Below is a non-exhaustive list of place names which have
possible or probable Cumbric origins. The list doesn't
contain river names, which are dealt with elsewhere. Most
names are given with a standardised
Cumbric orthography developed
for use on this website.
||'Bend in Ale Water' from
Cu. *Alün + *crumm (Br. *crumbo-
'curved' > W. crwm, C. kromm). The name
perfectly suits the local topography.
||An early form Budlornac
12C suggests possibly 'Llywernog's dwelling' from Cu.
*bod Lowernǫg (Br. *butā
'dwelling' > W. bod, C.
bos + W. Llywernog).
||'Summit clearing' from Cu.
*barr lannerχ (Br. *barro-
'end; summit' > W. bar, CB. barr).
||Possibly Cu. *prenn bügeil
'herdsman's tree' (Br. *prenno-
'tree' > W. pren, C. prenn + Br. *boukoljo-
'herdsman' > W. bugail
'shepherd', C. bugel).
||Probably Cu. *bannǫg from Br.
*bannāco- a derivative of *banno- 'peak' (W. ban),
either meaning 'little peak' or 'place with peaks'. Old English
brunna 'stream' was added later.
||Cu. *baið gêd 'boar wood'
||'End (of the) land' from
*blain tir (Br. *tīro- 'land'
> WC. tir).
||'Summit cairn' from Cu.
*blain carn (Br. *carno- 'heap of stones'
carn, C. karnedh)
summit' from Cu. *blain cadeir
(L. cathedra > Br. *cateirā
'chair' > W. cadair, C.
kador). The fell is known today as Saddleback for its
||'Summit of cuckoos' from
*blain cogow (W. cogau
||The first syllable
is probably Cu. *blain and the
last part is from ON
'hay farm'. The middle element is obscure; it may be Cu.
||'End of the rock' from Cu.
blain creig (Br. *cracjo- 'rock'
> W. craig).
||'Black fort' from Cu. *cair
düβ (Br. *dubo- 'dark, black' > WCB. du)
dǝrnǫg (Br. *durnāco-, a derivative of *durno-
'fist' > W. dwrn, B. dorn) which may mean
'pebble' (cf. G. dòirneag
'pebble'), but may also be a personal name (cf. Gaul.
Durnacos, B. dorneg 'having strong hands').
βre (Br. *brigā 'hill' > WC. bre).
||Probably Cu. carreg
'stone' (Br. *carreci-
'stone' > W. carreg, C. karrek) + ON. haugr
||'Fort or village in a clearing'
from Cu. *cair
||One of the few names about which we can be almost certain. It
is recorded in the Roman period as luguvalium 'place of a man called
Luguvalos' (a name which means 'power of the God Lugus'). The
British would have been *Luguwaljō,
which gives the Welsh Caerlliwelydd regularly, with the later
addition of caer 'fort, city' (Cu. *cair
||May be the Kair Eden
mentioned in Gildas, which is described as "a very ancient city
about two miles from the monastery of Abercurnig, which is now
called Abercorn" (see *cair). There
was a Roman fort at Carriden which was once part of the Antonine
Wall defences so the identification seems resonable enough. For
the meaning of Eidyn see Edinburgh.
||Carrock is a derivative of Cu. *cair
meaning 'fortified' (W. caerog 'fortified,
walled') and Castle may be either Br. *castellon
'castle' < L. castellum
(W. castell, C. kastel) or ME.
||An early form Kerkert
(1158) suggests 'fort on Cart Water' from Cu. *cair.
cataracta 'waterfall' (W. Catraeth). The site of
the battle made famous by Y Gododdin.
||'Fort on the River Almond' from
||'Narrow wood' from Cu.
*cül gêd (Br. coilo-
'narrow' > W. cul, C. kul). Suggestion that it means 'back wood' or 'retreat
wood' from the equivalent of W. cil 'back' (G. cùl)
cannot be maintained since PC. *ū became Br.
*ī well before this name would have been borrowed into
||'Valley by a slope' from
Cu. *cumm riw (Br.
*cumbo- 'valley' > W. cwm + Br. *rīw-
'slope' > W. rhiw, C. riw).
||'Quentin's valley' from
Cu. *cumm (Br.
*cumbo- 'valley' > W. cwm) + a Norman personal
name. This name is of particular interest in showing that the
Cumbric element *cumm remained in use after the Norman
||'Valley of Whittington' from
Cu. *cumm (Br.
*cumbo- 'valley' > W. cwm) + an
English place name.
||Probably 'wood in a river valley'
from Cu. *dol cêd (Br. *dolā 'river valley, dale'
> W. dôl
'meadow', B. dol 'lowland' : G. dail
'dale, meadow'). The first element has been influenced by the
Gaelic cognate, which may be borrowed from Br. or Pictish.
