What's in a name?


Thurrock Place-names by Susan Yates

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Belhus Manor

The former home of the Barrett-Lennards gets its name from a previous owner Nicholas de Belhus. Thomas de Belhus the son of Nicholas married Elizabeth daughter and heiress of Richard de Norton. It was from this liaison that he doubtless obtained the manor of Belhus, which became known as Nortons de Belhous. It was a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth, Alicia de Belhus who married John Barrett about 1401 from Hawkhurst, Kent. They were given Belhouse Mede to live in and it was their great grandson John who built the Belhus Manor that we know today, which was demolished in 1957.


In some quarters it is thought this names derives from St. Cedds Well or possibly his brother St. Chad but in actual fact it means the cold spring.

Courts Farm

This comes from the one time owner William le Curt

Dilkes School

Gets its name from Dilkes Wood.


Is not named after its colour in the 1960's when it was covered in cement dust from the local cement industry, but after Henri de Grai a supporter of William I.

The Sir Henry Gurnett

This public house is the former manor of Kenningtons and takes its name from a former Lord of the Manor Sir Henry Gurnett.

The Lennard

This public house situate on the A1306 at Aveley recently renamed the Lennard after its change from the Lennard Arms to The Park proved unpopular. Did you know that it was originally called The Crown and Cushion.


This public house on the Kenningtons Estate, now known as the Park Tavern, took its name from Thomas de Marisco the owner of Marshfoot House, formerly situated on the marshes to the south of the A1306.


Derives from the Saxon name which was Woccadun meaning the hill belonging to Wocca.

Saffron Gardens

Like Saffron Walden takes its name from the die obtained from the Crocus, Saffron was probably grown here at one time for use in the local wool industry

Somers Heath

This school takes its name from Somers Heath House which was situated nearby as shown on the 1843 Ordnance Survey Map


The name Thurrock does not derive from Thors Oak but from the old word "turroc" meaning that part of a ship where the rubbish collects. Some things don't change.


Derived from the Saxon Tilaberg meaning the fortified place of Tila

The most authoritative source for local place names is The Place-names of Essex by Paul Reaney. This was published in 1935 but is still in print (price 30) and can sometimes be found in second hand bookshops.

There is a more detailed explanation of the origin of our local parish names and their context in the Anglo-Saxon period in an excellent article by Margaret Gelling in Panorama 19 - click here

"Names will never hurt me" by L F Thompson in Panorama 2 is an entertaining romp through some more unusual local names, but without derivations.

If there is a local name that you would like to know the origin of, please e-mail 


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