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 Ludgershall

Historical Forms

  • Litlegarsele 1086 DB
  • Lutelegrashale 1281 QW
  • Lutergarshale 1287 Cl
  • Lotegarsal 1135–53 Ch 1268
  • Lotegareshal(e) 1203 PatR
  • Lotegereshale 1264 Pat
  • Ludkereshala c.1150 FW
  • Lutegareshal(e) 1166 P 1249 Ass
  • Lutegareshole 1175 France
  • Lutegarshole 1198 Abbr 1321 Ass
  • Lutegarishole 1234 Cl
  • Lutegershole 1255 RH 1257 For 1260 Cl 1268 Ass
  • Lutegereshole 1292 Pat
  • Lutegrashole 1281 QW 1289 Ass
  • Lutegreshole ib.
  • Lutgershale 1290 Cl 1332 Pat
  • Lodegareshale 1384 Pat
  • Ludgarshale 1422 FF
  • Ludgereshall 1453 Pat
  • Ludgasall 1519 ADii
  • Ludgursale 1535 VE
  • Lurgarsale 1529 ADvi
  • Luggershaull c.1540 L
  • Lurgushall 1577 FF
  • Lurgesall t.Eliz WMxxi
  • Lurgshall 1675 Ogilby
  • (æt) Lutegaresheale 1015 Wills


The significance of this name has been dealt with twice before in the volumes of the Survey, once under Ludgershall (PN Bk 104–6) and again under Lurgashall (PN Sx 111). Early forms made it clear that they were identical in origin with Ludgershall (W) and also with Luggarshall in Owlpen (Gl) for which we have early forms Lutegareshale 1220 Gloucester Corporation Records, 1272FF , 1413MinAcct , Lutegareshall t. Hy 3 Dugdale (sub Bradenstoke), Lotegareshale 1230 Bristol, Glouc. Soc. Trans. xxii, and a lost Lotegoreshale 1293 AD ii in Saffron Walden (Ess).

If we examine all the forms of these names as recorded under these references, we find that there is one genuine OE form, viz. (æt ) Lutegaresheale 1015 Wills, and that in a document of which there are two contemporary texts. The genuineness of the u of the OE form agrees with the later history of all the names in question. There, alike in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire and Sussex, we have u (with occasional o ) in the ME forms, never e and only once i , with the exception of the form Litlegarsele in DB for the Wiltshire name. This makes it impossible to take OE  lȳtel , 'little,' as the first element as does Ekwall (DEPN). The general development of lytel in Wiltshire, as elsewhere, is quite different. The DB form must be explained as an error due to confusion with that word, and is indeed certainly such if OE  Lutegaresheale is to be identified with this place. The OE u -vowel similarly must make us reject attempts at association with OE  hlyte , 'lot,' and explanation of the name as from hlytegærshealh , 'nook of land where pasturage is assigned by lot,' though doubtless at some later stage in its history there may have been association of the middle part of the word with ME  gers , gres , gras , 'grass.'

The OE form and the earliest ME forms alike must therefore still be taken, as was suggested in the previous volumes of the Survey (loc. cit .) as a compound of an OE  personal name Lut (e )gār , found also in Lutgaresberi , the old name for Montacute (So). For the possibility of such a name see Ludgershall (Bk) loc. cit .

The only difficulty involved in this explanation is the occurrence four or five times over of this personal name Lut (e )gar with healh as against once with burh . It may be noted, however, that the gærshealh explanation is from that point of view just as difficult. No other examples of gærshealh have been noted. If it really was a common compound, why should it never be on record by itself but always be compounded with lytel or hlyte , still more improbably with an unexplained lute , which, as we have seen, is the true OE form of the first element?