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.

Atte Bele

Field in the Parish of Utterby

Historical Forms

  • Atte Bele 1838 TA 1838 TA 1838 TA 1838 TA 1838 TA
  • Attebele 1287 Ass 1288 Ass
  • Attebele de Vtterbi 1294 FF


Atte Bele 1387, Attebele 1287, 1288, Attebele de Vtterbi 1294 all(p)(thistopographical surn. has also been noted in Fotherby f.ns.(b) supra and sixtimes in Burgh le Marsh(LSR) between 1293 and 1395 and once in Welton leMarsh(LSR) in 1343. It is discussed by Kristensson, SMETT 19–20, whodraws attention to Ekwall, Studies2 159–63 and DEPN s.n. Belaugh. ThereEkwall considers a number of p.ns. in Bel- and presupposes an OE  *bel ofunknown meaning to explain them. He suggests that this word may beconnected with ON  bil, Danish dial. bil'interval, space', perhaps originally'interspace' and believes that a possible meaning might be'a piece of dry landin fen'. The same word occurs in Beald Fm & Beald Drain(PN C 223–4), with anumber of ME  spellings Bele, for which Ekwall's suggested meaning would betopographically apt, as Reaney points out. The same can be said for the Lexamples of this word, for all four parishes in which they have so far beennoted are ones in which a name denoting a piece of dry land in fen or marshwould be natural enough. It may be noted that in considering the meaning ofBele, Smith's discussion of the OE  bēl1(EPN s.v.) can be disregarded, forEkwall was no doubt right in wondering, NoB xlv 139, whether bēl occurs inany of the names considered by Smith)