kent place names - h

Hadlow was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Haslow. Its name probably goes back to two Old English words, hæth heather and hlaw hill, mound, so the sense is of a hill growing with heather.


Halling seems to go back to the Old English personal name Heall, in this case describing a settlement associated with Healls family or followers. The root is Old English ingas family, followers, seen more clearly in the towns first recorded form, in the eighth century, of Hallingas.


Halstead is literally a safe place or a place of refuge. It goes back to the Old English hald refuge, shelter, here combined with stede for a general site or place. The place-name is first found on record in about 1100 as Haltesteda.


Hamstreet - The name is Saxon meaning the enclosure on the road, originally the place was simply known as Ham. The original settlement was a mile up the road at Orlestone but the population shifted due to fresh spring water being discovered in Hamstreet.


High Brooms was originally broom growing near a bridge or broom growing on a ridge. Its earliest recorded form, Bromgebrug in 1270, suggests Old English roots of brom broom with either brycg bridge or hrycg ridge. Somewhere along the way this affix was dropped, however, and replaced by the more general qualifier high.


High Halden was first recorded under a rather longer name  Hadinwoldungdenne, to be precise, in around 1100. The sense is of a woodland pasture associated with a man called Heathuwald, from the Old English denn woodland pasture. The High is a later addition.


Halstow is literally a holy place. It goes back to the Old English stow, which was used for a general place as well as a place of assembly or, as here, a holy place. It is combined and reinforced with halig holy. Kent has a High Halstow and a Lower Halstow, first recorded in about 1100 as, respectively, Halgesto and Halgastaw.


Ham is a common name found all over England, and Kent is no exception. It comes from the Old English hamm, which had a variety of meanings, essentially to do with an enclosure of land, often delimited by water or the bend of a river, or sometimes by higher ground. Kents Ham was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Hama.


Harbledown first appears in 1175 as Herebolddune. The final element is an Old English dun or hill, and the first part is probably a personal name. The sense is thus of Herebealds hill.


Harrietsham looks like it may be a river-meadow near the army quarters. The last element is Old English hamm river-meadow, enclosure, and the name also contains here army and geard yard, enclosure. Unfortunately, these two elements also made up an Old English personal name, so the town could also be simply Heregeards meadow. It first appears in the records in the tenth century as Herigeardes hamm.


There are two Hartleys in Kent, one near Cranbrook and the other near Longfield. The first has the longest recorded history of the two, first mentioned in 843 as Heoratleag, while the other is not found until the Domesday Book, in which it appears as Erclei. The name comes from Old English heorot, a hart or stag, here combined with leah field, clearing, giving a sense of a clearing frequented by harts.


Hartlip goes back to Old English hliep, which meant a gate or fence. Here we have a gate over which harts leap, hliep being combined with the word for a hart or stag, heorot. It was first seen on record as Heordlyp in the eleventh century.


Hastingleigh is immediately identifiable as a field, an Old English leah. In this case it is one associated with the followers or family of Hæsta, from ingas family, followers. It is first seen in 933 as Hæstingalege.


Hawkhurst was first recorded in 1254 as Hauekehurst. A hurst is an Old English hyrst or wooded hill, so here we have simply a wooded hill frequented by hawks. (Hawk itself comes from the Old English hafoc.)


Hawkinge, like Hawkhurst, is associated with the hawk (Old English hafoc). The final element is Old English -ing, denoting a place characterised by or associated with a certain thing. The town is first mentioned on record in 1204 as Hauekinge.


Hawley is literally a holy woodland clearing, from the Old English halig holy and leah field, clearing. It was first recorded in the Doomesday Book as Hagelei.


Headcorn is a bit of a mystery. It is first seen in about 1100 as Hedekaruna, and may be an eponym. The theory is that it goes back to Old English hruna, used for a tree-trunk and by extension, probably a bridge. In this case the town would be literally Hydecas tree-trunk.


Herne Bay is etymologically a place on a corner of land. It comes from the Old English hyrne angle, corner and was first recorded in about 1100 as Hyrnan.


Hernhill goes back to roots different from those of Herne Bay. Here we are looking at Old English har grey for the first element, the second of course representing hyll hill. It was first recorded around 1100 as Haranhylle, where we can see that har has the dative ending -an.


Hever is first seen on record in 814 as Heanyfre. The end of this word is Old English yfre, used for the edge or brow of a hill. The first element is heah high, seen here in its dative form hean. The sense is thus of a high hill-edge: a convenient place for a castle.


Higham is simply a high enclosure or a high homestead, the case depending on whether the last element is Old English ham or hamm. The first element of the place-name is clearly high, which goes back to Old English heah, and the town was first recorded in 1242 as Hegham. Higham Upshire is first found as Heahhaam in 765, and its affix means a higher district, from the Old English upp and scir.


Hildenborough was originally just Hilden  or, in its thirteenth-century form, Hyldenn. The elements here are Old English hyll hill and denn woodland pasture, so the sense is of a pasture on or by a hill. By 1349 the name has become Hildenborough, having acquired the affix from burh manor, borough.


Hinxhill is etymologically the stallions hill. It comes from the Old English hengest stallion, and the town was first recorded as Haenostesyle in about 1100.


Hoath is only slightly disguised from its original meaning, indicating a place at a heath. The place-name first appears on record in the thirteenth century as La Hathe, and the root is Old Englihs hath.


Hollingbourne is a type of Old English burna, or stream. In this case the underlying sense seems to be of the stream of the people dwelling in the hollow, from hol hollow and ingas inhabitants. Alternatively, the first element could represent a theoretical personal name, Hola. The town is first seen in writing in the tenth century, as Holingeburna.


Etynologically, the name of Horsmonden conjures up arcadian images of a horse drinking at a stream in a woodland clearing. It comes from three common Old English words, hors horse, burna stream and denn woodland pasture. The first recorded form reflected this provenence rather better  Horsbundenne, from around the turn of the twelfth century.


Horton Kirby is literally a muddy farmstead. It derives from the Old English horu dirty, muddy and tun settlement, farmstead; it first appeared in the Domesday Book as Hortune. By 1346 it is showing up as Horton Kyrkeby, having acquired a manorial affix from its possession by the de Kirkeby family in the thirteenth century.


Hothfield was originally Hathfelde, from the Old English hath healthy and feld field, open land.


Hucking is first recorded in 1195 as Hugginges. The form suggests that the final element is Old English ingas, indicating family or followers, and the first part of the place-name is probably a personal name. The site is thus a settlement of Huccas family.


Hunton is located literally at the hill of the hunstman. Its name comes from Old English hunta hunstman and dun hill  the second element is not tun settlement, as it appears to be. The etymology is clearer in its first recorded form of Huntindone in the eleventh century.


Hythe represents the Old English word hyth, a landing-place or harbour. It first appears as the Normanised form Hede in the Domesday Book.