Shoreham-by-Sea:  Toponymy



First records of name: Sorham  1073  Soraham 1075  Soreham 1086

The origin cannot (unlikely to) have come from the modern word 'shore' which was not used in Saxon times, and does not appear to be used in its current meaning until the 14th century. Scor,  pronounced 'shor' was probably a word at the time meaning  'slope' or a similar topographic feature.
(However, this is according to English Dictionaries. The American Heritage Dictionary 3rd Edition is different.)

It is also cannot be derived from the Latin/Saxon word 'õra' meaning shore or landing place for boats for linguistic reasons.Words were simply not constructed like this and the word 'õra' disappeared from use. (Origin of place names of Bognor and Pershore, but there is not 100% agreement on the meaning of õra. I am satisified AH.  The earliest reference I can find to õra  is a document called "Ora Maritima" by Festus Rufus Avienus dated 366 AD. AH.)

Popular place-name books usually give the meaning for Shoreham as 'estate at the foot of a steep slope'.
Steep slope was from the Saxon word 'scor'. pronounced 'shor', but written 'sore' by the Norman scribes.(This was first thought to be as they would pronounce the word. The French Normans had difficulty in pronoucing certain consonant groups. Or is this a German sound shift ?  Treat this as speculation.).
This is the most reasonable explanation, although my first thoughts were that the slope is hardly steep, it is too steep to plough.

Where is the shear slope?  It is not really there! (Although, Old Shoreham from the west would be at the foot of the steep Mill Hill, now obscured by trees, but in my time, late 1950s, it was a bare hill slope.) Both Shoreham in Kent and Sussex share a slope (dominant topographical feature) that is too steep to plough leading down to a river with navigational importance in Saxon times. (The slope at the Kentish Shoreham is longer and steeper.)

Mill Hill in the early 20th century

(The American Heritage Dictionary 3rd Edition gives the etymon for the word 'shore' as scora and this would be consistent with the past participle of scoren, scieran,  shear, shorn.This is the same origin.)

Etymological Online

[Middle English shore, from Old English scora; see  sker-1 in Indo-European roots.]

shore (n.)
c.1300, "land bordering a large body of water," perhaps from M.L.G. schor "shore, coast, headland," or M.Du. scorre "land washed by the sea," probably from P.Gmc. *skur- "cut" and according to etymologists originally with a sense of "division" between land and water, and thus related to O.E. sceran "shear, to cut" (see shear). But if the word originated on the North Sea coast of the continent, it may as well have meant "land 'cut off' from the mainland by tidal marshes" (cf. O.N. skerg "an isolated rock in the sea," related to sker "to cut, shear"). O.E. words for "coast, shore" were strand, waroþ, ofer. Few I.E. languages have such a single comprehensive word for "land bordering water" (Homer uses one word for sandy beaches, another for rocky headlands). General application to "country near a seacoast" is attested from 1610s.
from Online Etymological Dictionary

Normans changed the writing of English from the clear and easily readable insular hand of Irish origin to the delicate Carolingian script then in use on the Continent. With the change in appearance came a change in spelling, e.g. sc to sh (Ency. Britannica)
(This is an over-simplified explanation.)
As for the palaeographical statement, I don't think your edition of the Ency. Brit. has caught up with research in this area. Insular minuscule wasn't always used by the Anglo-Saxons - the situation is quite complex, including 'pointed minuscule', 'square minuscule' and others, but Carolingian influence in this area came to England in the 10th century at the time of the great monastic reform movement, not after 1066. (CB)

Whether this word 'scora' was in use for the current meaning of 'shore' when Shoreham was given its name in Saxon times is debateable. The actual shore as we know it today would be more than one mile to the south, although the River Adur estuary had carved an inlet adjacent to Old Shoreham. (see reconstructed map).
 

Ham =  probably from the Saxon 'hamm', a geographical feature roughly corresponding to a peninsula  surrounded on three sides, usually by marsh. Later the marsh may have been drained to become a meadow.
Also a bend in a river or a river meadow?
[NB. Ham Road adjacent to the Civic Centre, Police Station, and Supermarket, acquired is name from the Ham(m), and so did Hammy Lane, and the Hamm Allotments (adjacent to Eastern Avenue).]

