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.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Wadworth

Historical Forms

  • Wellingleia, Wellingley(e), Wellinglay, Wellyngley 1185 Dugdv 1231 Riev 1379 PT 1494 FF 1558 WillY 1588 FF
  • Wellinlega 1199 Ch 1232
  • Wellingelay 1246 Ass6d
  • Welyngley 1374 YDxiii,67 1410 Arm
  • Wyllynglay 1432 Testii
  • Willingley 1596 FF


The origin of this and other similar names like Wellingham Nf, Sx 357 is difficult, but the latter seems to be from an OE  Wellingas 'dwellers by a stream', a local folk-name from wella 'well, stream' with the suffix -ingas (EPN i, 300§ 4). Only one form in the spellings for Wellingley points to an OE  gen.pl. Wellinga (ME  Wellinge -), but the material is generally unrepresentative. We may take it to be 'clearing of the stream-dwellers', v. lēah . A stream rises some few hundred yards down Wellingley Lane. It may be noted that the OE  pers.n. Wella (as suggested by Goodall) is unknown, and that deriva- tion from OE  welig 'willow' is improbable, as the normal northern and midland form of that word is wilig .