Cardurnock. The name may be G. dòirneag 'pebbly'.
||'Clearing on a ridge' from
Cu. *drümm lannerχ (Br.
'ridge' > W. trum, C. drumm :
||An early form Dunpeleder
(1203) suggests G. dùn 'fort' + the plural of Cu.
*paladǝr 'spear (shaft)' (Br. *palatro- > W.
paladr 'ray, beam; staff; stem', pl. pelydr). It's
probable that the first element was translated from Cu. *din
'fort' (Br. dīnon > WC. din). The
intrusive r first occurs in the 17th century.
||Watson (1926) argues that this
name was taken into Gaelic from Cu. *din barr 'summit
fort' (Br. dīnon > WC. din + Br. *barro-
'point, top' > W. bar 'top, summit, crest', CB.
barr 'point'). Whilst this may well be the case given
the similarity in elements (G. dùn, barr), there is no
positive evidence to show that a British original ever existed,
so it is merely speculation. In any case, the name can tell us
nothing about the Cumbric language.
||The form Drumdrahrigg
shows that the first element of this name is from PC.
*drosman- 'ridge' (W. trum, G. druim)
with ON draga 'drag, draw' + hryggr 'ridge'.
The connection with Norse would usually suggest a Gaelic origin,
since the Norsemen of Cumbria arrived from Ireland, Scotland and
Mann, but the fact that the name is tautological points to an
existing Cumbric name to which a Norse one was later added.
element may be Cu. *egluis with
OE. feld 'field'.
||Either 'small church' from Cu.
*egluis βeχan (Br. bikkagno-
'small' > W. bychan, C. byhan, bian)
or 'church of St Féichín', a 7th century Irish saint. The W.
equivalent of the former would be eglwys fechan, which
correlates well with the early form Eglesfeghan (1303).
||Simply 'church' from Cu. *egluis.
||Perhaps 'St Machan's church' from
Cu. *egluis Maχan, the name of a
12th century Scottish saint. If the derivation is correct, it
shows that the Cumbric word for church was probably still in use
as late as the end of the 12th century. However, the earliest
recorded form Egglesmanekin (1207) may point to another
derivation. The first element may be G. eaglais
||The English name is a calque of an
earlier one meaning 'fort of Eidyn'. The British form
is recorded in the Llyfr Aneirin and Llyfr Taliesin
as Dineidyn with Br. *dīnon 'fort' (W.
din) whilst the Gaelic equivalent Dunedene (G.
Dùn Èideann) also occurs. The name Eidyn is
recorded various as MW. Eidin, Eitin, Eidyn but the
last of these has been shown to be the correct form. The meaning
is unknown; it may have been the name of a region along the
Edinburgh, this name appears to have had Cumbric, Gaelic and
English forms with the same meaning. The earliest record has
Egglesbreth from Cu. *egluis
βreiθ with the feminine form of Cu. briθ (Br.
*brixto- 'speckled' > W. brith, fem. braith,
C. brith 'striped, streaked'). Another record
Eaglesuret appears to show lenition of the initial b-,
as would be expected following a feminine noun (cf. W.
The G. equivalent An Eaglais Bhreac is evidenced in
forms such as Eiglesbrec, Egelbrech, Eglesbrich
though some of these forms may in fact be Cu. *breχ
(W. brych, fem. brech 'mottled'). The
modern English name is from OE. fāg cirice with
identical meaning and there are Latin (varia
capella) and French (la Vaire Chapele)
forms also recorded.
||Probably 'green hollow' from
Cu. *glas gow (Br.
*glasso- > WCB. glas
*cawo- W. cau, C. kow: L.
The idea that the name means 'dear green place' from the equivalent of
W. cu 'dear' is probably folk etymology based on the early form
Glasgu (12C), which gives modern Gaelic Glaschu.
In his Life of St Kentigern, Jocelyn says that Glasgow was known as
Cathures in the time of the saint (late 6th-early 7th century).
This must surely be a Cumbric name but its etymology is obscure -
perhaps there is a connection with W. cadair 'chair' < L.
cathedra? If so, we could explain
Jocelyn's -th- as either an attempt to connect it with the
Latin, or a copy of a Gaelic (Old Irish) spelling with the equivalent of
G. cathair 'chair; city'.
element is clearly PC.*glennos (W. glyn, C.
glynn, G. gleann). It isn't clear if the
Cumbric form of this word retained original /e/ or whether the
word was later influenced by G. gleann. The second
element has been compared to W. cain 'fine, elegant',
which comes from Br. *kanjo-. The earliest record
Glencaine appears to support this theory but later ones
Glenekone, Glenkun do not.
from Cu. *glenn (*glınn) düβ (Br.
