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.

Howe Bridge (Fm)

Early-attested site in the Parish of Malton

Historical Forms

  • ponte de Hou 12 Malton c.1260–7 ib
  • ponte de How 15 Whitby
  • ponte de Holm 1157–89 Malton
  • ponte de Houm 1169 Malton


The repetition of the Hou - forms in this cartulary, the appearance of How in the Whitby Cartulary, the modern form of the name, and the forms of Howe supra seem to show that Hou is the original form of the name.

Howe and Howe Bridge are within half a mile of each other and contain the same element. Howe Bridge crosses the river Rye at the northern extremity of a piece of land round which the river flows, whilst Howe is further south on a spit of land similarly encircled by the river. The meaning of the names, therefore, is clearly 'spur of land.' v. hoh .

Howe is from the OE  dat. sing, hōhe , and Howe Bridge from the OE  dat. plur. hōhum (as well as Hou , How from the dat. sing. hōhe ). This will explain the discrepant Hou and Houm in the forms of Howe Bridge. In addition to this Houm also became Holm on the analogy of the common ON  holmr . In the same way Holme on the Wolds (YER), which appears variously as Hougon DB, Holm 1279–81 QW, and Howm 1303 KF, has an intrusive l . That name may be derived from the dat. pl. of ON  haugr rather than OE  hoh, but the topography of Howe and Howe Bridge makes derivation from hoh more likely for those names. Variation between the dat. sing. and the dat. plur. is noticed in Wykeham, Newsham and Downholme 45, 270infra , and in Blubber houses (YWR), earlier Bluberhusum 1172 YCh 511, Bluberhous 1195–c. 1210 YCh 512, and Woodhouse near Leeds (YWR), Wdehuse c. 1160–74 YCh 1562 and Wdahusum 1165–75 YCh 1567.

Places in the same Parish

Major Settlement