From: paulcu@cogs.susx.ac.uk

>Re Shoreham:  it seems to me unsafe to assume derivation from Old English _hamm_ ('hemmed-in land') rather than OE _ha:m_ ('a homestead, a village') in the absence of any -hamme or -hom spellings in what is quite a substantial medieval record. You're quite right to note that _hamm_ does occur in the parish in the name Ham (surviving in Ham Road etc.), but none of the data assembled by Mawer & Stenton (The Place-Names of Sussex, EPNS, pp.246-7) provides evidence for _hamm_ in the name Shoreham itself.
Humbly, Paul<

My guess is that this in turn came from the MLG word hamme, OE ham, hom, referring to the thigh (joined to the buttock like a peninsula) and the origin of the word ham for the joint of pigmeat.

le Ham  1549

The Hamme, Green Hamm, and Hamm Fields are mentioned in a Duke of Norfolk map of 1752.

There is some topographic/soil evidence to back up this claim as well (and there is no indication that this was known to Margaret Gelling).

Reference (for hamm):
"Place Names in the Landscape"  by Margaret Gelling,
 pages 41- 50.
ISBN 0 460 04380 3

More notes:  web page

I think hamm could simply mean pasture as distinct from meadow (where the hay is cut). Andy Horton, 1 July 2004.

The Gelling classification was later refined by John Dodgson, who divided category (5) into (5a) "cultivated plot in marginal land" and (5b) "an enclosed plot, a close", and added a category (6) "a piece of valley-bottom land hemmed in by higher ground" (Dodgson 1973). While Gelling had argued that "land in the bend of a river" was the original meaning of hamm, Dodgson looked upon the whole set of meanings as figurative expressions of the basic concept of "a surrounded, hemmed-in place" and Karl Inge Sandred's subsequent thorough study of the etymology of the element suggested to him that the original meaning was "enclosure" and that the meaning "plot of ground by a river" developed from this because river-meadows were frequently enclosed to protect them from straying cattle (Sandred 1976). [extract from the web page]

More notes:  Hamm refers to a natural feature/enclosure of the landscape chosen because it could be used as a grazing pasture? protective enclosure? (from rustlers and enemy attack?) rather than a man-made enclosure. Maybe these natural features were importance in the choice of settlement sites, which would later have developed into villages and towns? AH.
By 1086, 80% of settlements were accompanied by a meadow (enclosed grassland?) of some sort (from Rackham). AH.

My description (November 2003, revised April 2004):  "enclosed pasture (by a river)  next to human habitation"  or  less likely:  "habitation next to a pasture (by a river)." AH.

In medieval times "the hamme" was on the coastal plain, but the River Adur was then deflected east to be adjacent to the hamme.

By October 2005 I am inclined to think that the hamm component referred to the coastal pasture next to the shore (the shore being the northern banks of the Adur). There really isn't very much indication of a steep slope* at all. However, if the centre of the Shoreham habitat was at Old Shoreham, there is conceivably a case for a slope too steep to plough. The topographical links are a bit tenuous. The western slope of Mill Hill, (nearer Erringham, which may not be a hamm at all?) would lead to marshy ground at the foot of the slope on the flat Adur levels, without sea defences to prevent the Adur overflowing on the land at sea level.
(* The steep slope comes from the topography of land at Shoreham in Kent, and the place name studies assume the same etymology.) The hamme pasture if this is the etymon may actually be common grazing land as opposed to enclosed grazing?  All this is speculation from local history studies. Hammy Lane and Ham Road would both lead to the Hamm, of which only a small area of grass remains as a public open space. The river bank is now concrete wharfage replacing wooden wharfage, and the natural land would have been banked up since medieval times giving no evidence of what the land would have looked like in Saxon times. There could have been small cliffs on the banks of the River Adur, but more than likely it would be a gradual sloping shore.

By May 2007: I am inclined hamm = water meadow, and the "shear" part of Old Shoreham is the western edge of the downs, including what is left of Mill Hill.   There is an old hay meadow still at Old Erringham.

