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.

Forty Green

Early-attested site in the Parish of Hanley Castle

Historical Forms

  • Forteye, Fortheie 1318 Cl 1323 Pat


From the general topography of the places in question it is clear that we have to do with a compound of OE  forð , 'in front,' and eg, 'island or peninsula.' Cf. Furtho (Nth) which is a specially prominent hoh . They are all islands or peninsulas of land standing well out from surrounding marshy or, at least, comparatively low-lying ground. For similar compounds of this type with the more usual fore , v. Fairfield and Forhill infra 275, 333. Initial Forth - became Fort - under Anglo-Norman influence and doubt- less the fort - forms were strengthened by popular etymological associations with forty .

This etymology will not explain Forty Green (Bk). Unluckily we have no early forms. It stands on a knoll of ground with the land falling away on most sides (the ground as a whole is much broken) but it is well away from streams of any kind and could hardly be called an eg at all. Possibly the name is of entirely different origin, possibly it may have been named from another Forty elsewhere, the isolated hill bearing some vague resemblance to it.

The term was also used in Berks, for we have a John de la (or atte ) Forteye , Fortheie (1318 Cl, 1323 Pat), who is associated with Wallingford and the neighbouring Crowmarsh (O).