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.

West Flegg Hundred

Hundred in the County of Norfolk

Historical Forms

  • Flec West H', Flecwest H' 1086 DB
  • Westfleghundredum 1185,1193 P
  • hundredum de Westfleg 1193to1204 ib
  • Westfleg' 1230 ib
  • Westfleg 1257 Ass 1303 SR 1371 Fine 1381 Cl
  • Westflege 1269 Ass
  • West Fleg' 1275 RH
  • Westflegge 1361 BM 1468 Bodl
  • Westflegg 1402 BM
  • (in regione que dicitur) Flec c.1100 ANG
  • Fleg 1101–7,1154–8 Holme
  • Fleghdr' 1166,1167 P
  • Fleg 1168,1170,1172to1196(p) 1199,1202 FF 1203,1257 Ass 1227 Bract 1234 Cl 1281 Ipm 1283,1291 Pat 1333 SR
  • hdr' de Fleg 1169 ib
  • Flecg 1196 Cur
  • Flegge 1310 Pat
  • Flegg' 1327 ib
  • Flegg hundred 1330 Ipm
  • Flege 1342 Pat


As has been suggested by Schram and Arngart (EHN I70), the name Flegg would seem to be identical with the word fflegge which is recorded in the East Anglian glossary known as the Promptorium Parvulorum (c. 1440) with the explanation “idem quod segge ”. This is undoubtedly a Danish word for various kinds of marsh-plants with broad, sword-like leaves, also found in a collective sense about reeds used for thatching, ModDan flæg (v. ODS s.v .), well evidenced in dialects in Denmark (Jutland) and former Danish parts of Sweden (v. Feilberg s.v. fleg , Fries 1975 s.v. flägg ). Here the reference is likely to have been to a marshy area overgrown with such vegetation (v. flegge and Sandred 1988: 6 f.).

Hundreds were often named after their meeting-places. Arngart is unable to point out the meeting-place in the case of Flegg. He does not think that, in this case, the hundred-name referred to one spot originally but to the whole district (v. EHN I xliii, 70). East and West Flegg are two hundreds from their first appearance in DB.In Arngart's opinion it is likely that they once formed one hundred and that difficulties of communication between the eastern and western parts caused the division (ib xliii). But in 1066 Flegg was densely populated and in the tenth century it could well have provided the requirements, fiscal, military, etc., for two hundreds.

In several medieval manorial court rolls and account rolls an area of heath land where the boundaries of no less than six parishes in West Flegg meet (Ashby, Clippesby, Billockby, Burgh, Rollesby and Repps) is referred to as Stefne , i.e. stefna , a Scandinavian word with the meaning 'meeting, meeting place' (v. Ashby with Oby and Thurne, under field-names (b) infra ). This was discovered by Mrs Barbara Cornford in her systematic search for old field-names in the Flegg area. We both agree in thinking that this was probably the meeting-place of at least West Flegg Hundred.