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 Anston

Historical Forms

  • (la) Gildanwell 13 YDviii 1318,1342 Linds 1324,1373 Ipm
  • Gyldanwelles 1345 FF
  • Gyldenwell' 1355 MinAcct
  • Gyldenwelles 1498 HCY 1588 FF
  • Gyldenwellys 1541,1572 FF
  • Gyldynwelles 1403 YDxii,294
  • Gildingwell(e)s 1546 YChant 1596,1612 FF 1641 Rates


Just south of the village there is Sweet Well and also a spring which is the source of Owlands Wood Brook; the latter forms the southern boundary of Wallingwells Nt 101. The proximity of Wallingwells (from Wallendewelle 'the bubbling spring') has suggested to Ekwall, DEPN s.n., that Gildingwells is a parallel formation of the pres.part. of some verb meaning 'gush', related to Norw  gyldra 'a water-course in a ravine'. Although the pres.part. ending -ande (with its ME  variants -ende , -inde ) is usually retained in the more common verbs found in p.ns. (as in hangende ), a few p.ns. like Haggenby (Tadcaster) pt. iv have reductions to -an and -en by the fourteenth century; since, further, an OE  wk. gen.sg. -an is not normal in YW and the adj. or noun suffix -en is unlikely to give ME  -an , there can be little doubt that Gildan - is a pres.part. gildande with the usual replacement by StdE  -ing . Ekwall is no doubt right in proposing some verb meaning 'gush'. On formal grounds the pres.part. of OE  gyldan 'to gild' would also be possible and in that case the p.n. would denote a spring which had special colouring properties or which more generally was profitable or beneficial (a sense also suggested by Sweet Well infra ), v. -ande , wella . 'Gushing spring.'