Place Names



Firstly the generic place names: 

  • 'ley' as a suffix, e.g. Bisley, Valley End, Farley, means a clearing in the woodland
  • 'shaw' as a suffix, e.g. Larkenshaw, Harrishaws, means a wood
  • 'ham' as a suffix, e.g. Chobham, Woodham, Windlesham, means a settlement
  • 'green' as a suffix, e.g. Westerley Green, means an area of common grazing surrounded by farms
  • 'end' as a suffix, e.g. Valley End, tends to mean straggling settlements along roadsides
  • 'bottom' as a suffix, e.g. Albury Bottom, means a valley without a stream

The area around Chobham has a long history of habitation and consequently the place names are often ancient and sometimes a little odd. Names such as Pennypot Lane, Gracious Pond, Mincing Lane, Colony Bog and many others are often corruptions of much earlier names. The English Place-Name Society has investigated old manuscripts and has come to some quite surprising conclusions concerning their origin. Listed below are some of their probable explanations.

Albury Bottom (Chobham Common) - probably derives from Anglo-Saxon 'old burh' meaning the old defended site. Perhaps after the ancient earthwork here on the Common.

Burrowhill - unlikely anything to do with barrows because first mentioned as 'Borohill' in 1542.  Burh was Anglo-Saxon for a defended site so there may have been a Saxon defended site, most likely on what we now call Killy Hill.

Burr Hill Lane - the lane leading to Burrowhill?  In which case it almost retains the Anglo-Saxon spelling of 'burh'.  See entry for Burrowhill.

Castle Grove - The Castle Grove area takes its name from a family called Le Castell who also had property in Horsell.

Chobham Park - was "Le Parrok" in 1344.

Clappers Brook - after an old clapper-bridge, made of flat stones which used to span the Hale Bourne here.

Colony Bog - Appears as 'Collingele' in 1243 and is probably 'the clearing of Cola's people'.

Gracious Pond - was 'Crachettespond' in 1461, ie a pond belonging to Crachett.

Flexlands - was 'Flax land' in 1604. There is evidence that flax was grown and woven in Chobham.

Langshot Farm - was 'Langesshat' in 1312 and means a 'long angle of land'.

Mimbridge - believed to be a bridge by an ancient mint once recorded in this area.

Mincing Lane - from 'menechene Rude' of 675 and means the nuns clearing. The nuns are believed to be those of Broomhall on the Berkshire border.

Ottershaw - the wood of the otters.

Pennypot Lane - the word 'penny' was commonly used as a term of contempt for something poor. There was a Penny Pot House in 1807; perhaps a poor small dwelling?

Sow Moor - was 'Suthemore' in 1462 and means 'south marsh'. Stanyards,

Stanners Hill - in 1220 was 'Stanore' and means the stony slope or bank. (Stonehill Road runs past)

Station Road - when in the 19th century plans were made to build a light railway at Chobham, the village jumped the gun by naming the road and even building a booking office (now the Castle Grove pub). The railway, of course, did not materialise.

Valley End - from 'falod' meaning a fold and 'leah' meaning a clearing. 'End' simply means an outlying place; Chobham also had a 'north-end' (by Sunningdale) and a 'West End'.

West End - no bright lights here, just the west end of Chobham!