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.

Ploughley Hundred

Hundred in the County of Oxfordshire

Historical Forms

  • Pokedelawa 1169 P 1293 Cl
  • Powhedel' 1280 Os
  • Powhedelowe, Pouhhedelowe, Poughhedelowe 1285 Ass
  • Powedlowe 1284–5 FA
  • Poghedelowe 1316 FA
  • spelburghe c.1139 Godstow c.1450
  • spelleburge, sepelburge c.1250 Godstow c.1450


The name originally denoted a barrow just south of the Bear Inn in Fritwell, which is not there now, but is described by William Stukeley (Itinerarium Curiosum , 2nd edition, London 1776, 43) as “a curious barrow, neatly turned like a bell, small and high.” Second element hlāw , 'tumulus.' The first is doubtless, as suggested by Anderson, pohhede , 'baggy.' A personal name *Pohhede derived from Pohha is formally possible.