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 Thursley

Historical Forms

  • Thoresle 1292 MandB 1296 BM 1373 Ct
  • Thoresly 1303 MinAcct
  • Thoresley 1368 Winton
  • Thorslye 1316 Rental
  • Thorsle 1373,1379 BM
  • Thursle 1329 MandB 1406 BM 1426,1444 Deed
  • Thureslegh 1332 SR
  • Thursleystret 1609 LRMB
  • Thirsley 1554 FF
  • Thruslye 1605 FF


This is a difficult name, chiefly because we have no really early forms, the parish being originally a chapelry of Witley.There is mention in an OE charter of the 11th century (KCD 784) of a Đureslye . This was in property belonging to Peterborough, and refers to a place in Rutland. It was probably so called from a man named Thur , a personal name found in the list of Peterborough sureties (BCS 1130). That is a personal name of Scandinavian origin (cf. Þor , Þur in Björkman, NP 146–7, ZEN 84). Such a name, however, could hardly be found in Surrey, and equally out of the question is the name of the god Thor , even if it were not doubtful whether that god's name was ever used in Anglo-Scandinavian place-names. The other possibility is that suggested by Professor Ekwall, viz. that the Old English form was þunres leage , and that we have reference to a grove or clearing where the Saxon god Thunor or 'Thunder' was once worshipped. For such a name, cf. Thunderley and Thundersley in Essex and two lost examples of þunoresleage in Hampshire and Sussex (BCS 393, 208). Such a name would fit well with the neighbouring Tuesley and with the not far distant Willey, cusan weoh and Peper Harow supra 207. See also Introd. xii. Association with OE  þyrs , 'giant,' is unlikely in view of the frequent o of the ME forms (which is, however, consistent with descent from ME  Thonresley ).