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.

Hartshorn Tree

Early-attested site in the Parish of Brougham

Historical Forms

  • Hart Horn Tree 1777 M
  • Harts-horn Tree 1787 Clarke 1802 DW
  • Harthorne yeat Eliz Hothf


Hartshorn Tree, the site of a tree on the Roman road, High Street, at grid 83–577287, Hart Horn Tree 1777 M, Harts-horn Tree 1787 Clarke 3, 1802 DW. A story by Lady Anne Clifford (CliffordL 83) tells of the removal by 'some few mischievous people' of 'one of those hartshorns which…we set up in the year 1333 at a general hunting, when Edward Baliol, then King of Scots, came into England by permission of King Edward the 3rd…the said King hunted a great stag which was killed near the said oak tree. In memory whereof the horns were nailed to it, growing as it were naturally in the tree, and have remained there ever since, till that in the year 1648 one of those horns were broken down by some of the army'. Another story (CliffordL 83 note 3) tells of 'a hound called Hercules running a stag out of Whinfeild [Whinfell Forest] into Scotland and so back to Whinfield. The stag leap'd over the wall and dy'd, but the hound could not leap the wall, but dy'd on the outside…The horns of which stag was after nayl'd upon the aforesaid tree…There are now a pair of buck horns nayl'd to the same tree for a memorial of the said tradition.' The name certainly appears as the first el. in Harthorne yeat ElizHothf (WmFm 2) and NB 399 notes a local boundary mark called Hert-horn sike t.Ed 1. Two other Hartshorns (Db 637–8, Nt 54) are named from a hill called Horn Hill, v. heorot 'hart', horn 'bend'. Hartshorn Tree may also have some such topographical meaning; the tree stands below the prominent hill, Quarrystone Bank (originally Whinfell). But the name may have been that of a gate (as in Harthorne yeat ) or a tree to which antlers had been fixed by some boastful hunter.