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.

Acaster Malbis

Major Settlement in the Parish of Acaster Malbis

Historical Forms

  • Acastre, Akastre, Akastra, Akaster 1086 DB 12 Font 1157 YCh354 1185–1210 Furn 1200 OblR 1541 MinAcct
  • Akaster Will'i Malebisse 1167 P
  • Akaster Malebys e.13 YDii 1265 Riev 14 YDii
  • Akaster Malebisse 1252 Ch 1295 Ebor
  • Akaster Malbis, Akaster Malbys 1328 Banco 1344 YDii 1555 YkCR
  • Akaster Malbyssh(e), Akaster Malbishe 1402,1415 YI 1503 YDx
  • Akaster Malbich 1459 WillY
  • Akaster Malbes 1546 YChant
  • Ouer Akaster Malbes 1339 YDx
  • Aycaster Malbys 15 Sawl194d
  • Aycastre Malbysh 1502 Ipm


Like Acaster Selby (216 supra ), the village is on the west bank of the R. Ouse, and the first el. is therefore probably OE ā , an ONb form of ēa 'river' (or ON  á), combined with ceaster 'fortification' (with -caster through ON influence, cf. EPN i, 86). The situation of the two places suggests that these 'forts' came into being for the protection of York (which lies about 4 miles to the north) against attackers sailing up the river. Usually ceaster denotes a Roman station, and evidence of Roman fortifications may have existed in Old English times, but has not survived.

The family of Malbis held land here continuously from the twelfth century (YCh 462, Furn ii, 492), through the thirteenth and fourteenth (YD ii, Riev 237, KF 217) to the fifteenth (1502 Ipm). Also called Ouer - to distinguish it from Acaster Selby.