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.

Peper Harow

Major Settlement in the Parish of Peper Harow

Historical Forms

  • Pipereherge 1086 DB
  • Piperherge 1166 RBE
  • Piperhergh 1206 ChR 1238 Cl
  • Piperhargh(e) 1220 Bracton 1303 Ch 1304 Winton 1316 FA 1335 Ass 1344 FF
  • Pyperharg 1247 FF
  • Pyperhargh 1291 Tax 1298 Ass
  • Pyperharghe 1312 Ipm
  • Pyperharewe 1263 Ass
  • Pyperharuwe 1361 Ipm
  • Pipperharewe 1279 Ass
  • Peperhargh c.1340 Winton
  • Pepurharowe 1372 SR
  • Peperharghe 1384 Ct
  • Pepirharwe 1427 Pat
  • Pepperharowe 1593 FF 1719 Aubrey


The second element is OE  hearg, 'heathen temple,' as in Harrow (Mx). The first element has already been discussed s. n. Peppering (PN Sx 167), where it is suggested that there and in Peppering Eye in the same county (ib. 498) and in Peper Harow, we have an OE  personal name Piper (a ), an r -derivative of OE  Pippa . To these names Zachrisson added Pepper Ness (Kent), which, in a 12th century form of an 11th century charter, appears as pi neasse (Crawf 12), and in the 11th century version of the charter as pi ernæsse (KCD 737). We may now add Pepperhams supra 206. Attempts have been made by Zachrisson (ZONF iv, 249 ff.) and Wallenberg (KPN 316–17) to explain the first element as a river- or a hill-name, but Peppering is on a hill above the Arun (earlier Tarrant); Peppering Eye lies low by an unnamed stream, which had in earlier days the name Piperinga -ēa , 'river of the men of Peppering'; Peper Harow lies on a hill above the Wey; Pepper Ness is on the coast of Kent near the estuary of the Stour; Pepperhams is near the head of a small valley with no stream by it. As Stour, Wey and Tarrant are old river-names, the places on them can hardly take their names from rivers bearing a lost name Piper , for which we have no parallel. A hill- name might, topographically, suit Peppering and Peper Harow, but is impossible for Pepper Ness, and in any case must remain entirely conjectural until it is found not merely as a first element, but also as a second element in a p.n., or in independent use as such. If some element is commonly found as the first element in a number of p.n.'s, and never as the second element or independently, it is only reasonable to assume that it must be a personal name. We may therefore take it that Peper Harow means 'Pipp (e )ra 's temple'; cf. Patch way (PN Sx 309) for a similar compound with a temple-name. Such a personal name cannot be invoked to explain Pepper Ness, for the 11th century form pipernæsse cannot well be for Pip (e )rannæsse . Zachrisson (loc. cit.) has made a further suggestion that some of these names may contain OE  pīpere , 'piper,' and aptly quotes bymera cumb (BCS 27), a boundary-mark of Downton (W). Such an explanation might suit Peppercombe in Langrish (Ha), Pyperecumb 1279Ass (p), but is impossible for Peper Harow. Apart from the intrinsic improbability of a name meaning 'pipers' heathen temple,' it is impossible to think that a place of such antiquity and importance as Peper Harow could have a name of this kind.