PS (2007):  Further studies of chalkhill ecology indicate that the steep slope facing west, north of Old Shoreham was probable. However, this land would decend more to marshland on the Adur Levels.

'ham' meaning village or homestead is also a possibility.

Revised again in April 2008:  now thought to be enclosed pasture land, which is a feature of the larger homesteads, so it does not matter if it is ham or hamm. From anthropological research in South Africa. cf. kraal

More information by Michael Haseler on BRITARCH

My thoughts on 30 May 2008

My contribution on 31 May 2008 on BRITARCH

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-hám, es; m. 'The Latin word which appears most nearly to translate it is vicus, and it seems to be identical in form with the Greek &omega-tonos;. In this sense it is the general assemblage of the dwellings in each particular district, to which the arable land and pasture of the community were appurtenant, the home of all the settlers in a separate and well defined locality, the collection of the houses of the freemen. Whenever we can assure ourselves that the vowel is long, we may be certain that the name implies such a village or community,' Cod. Dipl. Kmbl. iii. xxviii-ix. The distinction between -ham and -hám seems to have been lost before the Norman Conquest, as in the Chronicle one MS. has tó Buccingahamme, another tó Buccingahám, 918; Th. i. 190, col. 1, 2, l. 21. [Icel. -heimr, e.g. Álf-heimr the abode of the elves: O. H. Ger. -heim.]
Source:  Bosworth/Toller, page b0506, entry 15 Germanic Lexicon entries
 

Interpretation by Andy Horton. References available. 24/9/97, and 3/1/98.



The full name Shoreham-by-Sea was assigned in 1910.

In 1457 the port of Shoreham is named in a document as Hulkesmouth alias Shorham. The New Shoreham Borough Seal of c. AD 1295 shows a ship in a curved form. A type of ship known as a hulc is known from late 10th century laws, and in the 15th century this type of boat was the main trading vessel of northern Europe. The seal is the logo of King's Manor School, Shoreham.
 
 


Origin of the name Adur

be eastern bremre, ofer bremre 956,  aqua de Schorham  1263,  aqua de Pende  1301.

From a mistake in interpretation of 5th century Roman documents for Portus Adurni, which was originally claimed to be in what is now the Adur estuary, but now known to be at Portchester. The name appeared in a map in Michael Drayton's 'Polyolbion' map in the 17th century (1612).

Further Investigations:
Ardaoneon (R&C 43) next

http://www.romanmap.com/htm/nomina/Ardaoneon.htm

Addenda:  The mistake associating Aldrington with Portus Adurni came originally from William Camden's  Britannia 1586-1607.

Poly-olbion: 432. And Adur coming on to Shoreham.
This river that here falls into the ocean might well be understood in that Poii of Adur^ about this coast, the relics whereof, learned Camden takes to be Edrington, or Adrington, a little from Shm'eham. And the Author here so calls it Adur.
(It looks that there are OCR errors)

Britannia:
 11. Some what lower upon the shore appeareth Shoreham, in times past Score-ham, which by little and little fell to bee but a village, at this day called Old Shoreham, and gave encrease to another towne of the same name, whereof the greater part also beeing drowned and made even with the sea is no more to bee seene, and the commodiousnesse of the haven by reason of bankes and barres of sand cast up at the rivers mouth quite gone, whereas in foregoing times it was wont to carrie ships with full saile as farre as to Brember, which is a good way from the sea. This Brember was a castle sometime of the Breoses. For King William the First gave it unto William de Breose, from whom those Breoses are descended who were Lords of Bower and Brechnock, and from them also, both in this County and in Leicestershire, are come the Families of the Shirelys, Knights. But now in steed of a Castle there is nothing but an heape of ruble and ruines. A little from this Castle lieth Stening, a great mercate, and at certaine set daies much frequented, which in Aelfrids will, unless I be deceived, is called Steningham; ‡in later times it had a Cell of Black-monkes wherein was enshrined S. Cudman, an obscure Saint and visited by pilgrimes with oblations.‡
That ancient place also called Portus Adurni, as it seemeth, is scarce three miles from this mouth of the river: where when the Saxons first troubled our sea with their piracies, the Band called exploratorum under the Romane Emperours kept their Station, but now it should seeme to be choked and stopped up with huge heapes of beach gathered together. For that this was Ederington, a prety village which the said Aelfred granted unto his younger sonne, both the name remaining in part and also certaine cottages adjoining, now called Porslade, that is, The way to the Haven, doe after a sort perswade; to say nothing how easily they might land heere, the shore being so open and plaine. And for the same cause, our men in the reigne of King Henrie the Eighth did heere especially wait for the Frenchmens gallies all the while they hovered on our coasts, and upon the sudden set one or two cottages on fire at Brighthelmsted, which our ancestors the Saxons tearmed Brighthealmes-tun, the very next road or harbour thereunto.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Holder suggested a connection with ND's Portum Adurni , traditionally assigned to Portchester (SU6204). This connection is further argued in PNRB's Portus Ardaoni. But as Williams points out, "there is no certainty as to the true location of Portus Adurni".
Entry in Notitia Dignitatum:
Praepositus numeri exploratorum, Portum Adurni.
http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~halsteis/occ001.htm
http://www.roman-britain.org/notitia.htm

