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.

Iley Oak

Early-attested site in the Parish of Sutton Veny

Historical Forms

  • Ilegh 1394 GDR 1461 WMxiii
  • High, Ilegh 1470 ib
  • Elye 1546 LP


Iley Oak (lost), also called the Hundred Oak, was the meeting- place of the Hundreds of Warminster and Heytesbury (cf. Hoare, Warminster 11, Heytesbury 2). Early forms for Iley are Ilegh 1394GDR , 1461 WM xiii, High , Ilegh 1470 ib., Elye 1546 LP, and there can be little doubt that Stevenson (Asser 271–2) is right in identifying it with Iglea 878A, B, C ASC, Aecglea c. 1000 Asser, Aeglea ASC (D, E), Ecglea c. 1118 FW. It was presumably on the boundary common to Sutton Veny and Longbridge Deverill. Traditionally it was by Lord Heytesbury's Lodge at Southleigh Wood, of which Iley forms the eastern part (WM xiii, 108), i.e. presumably near Southleigh Cottage, just on the border, where five roads and footpaths met. There is documentary evidence for their proximity in the phrase woodland called Sowley and Eleigh , used of land in Sutton (1640 WIpm). All this makes it very probable that Iley is to be identified in site, if not in name, with the present Eastleigh Wood, adjacent to Southleigh Wood infra .The interpretation of the first element in the name is difficult. It would seem to be OE  ieg(eg) in spite of the Aeg - form and the cg -forms in Asser and FW, but if so, ieg must be used in the sense 'island of high ground,' which is aptly descriptive of this whole woodland patch, rather than of low- lying marsh land, for that can only be found to the west and not to the east of Southleigh. We may have a parallel for such usage in Ram Alley infra 353.

Places in the same Parish