*glennos 'valley' > W. glyn, C. glynn +
Br. *dubo- 'dark, black' > WCB. du).
name has the look of a Brythonic word, but its exact origins are
uncertain. 'Yellow moor' has been suggested with Cu. *hal
µelın (Br. ?*salā 'moor' > W. hâl 'moor,
down, moorland', C. hal 'moor, (salt-)marsh' +
Br. *melino- 'yellow' > WC. melyn). The
earliest record Helvillon (1577) offers little help.
Nennius as Penguaul, the W. equivalent of G. ceann
fàil 'head of the vallum' (i.e. the Antonine Wall) from Br.
*penno- 'head' (W. pen, CB. penn) +
Br. *wālo- 'wall, vallum, rampart' (W. gwawl
'wall, rampart'). The Pictish equivalent was recorded by Bede as
||An early form
Caerpentaloch (10th C) shows this name to be from Cu.
*cair + *penn +
perhaps Cu. *talǫg (Br. *talāco- < *talo-
'brow; end' : W. tâl 'end, extremity, top; front;
forehead, brow, head', talog 'projecting; pediment').
The G. equivalent has ceann 'head' + tulach
'hillock' (pl. tulaich).
'church of the parish' from Cu. *lann pluiβ (Br.
*landā 'enclosure' > W. llan 'church', C.
lann 'yard' + L. plēbēs
'people; parish' > W. plwyf, C. pluw).
If this derivation is correct it suggests that the original /β/
was vocalised to /w/.
from Cu. lannerχ.
element is Cu. lannerχ. The
second may be Cu. *Ǫust the equivalent of the W.
personal name Awst 'Augustus'.
*lıs 'court, hall' (Br. *listo- 'hall, court'
> W. llys, C. lys) but uncertain.
*lınn leiθ gow 'lake in a damp hollow' (Br. lindu-
'lake' > W. llyn, C. lynn + Br.
lekto-. > W. llaith 'damp, moist' + Br.
*cawo- W. cau, C. kow: L.
part of this name is Cu. *newıð
dreβ 'new settlement' (see Niddrie).
The first element is probably English 'long' added later.
*Lugudīnjānā (MW. Lleuddiniawn) 'country of
Lugudīnon'. The latter, meaning 'fort of Lugus', may have
been an early name for Edinburgh or
another important centre such as Traprain Law, or it could have
been a personal name (cf. Ceredigion in Wales with the
part of the name is from Cu. *mêl βre
'bald hill' (see Mellor)
with ON. stǫng 'staff, pole' added later.
Cu. personal name *Merχjǫn (Br. Marcjānos > W.
Meirchion) with ON. býr 'village'. Not
technically a Cumbric place name, but at least shows that
Cumbrian personal names remained in use following the arrival of Old
βre 'bald hill' (Br. *brigā 'hill' > WC.
bre; cf. W. moelfre).
promontory' from Cu. *mêl ros (Br.
*rosto- 'promontory' > W. rhos 'moor, heath,
marshland, plain', C. ros 'hill-spur, promontory, moor'
: G. ros 'promontory').
maës treβ 'village in a field' (Br.
magesso- 'field' > W. maes, C. mesyow
Cu. name *Merχjǫn (see Maughanby)
+ OE. tūn.
ridge' from Cu. *mǝnıð drümm (Br. *monijo-
'mountain' > W. mynydd, C. menydh + Br.
'ridge' > W. trum, C. drumm :
G. druim). The earliest record of this name
Minethrum seems to show that Cumbric followed Welsh in
reducing the quality of LBr. u in non-final position.
*mǝnıð (Br. *monijo- 'mountain' > W. mynydd, C. menydh)
+ OE. hōh 'promontory', named after the Minto Hills.
dreβ 'new settlement' (Br. nowijo-
'new' > W. newydd, C. nowyth, B.
nevez). The first element seems to have been influenced by
cognate G. nuadh.
'high settlement' (Br. ouxselo- 'high' > W. uchel,
Cu. *pebıll 'tent' (L.
papiliō 'tent' > W. pabell, pl. pebyll
C. pabel 'pavillion') with an English plural ending. If
this is the case, the Cu. word must have been taken into English
as a common noun; it is presumed that the meaning was similar to
OE. *scēla > Scots shiel(ing) 'temporary hut,
shed, shelter' (cognate with ON. skáli which gives
several place names in northern England).
elements are Cu. *penn
cêd either meaning 'chief wood', 'summit wood' or
'headland wood' . The final element is probably OE. land
'land' but may be Cu. *lann 'enclosure; church' (Br.
*landā 'enclosure' > W. llan 'church', C.
'summit/headland of the cuckoo' from Cu. *penn
ı gog (Br. *cucā 'cuckoo' > W. cog, C.