The name "Adur" from the Celtic word 'dwyr' or 'dwfr' meaning 'flowing waters' is in doubt. The source reference is in Henry Cheal's 'History of Shoreham' but there is no reference in the book, and there does not appear to be a word 'dwyr' known to the experts (checked). The name 'Adur' may have arisen by mistake by Harrison's application of the Roman 'Portus Adurni' to a location near the current Adur, from the document 'Notitia Dignitatum' .
The latter is reckoned to be the same as the 'Portus Ardaoni' in the Ravenna Cosmography, probably cognate with British
'ardu-', 'height'. (Carol Biggam)

New research:  Old river names like the Thames often have ancient origins, pre-Saxon, i.e. Celtic. I have now discovered the Cornish  (Celtic) word "dowr" and the Welsh "dofr" which means water. The must be a possibility that (Adur without the A) was in existence as the common name of the river before Michael Drayton erroneously attributed 'Portus Adurni' to a location near the current Adur.

New:  'a-dhowr' (Cornish) means of the water, or from the water. Now, there still must be considerable doubt over the origin Adur from the Celtic (there are no comparable names in Wales or Cornwall).

As for Adur, the Modern Welsh for 'water' is 'dwr' (pronounced 'door' with a long 'oo'), but the Old Welsh predecessor of 'dwr' is 'dofr'. This is where Dover gets its name. (Carol Biggam)

There is a River Adour in France.
Adour
- Aturonna, vient de atur (rivière) + onna (source).
- Du ligure passé par l'ibéro-basque aturra : la source

In fact, we probably do have the pre-English name of the Adur recorded in the Ravenna Cosmography as 'Nuba' / 'Novia' (see Rivet & Smith pp. 426-7), most likely a British *_nouia:_ 'new, fresh, lively'. (Paul Cullen).

 Nuba (for Nova R&C 68) is a settlement name derived from the name of the river. Both the Adur and the Cuckmere are candidates for Ptolemy's Kainos Limen (Novus Portus) and Ravenna's river Novia (R&C 267). The Ouse can be
precluded because the settlement Mutuantonis (R&C 69 (Lewes?)), is easily related to Midewinde, the earlier river-name.
        Tom Ikins
http://www.RomanMap.com
  The Roman Map of Britain

The river has also been known as the Sore (Holinshed's Chronicle 1577). This is likely to be because of back-formation. Back-formation is the reverse of affixation, being the analogical creation of a new word from an existing word falsely assumed to be its derivative. (i.e. Sore arose after the name Shoreham and not the other way round).
e.g. The river that runs through Arundel used to be called the Tarrant (Tarente c.725), when the Old English name Arundel was first in use. Later, the river was called the Arun, not from the original root of Arun ( hoar - valley #), but named as an abbreviation of the name of the town.
However, in Celtic names, Aberdeen, Falmouth (Aberfal) and others, the river name came first.

