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 Emley

Historical Forms

  • Amelai, Ameleie 1086 DB
  • Emelei(a), Emele(y), Emelay(e) 1150–70 YCh1728 1190–1204 Riev 1194,1232–40 1237 BM 1253 FF 1279–81 YDv 1290 QW 1291 YDi 1551 Tax
  • Emmesleia, Emmesleg 12 Riev 1203 Cur
  • Emmelei(a), Emmele(y), Emmelay 1190–1220 YDv 13 YDi 1238 Ebor 1246 Ass4 1253 Ch 1276 RH 1277–1308 WCR 1293 Ebor 1328 YDiii 1361 DodsN
  • Hemmeley 1275 WCR
  • Elmeley 1842 TA
  • Emley, Emlay 1328 WCR 1350 DodsN 1548 WillY


There may well have been an OE  pers.n. Emma , which would have been a normal hypocoristic form of some OE  pers.n. in Eormen - (Eormenrēd , etc.). There is also the recorded OE  Eama , which is thought to enter into Emmington O 107 and is, according to Redin 63, a pet-form of some such OE  pers.n. as Eanbald , Eanbeorht .Emley is without doubt 'Em(m)a's forest-glade or clearing', v. lēah .This is preferable to a derivation from OE  elm 'elm-tree', with dissimilatory loss of -l - (Ekwall), since there is no trace of an early elm in the spellings; Elmley Wo 122, 240, which is from elm -lēah , shows no such loss. The TA form Elmelay merely represents a local effort to alter the name to suit an etymology (cf. Goodall 132).

Places in the same Parish

Other OS name

Early-attested site