe Rolls, relatively late.