*penn main 'chief stone' or 'stone summit' (W. maen
'stone', C. men) with Scots shiel
'temporary shelter' added later.
identical to Pen-y-Ghent, below.
bridge' from Cu. *penn bont (L.
pontis 'bridge' > W. pont).
||Either Cu. *penn rıd
'chief ford' (Br. *rito- 'ford'
> W. rhyd, C. rys) or Cu. *penn rüð 'red hill'
(Br. *roudo- 'red' > W.
rhudd, C. rudh, B. ruz). The latter
explanation has been proposed on the basis that early recorded
forms more regularly end in ‹th›
or ‹d› and
because the modern town of Penrith does not actually stand
directly on a river. However, the argument fails to account for
the fact that the reflex of Br. *ü
in Cumbric names is almost always represented by a rounded vowel
(e.g. Culgaith, Barnbougle, Ochiltree), whereas the early forms
of Penrith all have ‹e› or ‹i›. There are also numerous examples
of Br. *t appearing in place names as ‹th› (e.g.
Culgaith, Dalkeith), so there is no reason to assume that the fricative
it etymologically correct. Whilst it is true that the town today is
dominated by Beacon Hill to the north east, it does not
necessarily follow that that is the most likely source of the
name, nor should we assume that the Norman market town developed
in the same location as the original place called Penrith.
||Most likely a Cumbric name, but of
uncertain meaning. The first element is clearly Cu. *penn
'head; chief', perhaps in the sense 'source of a river or
stream' since the village stands near the source of the River
Petteril. The other element may therefore represent an epithet
of the river. Cu. *rüðǫg, a derivative of *rüð
'red' (Br. *roudo- 'red' > W.
rhudd, C. rudh, B. ruz) has been
suggested (cf. W. rhuddog 'red, reddish-brown,
bloody'). The earliest forms Pendredoch (1276) and
Penreddock (1285) have ‹e› where we ought to
expect a rounded vowel, though Penruddoc occurs in
1292. Alternative possibilities include derivatives of Cu.
'ford' (cf. W. rhydog 'fordable, full of
fords'), Cu. *rud 'rust' (cf. W rhydog 'rusty,
rusty-coloured, russet') or Cu. *red 'run, course' (cf.
W. rhed 'a running, course', rhedeg 'to run',
rhedegog 'running, moving quickly, flowing', rhedol
||Probably Cu. *penn
'hill/head of the...' with an uncertain final element. It may be
Cu. *ceint, the same word as the county name Kent
presumed to mean 'border country', from Br. *cantjō
a derivative of Br. *canto- (W. cant
'border, rim'). The W. caint 'plain, open country;
battlefield' is apparently late. There is also a W. cant
'troop, throng' which could be connected.
||Cu. *prenn 'tree'.
||Probably Cu. *blain
mêl βre 'end of the bare hill'. The
initial P- may be due to influence be OF. plain
||Cu. *pǝllǫg, a diminutive
of *pull 'pool' (W. pwll, C. poll).
Pollokshaws and Pollokshields
are English derivatives of the original name.
'tree' + ros 'promontory,
||Most authorities insist that the
name means 'headland of the current' from the equivalent of W.
rhyn 'promontory' and ffrwd 'swift stream,
torrent, current', though there is no trace of final -d
in any early records. There is a W. ffrau 'stream,
flow, flux' which would fit better with the phonetics but is
still not ideal.
||An early form Rosekelyn
(1240) suggests Cu. *ros 'moor, promontory' +
*celınn 'holly' (W. celynnen, C. kelynnen
||Perhaps Cu. *tal
ın tir 'end of the land' with
an early form of the definite article in -n (W. tâl
'end, extremity, top, side; forehead, brow', tir 'land,
ground; estate; region').
||'Village with a church' from Cu.
||Occurs in several place names such
as Tinnis Castle, Tinnis Burn, Tinnis Hill and
Tinnis Farm. Probably Cu. *dinas
'fort' (W. dinas 'city, town; fortress, fort; refuge').
ır brınn 'village of the hill' (W.
ır neint 'village of the streams/valleys' (W. nant
'stream; valley', pl. naint, C. nans 'vale')
prenn 'village by a tree'. Traprain
Law appears to have been called Dunpelder or
Dunpendyrlaw previously. If the former is correct, it may
have the same meaning as Drumpellier.
The latter could contain Cu. *penn
and *treβ, either meaning
'chief village' (W. pentref 'village; chief town,
capital') or 'hill of the village' with G. dùn 'fort'
and OE. hlǣw 'hill, mound' added later.
||'Village on Quair Water' from Cu.
*treβ ır + the river name. If this
is correct, it shows an interesting use of the definite article,
which does not appear before river names in Welsh.
ır main 'village of the stone' (W. maen 'stone',
C. men, meyn).
||Perhaps Cu. *truin 'nose'
in reference to the headland (W. trwyn, C. tron).