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.

Audley Brow

Early-attested site in the Parish of Moreton Say

Historical Forms

  • Aldeleg 1274 Ipm 1395 SRO322/217
  • Aldeleye 1284–5 FA
  • Audeley 1323 Cl
  • Lai 1086 DB

Etymology

This settlement may be Lai 1086 DB: Lai follows Moreton Say, and both manors are held from Roger de Lacy by a tenant named William. If this identification be correct the name may have been originally simplex, but alternatively the DB form could be an erroneous rendering of the compound of ald 'old' and lēah which is represented by the later forms.

Audley is one of a cluster of lēah names which lie between the headwaters of the Duckow and Tern, on a narrow watershed between north- and south-flowing rivers. The group includes Bletchley in this parish. This is wet land where lēah is perhaps more likely to have its late OE meaning 'meadow, pasture' than to refer to woods or woodland clearings.

The significance of ald is uncertain. Many compounds with this qualifier recur, but this instance with lēah is rare, possibly unique.

The modern house-name, Audley Brow, occurs 1833 OS, 1838TA .