Kent place names - C

Canterbury. Known as Cantwaraburg from at least as long ago as 900 and recorded in the Domesday Book as Canterburie, the name of this cathedral seat is a mixture of Celtic and Old English and means, fittingly, stronghold of the people of Kent. The first element of the place-name is etymologically the same word as Kent, while the last represents the Old English burh stronghold or fortified town. Between them was the -wara- seen in its earliest spelling, now almost disappeared, which came from the Old English ware and indicated inhabitants.


Capel le Ferne indicates a chapel in a ferny place. The first word is Middel English capel, the modern chapel, and the addition goes back to Old English ferne fern. It is first found on record in the fourteenth century as Capel ate Verne.


Chalk has changed its spelling to keep its meaning the same  a place on chalky ground. It was first recorded back in the tenth century as Cealca, the word coming from the Old English cealc chalk.


Challock Lees is etymologically an enclosure for calves. It was first recorded in 824 as Cealfalocum, the derivation being Old English cealf calf and loca enclosure. Lees, from læs pasture, is a later addition.


Charing probably indicates a bend in the road, from the Old English cerring, and it first appeared in 799 as Ciorrincg. An alternative meaning may be place associated with a man called Ceorra.


Chart, like Chartham, takes its name from the Old English cert, meaning rough ground. Great Chart was first recorded in 762 with this spelling, Cert, and was not mentioned as Magna Chart until the thirteenth century. Little Chart had emerged as a separate place by the time of the Domesday Book, in the form of Litelcert.


Chartham is literally a village on rough ground, and goes back to an Old English word cert or rough ground. Its etymology is more clear in its first recorded spelling, Certham, in 871. Kent obviously had a reputation for rough ground, as seen in such other related county names as Chart Sutton and Great and Little Chart.


Chart Sutton is yet another reference to the areas rough ground, from the Old English cert. It first appears as Cært in 814, and did not acquire its affix until it was noted as Chert juxta Suthon in 1280. It simply indicates that this Chart is near Sutton, in this case the nearby Sutton Valence.


Chathams name suggests a homestead in the woods. It represents a mixture of the Celtic cêd wood and the Old English ham homestead or village, and was first recorded as Cetham as far back as 880.


Chattendens first recorded form, Chatendune in about 1100, suggests that its last syllable is probably Old English dun hill rather than the more obvious denn woodland pasture. The first element may be a personal name, so that the underlying sense would be Ceattas hill.


Chevening may indicate a settlement of the dwellers at the ridge, a combination of Celtic cevn ridge and Old English ingas dwellers. However, if the name were to contain such an ancient Celtic word, it is perhaps a little strange that it doesnt appear on the records until 1199 (as Chivening).


Chiddingstone is probably another eponym, in this case concerning a man called Cidda. The sense would thus be of Ciddas stone, and the town first appears as Cidingstane in about 1110.


Chilham first appears in 1032 as Cilleham. The final syllable is Old English ham, a village or homestead, and the first may represent either a personal name Cilla or a cille spring.


Chillenden commemorates Ciollas valley, Ciolla being an Old English personal name and den representing denu valley. It was first recorded as Ciollandene in 833.


Chipstead is a distortion of the Old English ceap-stede, literally a market-place. It was first recorded in 1191 as Chepsteda.


The idea behind Chislet seems to be of a settlement near a copse of chestnut trees. This derivation would look back to the Old English cistelet chestnut copse, although a few alternative interpretations have been offered. The town was first mentioned as Cistelet as long ago as 605.


Cliffe is the same word as English cliff, both having come from the Old English clif. The town was first recorded in the tenth century as Cliua.


Cliftonville is a nineteenth-century resort, and its name was a modern invention.


Cobham traces its name back to an Old English personal name, Cobba, in this case describing his ham, or homestead. Its earliest recorded form, Cobba hammes mearce in 939, also contains the Old English mearc boundary.


The idea underlying Coldred is of a clearing where coal is found, or possibly made. It goes back to Old English col coal and ryde clearing, and is first found as Colret in the Domesday Book.


Cooling is an eponym which indicates a settlement of Culs family. The last element is the Old English ingas family, followers. It was first mentioned in 808 as Culingas.


Cowden is literally a denn or pasture for cows, from the Old English cu cow. Its first recorded form was as Cudena in around 1100.

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Cranbrook is only a little disguised from its original meaning, of a brook frequented by cranes or herons. The roots are Old English cran crane, heron and broc brook. It first appears on record in the eleventh century as Cranebroca. The River Crane is a back-formation from the place-name.


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An Old English crundel was a chalk-pit or quarry, and the word has survived in the name of Crundale. It was first recorded in around 1100, when it appears as Crundala.


The X in Cuxton has slightly disguised its etymology, which would suggest a meaning along the lines of Cucolas stone. The elements are clearer in the first recorded spelling of Cucolanstan, in 880.