09. Blomé on Fishleigh and Milton Damerel

It was a great relief this afternoon to discover that Blomé’s The Place Names of Devonshire was not lost or even missing from the stacks but simply misshelved. “Someone borrowed it last in March 2007”, the librarian said when I asked for some assistance. “That would have been me”, I replied, somewhat ungramatically. So we both headed to the DA 670s. “Do you remember if it was in its original binding?” I was asked as the librarian ran her  appropriately named index finger along a row of call numbers on the labels of scores of books. Just as I was telling her that it was indeed in its original state I caught sight of it. I was jubilant. This is a rare book which should probably not be in the open stacks and certainly not for circulation.

It’s not easy to find a place to sit in UBC’s new Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on a Friday afternoon in November.  Eventually I discovered an empty wingback with a great, but now superfluous view of the campus on the only sunny day this week so I settled in to transcribe the following:

Blomé on Fishleigh and Fishleigh Barton

Hatherleigh” is the heading. That’s the name of the parish in which Fishleigh is found. It is, as I have mentioned, downstream from Milton Damerel and in the same Hundred of Black Torrington.

Fishleigh:  Fislega [1228 Devon Feet of Fines];  Fislegh [1242 Testa de Nevill or The Book of Fees 1198-1293 Rolls Series. 2 vols. London 1920-23  781]; Fy(s)shlegh 1303, 1428 [ Inquisitions and Assessments relating to Feudal Aids. Vol i 1284-1431, ed. H.C. Maxwell Lyte, London 1899]; Fyslegh [1346 Inquisitions etc.]; Old English fisc-leah  ‘fish lea’ .”

I was delighted to read this next bit:

“Compare Fishley Barton supra 54. The place stands near the confluence of the Torridge and the Lew.”

So I went next to page 54 to find the following:


Fishleigh Barton: Fisshelegh [1390 Calendar of the Close Rolls 1272 ff. Rolls Series London 1892 ff.]; Fysshelegh [1479 Calendarium Inquisitionum post Mortem sive Escaetarum. Record Commission. 4 vols. London 1806-28.];  -Near the Taw  Old English fisc-leah  ‘fish lea’ i.e. a lea on the bank of a river with good fishing.  See Fishleigh infra” (which we transcribed above).

Thank you Mr. Blomé.  We now know that the place called Fishleigh would have been around in Anglo Saxon times.  We also know that it sits at the confluence of two rivers. That will make it fairly easy to locate when I canoe downstream on the Torridge, something I have been planning to do for several seasons now.  This will get me paddling for certain.

Earlier I promised to take a look at what Blomé had to say about the evolution of this place name.

Blomé on Milton Damerel

Black Torrington Hundred

‘Hundred’ referred originally to the amount of land sufficient to sustain one hundred families, defined as the land covered by one hundred “hides”. It is an administrative unit within the shire or county. The hundred of Black Torrington was made up of thirty-six parishes of which Milton Damerel was one.

Milton Damerel

Milton Damerel 127 East 7: Mideltona [1086 Domesday-Book Rotbert de Albamarla]; Middleton [1233 Calendar of Close Rolls, 1238 Devon Feet of Fines, 1284 Inquisitions etc.]; Middleton Albemare [1258 Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland. Rolls Series London 1893 ff.]; Middleton Albemarle [1297 Calendar of Various Chancery Rolls. 1277-1326. London 1912]; Milton Daumarle [1341 Patent Rolls of the reign of Henry III (1216-32). Rolls Series. 2 vols. London 1901-03. Calendar of Patent Rolls (1232 ff.). Rolls Series. London 1891 ff.]; Milton Damerle [1422 Calendarium Inquisitionum etc]; Old English middel-tun ‘middle farm’.  Distinguished by the name of Domesday tenant.”

Bertil Blomé then goes on to explain the evolution of the names of four hamlets within the parish of Milton Damerel.

Great Derworthy: Dyraworthy [1270 [Assize Rolls for Devon]; Direworth [1313 ibid.]. Probably from Old English Dieran-worpig ‘Diera’s farm’. Compare Diere and Deora personal names.

Gidcotmill (6″ to the mile Ordnance Survey): Gildescota [1086 Domesday]; Giddecoth’ [1242 The Book of Fees 788]; Gidicote [1244 Devon Feet of Fines]; Gydicote [1303  Inquiisitions etc., 1347 Calendar of Close Rolls, 1428 Inquisitions etc.];  Gidecote [1420 Calendarium Inquisitonum etc.]. Probably from Old English Gyddan-cot ‘Gydda’s cottage’ as assumed by Ekwall in The Place-Names of Lancashire Manchester 1922. p 103. In the list of Domesday tenants TRE Ellis ii 133 gives one Gudda in Cornwall; Gydda would be the mutated variant of that name, or Gudda may even represent Gydda.

Waldon: atte Wallen [1330 Exchequer Lay Subsidy Rolls]. Situated on the rather large River Waldon.

Wonford: Wenforda [1086 Domesday Book]; Wanford [1200 Rotuli Chartarum in turri Londonensi asservati. Record Commission. London 1837, 1219 Devon Feet of Fines, 1242 The Book of Fees 788, 1244 Devon Feet of Fines, 1282 Placita de Quo Warranto temporibus Edw.I.II.&III in Curia receptae scaccarij Westm. asservata. Record Commission. London 1818., 1303, 1316 Inquisitions etc.];?Waumford [1312 Calendar of the Close Rolls]; Waunford [1326 ibid]; West Wanford(e) [1377, 1390 Calendar etc.]; Westwaneford [1377 Calendarium Inquisitionum etc.]; Westwamford [1389 Calendar of Close Rolls]; Westwanforde [1390 ibid ]; West Woneford [1398 Calendarium etc.]; Wamford [1422 ibid.];


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: