The following article was taken from the book
"Staveley - My Native Town Some Historical Notes of the Parish"
1946: J.W. Northend Ltd.
Place and Field Names - pages 30 - 33
One of the most unchanging features in the history of our country is the place and field names that frequently persist for centuries. These names help to reveal a number of facts in the history of our country otherwise unobtainable and there are many of these names in our own parish of Staveley, which gives us a clue to some interesting facts and speculations. Too much reliance must not be placed on these names for the spelling of many of them changes in the course of years. For instance, to take the name of our own village, though now spelt Staveley it has numerous spellings in the old records, such as Staley, Staveleye, Stavelay, and in the Domesday Book is spelt Staveleia.
Now several interpretations might be deduced from those various spellings, but the usual and probably correct one is to take the old Anglian meaning, "The wood or field where the staves were got." Woodthorpe is of course the village in the wood, from the Danish word Thorpe a hamlet. Netherthorpe being the lower hamlet.
Such names as Staveley, Woodthorpe,Shuttlewood, etc., support the view that until recent times this part of the country was probably forest or woodland, and would be only very sparsely populated.
Norbriggs, or the North Bridge, refers to the bridge over the Doe Lea. An interesting story is told in connection with this bridge.
The story goes that during the reign of Queen Mary, a fishmonger named Abbot had by way of penance "Been enjoined to build the North Bridge and causeway in the parish of Staveley," but nothing was provided for its repair and maintenance. Accordingly, Sir Peter Frecheville, who died in 1634, petitioned the County Justices, and the repairs then became a charge on the county.
The bridge was rebuilt in 1742 and again recently.
Near this bridge is a field called Abbot's Flat, doubtless owing its name to Abbot the fishmonger, a name which has persisted for 400 years. Another bridge over the Doe Lea near Netherthorpe is called the High Bridge, and another higher up the stream the Earning Bridge, meaning "Running Water."
Lowgates is one of the many places whose meaning can be interpreted in more ways than one, for Gate is Anglian for a road or for an entrance, so that one interpretation makes it the low road, and the other suggestion is that it meant the low entrance to the Manor House.
Mastin Moor and Handley Moor obviously suggest that this part of the parish was moorland at one time.
Hollingwood no doubt means the wood where the hollies grow.
Inkersall seems to be derived from Inker, a meadow, and Sall, Anglian or Danish for a stone house.
Handley appears to be derived from the Anglian word Han, meaning High, and Lea, a meadow.
West Handley may simply mean that it lies to the west of the Handleys. Another and more probable explanation is that the West may be taken from the name of William West, who was given the Lordship of Handley by Henry VIII in the early 16th century, and whose son sold it to Francis Rhodes in 1577, whose son again sold it to Bess of Hardwick, when it became merged in the parish of Staveley.
It is also suggestive that there are still several Westfields in Handley.
Foxlow plantation is no doubt named after the Rev. Francis, the well known divine, but I have no suggestion to make for the naming of Stubbing and Binkley Woods, although there is a Danish word similar to Stubbing which means a clearing.
The River Rother is referred to in some ancient documents as Yr Odor, meaning the boundary, in others as the Rodder, and it is suggested that it was so called from its red colour due to the oxide of iron in solution, hard to believe from its slimy black appearance now.
Many other names in Staveley speak for themselves, such as Common Spot and Common End, Troughbrook,Poolsbrook, etc. On the other hand, there are places for which I have no interpretation. The Budges, the land between Staveley and Netherthorpe, Huggister Farm, etc.
There are several Willow Garths in Staveley, a Garth being Danish for an enclosure, and there is a Willow Holt, a Holt being Anglian for a copse. A Hagg is an enclosure surrounded by a fence.
By permission of the Duke of Devonshire, I have been able to inspect the Staveley rent book for 1788. I find that the names of many tenants are those of families still farming in the parish today.
At Inkersall, is a field called Gallow Ridding. Gallow sounds ominous, but Ridding was a cleared space large enough to be cultivated.
Hanging Piece, Hanging Bank, etc., refer to fields on a hillside.
Intake is a piece of land taken in from the road or common.
Several fields in Woodthorpe are named Spital Flat, so called from their proximity to the Almshouses, then called Hospital.
Many fields are called Rye Croft, Rye Close and Rye Ridding, showing that rye was a common crop in those days.
Conygre field no doubt refers to the rabbits.
Other fields suggest their common inhabitant, Snipe Meadow, Toadpool Field, Foxhole Nook andCrownest Hill.
Sic was Anglian for a little stream or watercourse, so we get Well Sic Close, a small stream issuing from a spring in a field.