# hoar refers to the shrub "horehound" ? Marrubium vulgare and dell is a smallish valley ?)

ofer may be the flat-topped hillsite mentioned by Ann Cole.
The 'ofer' above is a preposition with meanings 'over, beyond, above, upon, in, across' etc. Cole's 'ofer' is a noun. They're different words - the preposition has a short initial 'o', and the noun has a long 'o'. This indicates a different history. (CB)

ofer  means over in this context, but this is not the meaning for lots of ofer = over in place names like Southover (on the outskirts of Lewes.) It can also mean shore.


Southwick
Sudewic  1073  Suthewick next to the Shorham  1279

The south is harder to explain than  wic  which is Old English (originally Latin) for a farm, and certainly much more than this, the trading centre (road to London), market centre, and centre of the agricultural estate.

There have been considerable studies, debates, even some controversy or at least conflicting views, on the origin of wic in place names and their historical context. The Latin root vicus is clear.



Lancing
Place names ending with 'ing' means 'the people of'. The first part may derive from Wlanc, meaning proud or 'imperious', of Hlanc, 'lank' or 'lean', [Mawer and Stenton]. It is also suggested that the word has been affected by the common word 'lance' in use well before 1290.
The reason for the large variation is likely to be due to errors in transcriptions and each writers individual attempt to reproduce his version of the pronounciation of the word Lancing  (by Ray Hamblet).

Date   Spelling
1086  Lancinges

Full Information on Ray Hamblett's Lancing web pages:
LancingRing2009.htmray.hamblett/History/Topon.htm

Wlen, Poland
Other names: Lahn*, Laehn, Lähn, Wlen  (*German)

Notes



Notes:

le Milhouse, le Wynd Milhill 1549

Kingston

Chingestune  1086
Kyngeston next to the Schorham 1279
Kyngeston Bouci  1315
Boucsy  1317
Robert de Busci held the manor in 1199
Kyngeston Bowsey 1608

Trailgi  1086 (now Truleigh)  OE treow + leah  =  tree + clearing

Shoreham

Sele noua Schorham  1261  (Sele Priory)
Bukkyngham 1550
Eringeham 1086 DB  (possibly Ering = arable ? AH)

Anningadun  956
Staninges  1086 DB
Hethenburiels, Etenesburieles  1279
Fiskergate  1188

Slonk Hill (Shoreham)  possibly from  slohtre OE  possible meaning a field of some type unknown, or it could even come from slah-thorn which is the sloe thorn, blackthorn in the books. Notes (these are mislaid). These are now rejected as an unlikely meaning.
New notes:
*** *** *** Richard Coates writes: (N1.2.5) SLONK in place-names of the Brighton area: no more slaughter, please Field-names of this form are recorded in Rottingdean as follows: the Slonkes furlonge 1638 (1655) ESRO BRD 3/1The Slonk or Southmost forlong of the Vicurage Laine 1732 ESRO BRD 3/7 The Slonks 1819 ESRO AMS 4952/1/21 Upper and Lower Slonks, Slonks Hovel 1947/1970
Copper map Slonks (also Slonks Corner, Hovel) 1971 Copper, pp. 9, 11, 157 Slonks Laine 1973 Copper, p. 12
The later fields Upper and Lower Slonks are some way from Vicarage Laine, and we need to assume two places, at different periods, bearing the same name. Slonk is recorded in Kent (Parish and Shaw 1887) as meaning `a slope, declivity; a depression in the ground'.
The first meaning is the one relevant here. Upper and Lower Slonks occupy a smooth slope right on the Rottingdean/Rodmell
boundary. The profile of Slonk Hill in Kingston Buci/Old Shoreham was a smoothly-descending spur before it was carved up by the cutting which carries the A27. There also existed land called the Sloncke in Preston (Court Rolls, 25 Sept. 1589; SRS 27), the precise location of which is unknown; and also in Telscombe, a furlong of Church Laine (document of 1701 (Cornes 1980)). Clearly the word was an authentic local dialect item.
Web page:  http://tinyurl.com/34gqn
 Clearly the word was an authentic local dialect  item. It may be a variant of  slant, which is first recorded as a noun, `the slope of a hill, piece of ground,  etc.; a sloping stretch of ground', in 1655 (OED -2), and occasionally written with
 -o-.
 But it is disturbing to find that John Dudeney, who commands authority as a Downsman with intense local knowledge and a hard-won education, gives only the `depression' explanation in his discussion of slaunk (Dudeney, no date): "- a small bottom or slight indentation running into a larger is called a Slaunk", and he names three examples.
 Words of a similar shape to this are sometimes found in place-names with different meanings; but we are not dealing here with narrow, winding pieces of land (slang) or with hollows or swallowholes (slank).

