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.

Lessingham

Major Settlement in the Parish of Lessingham

Historical Forms

  • Losincham 1086 DB
  • Lesingham e.13 HMC 1254–75 Val 1269,1286 Ass 1272 Ch 1275 RH 1291 Tax 1313 FF 1322 D&C 1369 Tanner 1455 NoRec
  • Lesingeham 1250(p),1257(p) Ass
  • Lesyngham 1306 QW 1317to1483 FF 1330 SR 1343 Cl 1353to1468 Pat 1357 AD 1402 FA 1430,1432 AD 1434 Fine 1468 Pat 1483 FF
  • Lestyngham 1316 FA
  • Leysyngham 1399 FF 1535 VE

Etymology

Ekwall thinks this name is identical with Leasingham L (Leuesingham 1086 DB, Lefsingham 1202 Ass, Leuesingeham 1196 P, 1218 Ass, Levesingeham 1221 Ep, Levesingham 1242–43 Fees), the early spellings of which suggest an ing -name derived from the OE  pers.n. Lēofsige , i.e. 'the hām of Lēofsige 's people' (v. DEPN, PN -ing 142, Seltén II 114). Although not conclusive, this is a plausible explanation.

The church, dedicated to All Saints, is supposed to have been used by the monks of Lessingham Priory, which was a Benedictine foundation as a cell of the Abbey of Bec in Normandy. It was dissolved in 1415 and the possessions were eventually settled on King's College, Cambridge, confirmed by Henry VI in 1444 and again by Edward IV in 1462 (Blomefield IX 328, VHNf II 463).Pevsner suggests that the priory was no priory at all, only a grange (Pevsner 182).