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 St John's Parish

Historical Forms

  • Lettewell(e) c.1150 Dane 1171–9 BM 1190 P 1246 Ass34 1255 YDvii 1318 Linds 1460 YDxii,294
  • Letwell 1505,1572 FF 1822 Langd


The persistent Lette - spellings do not conform to a derivation from OE  (ge)lǣt 'cross-roads' or 'water conduit' (as suggested by Ekwall, DEPN s.n.) or from a pers.n. Letta , proposed by Goodall on the basis of the DB pers.n. Let (which Feilitzen 320 rightly derives from ON  Liótr ). Phonologically, ME  lette 'an obstruction, a stoppage' (from OE  lettan 'to hinder, stop') would be preferable, and the name would describe some well or spring (v. wella ) whose flow was impeded. Letwell stands on high ground and there is now no stream or spring in or near the village.