German origin
http://wordsofyesterday.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/demulceate-slonk.html

slant
Etym: Alteration of obsolete slent, from Middle English slenten, to fall aslant, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.

Slonk Hill (Shoreham) is noted for its historic tumulus (now almost dissected by the A27 road) but this location if my interpretation of the old topography is correct would be on a hill with a slope facing the south. (This topography refers to the tumulus area rather than the farm.)  NOT a muddy depression. which would refer to the farm.

There is a "Right of Way" passing through the area, and most 'slonks' seem to occur as roads. (This would be a better signpost AH.)

SLONK
c1470 HENRY Wallace III. 4 Baith erbe and froyte, busk and bewis, braid Haboundandlye in euery slonk and slaid. 1513 DOUGLAS Æneid XI. xi. 84 In dern sladis and mony scroggy slonk. 1563 WINET tr. Vincent. Lirin. ii. Wks. (S.T.S.) II. 19 Sa grete dangerous slonkis of sindry errouris. ?16.. Lindesay's (Pitscottie) Chron. Scot. (1728) 90 She standing in a slonk [v.r. slake] bringing home water. 1728 RAMSAY Poems Gloss., Slonk, a Mire, Ditch, or Slough. 1880 Antrim & Down Gloss., Slonk,..a ditch; a deep, wet hollow in a road. 1894 HESLOP Northumbld. Gloss., Slonk, a depression in the ground, like a ‘swallow hole’.  (OED)

The OED may refer to SLANK rather than SLONK ?



St Mary de Haura

Le Haura from ON hafn
As Le Haura was a new port founded in 1509, it seems that the name is not a direct continuation of an ON name, but from the ordinary noun `Haura'.   According to Larousse étymologique, Havre is from Dutch rather than Norse.

Keith Briggs on the English Place Names Forum
haven  | hev()n |  n. LOE. [ON hofn (genit. hafnar) = MLG, MDu. havene, Du. haven
---------------------------------------------------------
Excerpted from The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia
Developed by The Learning Company, Inc. Copyright (c) 1997 TLC Properties Inc.

HAVEN
. A recess or inlet of the sea, or the mouth of a river, affording good anchorage and a safe station for ships; a harbour, port.

1031 O.E. Chron., a hæfenan on Sandwic. c1205 LAY. 7415 at hauen of Douere he hauede inumen. 1297 R. GLOUC. (1724) 134 Heo wolle to morwe aryue atte haue [v.r. havene] of Tottenays. Ibid. 423 An hauene..at me clupe Portesmoue. 1340 Ayenb. 182 Nyxt e hauene spil ofte et ssip et ge zikerliche ine e hee ze. c1470 HENRY Wallace VII. 1068 A hundreth schippys..in hawyn was lyand thar. 1535 COVERDALE Ps. cvi[i]. 30 So he bryngeth them vnto the hauen where they wolde be [1611 vnto their desired hauen]. 1552 ABP. HAMILTON Catech. (1884) 28 Ane skyppar can nocht gyde his schip to ane gud hevin without direction of his Compas. 1647 CLARENDON Hist. Reb. VII. §161 Weymouth, a very convenient Harbour and Haven. 1862 LD. BROUGHAM Brit. Const. xi. 152 Goods imported and exported at the havens of the realm.
(OED)



La Houne  1288
Porteslage,  Porteslamhe 1086 DB,  Portes Ladda 1080  France
Harundel(le) 1086 DB
Eldretune 1086 DB  Aldringeton  1200
Storgetune  1086 DB  (storca = storks?)
This page researched and compiled by Andy Horton


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