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 Roxby cum Risby

Historical Forms

  • Sunken Church 1798 Elw 1892 White


Dragonby. A geological feature now known locally as The Dragon, was described by Pryme, 1696, as a placecalled the Sunken Church , the tradition concerning which says that there was a church here formerly , but that it sunk in the ground with all the people in it , in the times of popery . But I found it to be false , for that which they shew to be the walls therof , yet standing , is most manifestly nothing but a natural rock , which lifts itself out of the ground about two yards high , in a continuous line , like the walls of church . It is also Sunken Church 1798Elw , 1892 White, Directory. Dragonby , first noted 1913 Kelly, Directory, is described by Jeffrey May, Dragonby , 2 vols, Oxbow Monograph 61, i, 7, as “an unusual elongated mass of tufa which forms a prominent rock ridge some 30m long and up to 3m high and which appears as a snake-like feature running down the scarp slope”, v. plate 2, for a photograph. May comments further that steel-making developed rapidly in Scunthorpe and in about 1910 a fresh influx of workers came from other parts of Britain and Ireland. Among them were Roman Catholic workers who by 1912 were housed just outside the Scunthorpe boundary in a new village on land belonging to the Elwes estate. A single street of houses was built and was named Dragonby by Lady Winifride Elwes.