Why is Leeds called Leeds?

editorial image
0
Have your say

We say our city's name on a daily basis - yet how often do we stop to think about its origins?

Those of the name Leeds are shrouded in mystery, and are far less established than those of other British cities.

The original form of the name was Loidis, and it referred to a forested area of the Celtic kingdom of Elmet. Around the year 731, Bede mentioned the settlement in his writings, and it also appears in the Domesday Book after the Norman invasion.

By this time, the Old English spelling of Ledes was being used, but it is thought to be an Anglo-Saxon version of the Celtic name. Until the 1700s it appears as Leedes on maps.

It has been speculated that the word could have been Ladenses, a Celtic term for people living near a 'strongly flowing river', but it most likely refers in some way to the forest covering Elmet, which was a kingdom until the seventh century.

And here are some of the derivatives for suburbs and villages of Leeds:-

Horsforth - a horse ford

Hunslet - hound's let, an area for hunting with dogs

Roundhay - round hey, a royal hunting park

Scholes - a hut or shelter

Eccup - the valley where Ecca lived

Bramhope/Bramley - places where broom was grown

Colton - a farm belonging to Cola

Menston - a farm belonging to Mensa

Manston - a farm belonging to Mann

Alwoodley - a farm belonging to Aethelwald

Otley - a farm belonging to Otta

Armley - a farm belonging to Erme

Wike - named after a wic, meaning a farm

Barwick - a corn farm

Austhorpe - an outlying farm to the east

Osmondthorpe - Oswin's outlying farm

Thorp Arch - the de Arches family's outlying farm

Scarcroft - a small enclosed field

Seacroft - an enclosed field beside a pool

Wetherby - a castrated ram

Wortley - a vegetable farming area

Farnley - a place where ferns grew

Allerton - a place where alder trees grew

Garforth - the home of Gaera

Temple Newsam - new houses

Burmantofts - burgage man's tofts, or allotments