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 Billockby and Burgh St Margaret

Historical Forms

  • Bitlakebei (3x), Bithlakebei 1086 DB
  • Billokebi 1198 FF 1209 Ass
  • Billokesbi 1202 FF
  • Billocbi 1211 P
  • Bilakeby 1218,1219 FF 1237–51 Holme
  • Billokeby 1225,1226 Cur 1275 RH 1302 FA 1328 FF 1330 SR 1332 NoD 1332–3 NfD
  • Billokesby 1242 PR c.1260 Holme 1269,1286 Ass
  • Byllokeby 1257 Ass 1257 Cl
  • Billokby 1316 FA 1364 FF
  • Byllokby 1346,1428 FA
  • Billocby 1353 FF
  • Billokebye 1535 VE


We are dependent on the DB forms for arriving at an interpretation of this name in -. The assimilation tl > ll took place at an early date in the ME period (v. IPN 111). The first el. is obviously a pers.n. Schram in his PhD thesis of 1926 suggested *Bithlak “or the like which may represent an archaic type of Scandinavian name not otherwise evidenced” (Schram 1926: 111 f.).Such a pers.n. has not been recorded, nor does a Scand  name element *Bið - or *Bit - occur. Ekwall postulated a Scand  name of byname character, *Biðil -Áki , a combination of ON  biðill 'wooer' and the well-evidenced pers.n. ODan  Aki , OWScand  Áki , 'Áki the wooer' (DEPN). Such a name could quickly have been reduced to ME  Billok - after the development of OE ā to ME ō . Ekwall offers a neat solution, although uncertain (v. Sandred 1988: 10 f. and Insley 94). Reaney 1953 (SMS 18: 86) draws attention to two OE  pers.ns. with the first el. Bīed -, which he thinks is formed from bēodan 'command' plus an i -suffix (Redin 60 f.), Bīedlufu and Bīedwīg . Since -lāc is a common second el. in OE  pers.ns., a name compound *Bīedlāc would seem to be a possibility, but the form is less plausible in the Anglian area. The church of All Saints is in ruins except for the chancel (Pevsner 89).