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.

Great Alms Cliff or Almias Cliff

Early-attested site in the Parish of Kirkby Overblow

Historical Forms

  • Almuseclyue, Almusecliue e.13,c.1245 Font
  • Almusclyue 1203–20 ib
  • Almnsclyff (sic for Almusclyff) 1591 FF
  • Aimiseclyue (sic) 13 Font
  • Almestclyf 1410 MinAcct
  • Almesclif(fe) 1591 YDiv 1629 WYD
  • Great Almesclif(fe) 1817 M
  • Al(l)mostcliffe 1678,1702 WYD
  • Amoscliff 1695 M
  • Almias Cliffe 1822 Langd


The first el. would appear to be a ME  fem. pers.n. Almus . This pers.n. is not recorded, but belongs to a type of fem. pers.n. represented independently by such Y examples as Aldus (a ) (Aldusæ sorori 13 Rip i, 268, Aldus ' sorore Aldeline de Prestesle , Aldus ' Brun 1233 ib iv, 54–5 (all of Ripon), Aldus 1175–95 YCh vii, 171 (Rylstone), Aldus ' filie Suani 13Sawl 92d (Stainforth), Aldus , a woman of North Stainley 1349 Ch 116), Edus (a ) (Edus '1175–95 YCh vii, 171, presumably sister of Aldus ' of Rylstone, Eduse uxori 13 Rip iv, 91 of Ripon, Edusa the handmaid of Kilnwick YE 13 YD vi, 96, Edusa de Barnesley 12 Hnt ii, 260), Ingus (1301 YI 19 (Malton YN), also in Ings Beck YN 261), Langus (a ) (which occurs in Langebuskes 68 infra and as Langus the widow of Sleningford l. 12 Font 648, Langus (a ) uxor 1249 YCh vii, 145 of Elslack, 1343 Rip i, 326 of Studley, 1206 Cur iv, 251 of Langtoft YE, Languse e. 13 Bridlington Cart. (Bessingby YE), Langusa , daughter of Peter of Dunnington YE 1249–69 Melsa Cart.), Maydus (a ), Mayduse (Mayduse wife of Walter Hiphup of Exelby YN 1251 FF, Maydusa daughter of Geoffrey of Kilnwick YE, 13 YD vi, 102); cf. also Colus (in Koluskeld 31, Coluscroft 32 supra ), Formus (in Formusplohland 50 infra ), Godus (in Goduscroft ii, 24 supra ), Wendus (in Wenduseknoll 99 infra ). Aldus , Edus and Wendus would appear to be from such OE  fem. pers.ns. as Ealdgifu , -gȳð , -hild , Ēadburg , -flǣd , -gifu , -gȳð , and Wendelburh or the like, whilst Ingus could only be from such ON  fem. pers.ns. as Ingibjǫrg , -gerðr , -ríðr , etc. and Langus from the ON  fem. pers.n. Langlífr ; Maydus is probably from OE  mægð 'maiden' or mægden itself. Almus is possibly from ON ; LindN notes a fictional fem. pers.n. Álmveig . The origin of the suffix is obscure, but in all probability it is spontaneous hypocoristic formation current chiefly in the north-east midlands; the early spellings of St Agnesgate (Ripon) 166infra show that Annus could be a variant of ME  Agnes , Agneta .The 'cliff' is a very prominent outcrop of rock on the top of a long ridge and is an outstanding landmark in the middle section of Wharfedale.

Places in the same Parish

Early-attested site

Other OS name