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 Moor Monkton

Historical Forms

  • Esdesai, Hesdesai 1086 DB
  • Hessey(e), Hessai, Hessay 1100–16 YCh527 13 YDvii 1202,1208,1226,1260 FF 1535 VE
  • Hesshay 1413 Pat
  • Heslesaia 1109–40 YChvi
  • Hesleshai 1145–61 ib
  • Heselseia 1168 P
  • Helelesheia (sic) 1175–88 YChvi
  • Helleseia (sic) 1189 Ch 1308
  • Hassay 1154–91 RegAlbi,38
  • Eisey 1542 YkCR


Possibly 'hazel marsh', v. hæsel (influenced by ON  hesli), 'lake', but also used in the sense 'marshland'. But topographically, since Hessay stands on higher ground rising out of the flat low-lying surrounding ground, OE  ēg 'island, a piece of dry land in a marsh' would be more appropriate. In that case the first el. hæsel is in the gen.sg. hæsles (on the use of which cf. EPN i, 158 s.v. -es 2 § i).Medial -l - was lost early (as in Hutton Wandesley 253supra ).