The bizarre place names of Leicestershire and what they really mean

When driving in Leicestershire it is not uncommon to come across a road sign that makes you think “where this is from” or “what a stupid name for a village”.

We scoured Wikipedia for some of the explanations behind the odd place names dotted around the county, ranging from former settlements with Old Norse names to a municipal estate named after a councilor in the 1950s.

Feel free to add your own interesting place name facts in the comments section below.

Read more stories about the odd-named places in the county here.

Ab Kettleby

According to Wikipedia, the name Ab Kettleby is of Danish origin and the Kettleby bit of the name means “Ketil’s farm”.

Then Ketil’s land was split in half and the new owner, Ab, gave his piece his name, while the other became Eye Kettleby.

Ashby-de-la-Zouch

The historic town started out as a simple “Ashby”, meaning an ash colony, and after the Norman invasion, the La Zouche family received the town and decided to make it a bit more chic.

Barton in beans

According to Wikipedia, the village started out as Bartone, meaning a farm with an estate, and took over the rest of its name from the bean crops in Leicestershire. The website says: “A popular saying in the county is” shake a Leicestershire man by the collar and you might hear the beans vibrate in his belly “.

“Leicestershire was once known to cultivate the bean and in this way the bean has been perpetuated in the place names. “

Burton lazars

The small village near Melton was originally Burtone, meaning a fortified farmhouse, and got the second part after opening a leprosy hospital run by the Order of Saint Lazarus nearby.

The village has a natural sulphurous spring which was probably one of the main reasons for the location of the hospital.

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Carlton Curlieu

The small village of the Harborough district is a combination of Carlton, which means free peasant farm, and named after William de Curley, who owned the village in the 13th century.

In 1086, the Domesday survey counted 24 inhabitants and at the time of the 2001 census, the population of the parish was only 30.

Coptic oak

The small village, known nowadays for its busy junction just off the A50, has been named after its most distinctive tree.

The Coptic word simply means headless.

Croxton kerrial

The Croxton bit refers to Krok’s farm, while the Kerrial part was added in honor of Bertram de Criol, who was the lord of Croxton Manor in the 13th century.

Eyres Monsell

Not as historic as the others, but the name Eyres Monsell was given to the Leicester Estate after it was purchased for housing from Councilor Bolton Eyres-Monsell in 1950.

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Fenny drayton

The village on the A5, near the Warwickshire border, takes its name from the flat, swamp-like terrain and Drayton meaning a farm where people carried things from one river to another.

Griffydam

State from Wikipedia: “The name of the place actually derives from ‘Griffith’s-Dam’. A man-made pond and remains of the riverbank built for this dam can still be seen below the path called The Tentas.”

Husbands bosworth

The website www.husbandsbosworth.info states that the Bosworth piece was originally Baresworde, meaning Bar Farm. Later, to distinguish it from the nearby Bosworth Market, it was given the name Husbandmen’s Bosworth – the Farmers’ Bosworth.

John o’gaunt

The village takes its name from the John O’Gaunt Railway Station, which served Twyford and Burrough on the Hill between 1883 and 1953. The railway station was previously named after a thicket that was popular with local fox hunters. It’s not explained on Wikipedia from where the grove gets its name, however.

Kirby Muxloe

The first part of the name comes from a Dane called Caeri who founded a community in the area in the 10th century. In the Domesday book of 1086, the village was identified as Carbi. It is believed that the origin of the second part comes from a surname, although the village has been referred to in past centuries as Kirby Muckelby, Kirby Mullox and Kirby Muckle.

Leicester

The town’s name – formerly known as Ratae Corieltauvorum in Roman times – comes from Ligor, which is what the Soar river was once called.

The name from the beginning of the 9th century was Legorensis civitatis – which means citizens of Ligor. At the time of the Domesday book in 1086, they called it Ledecestre, the second half of this word meaning a Roman fort.

Newton Burgoland

The village in the district of North West Leicestershire appears in the Domesday Book as Neutone, which means new village. By 1390 the name had changed to Neuton Burgilon, the second part referring to the Burgilon family who lived there – their own name deriving from Burgundy in France.

Odstone

There are two theories on the name of the village of the district of Hinckley and Bosworth, according to Wikipedia. Either it was the village of someone called “Odd”, or the name comes from the Old Norse word oddr, which means a protruding point of land.

Plungar

The name of the village Melton means the triangular plot where the plum trees grow. It is believed to ultimately come from the Old English word feather and the Old Scandinavian word garthr.

Queniborough

Previously spelled as Cuinburg, Quenburg and Queniburg, the village name comes from the Old English term Cwēne-burg, meaning the queen’s mansion.

Quorn

The name comes from the Old English cweorndun, which means the hill from which the millstones originate. It underwent a relatively recent name change from Quorndon to Quorn in 1889 because the Postal Service confused it with Quarndon on the Derbyshire route.

Langton Tower

The Langton part of the name, which it shares with neighboring villages, comes from Anglo-Saxon for a long town. But the village was previously called Terlintone. Wikipedia says: “The current name of Tur Langton does not appear to have been established until at least the end of the 16th century.”

Twycross

The village takes its name from the fact that it is located at the intersection of three roads.

Whitwick

The village near Coalville was called Witewic in the 11th century when the Domesday Book was written. According to Wikipedia, there are different theories based on different translations of wite and wic, but it means either Guardhouse, The White Farm, or Hwita’s Farm.

Willoughby Waterley

The name Willoughby Waterleys was once Willoughby Waterless, according to Wikipedia, with both parts meaning a farm or colony of willows and water meadows.

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