How Calderdale towns and villages got their names and what they mean

There are many towns and villages in Calderdale and a number of them have very unusual names.

Monday, 4th March 2019, 7:45 am
There are many towns and villages in Calderdale and a number of them have very unusual names

Where did they come from, how long have they been around and what do they mean? From Halifax to Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge to Shelf here are the origins of Calderdale town and village names.

The name of Halifax, first recorded in about 1091 as Halyfax, comesfrom the Old English 'halh-gefeaxe', meaning "area of coarse grass in the nook of land".
Elland was recorded as Elant in the 1086 Domesday Book and the town's name is derived from the Old English meaning 'land by the water, river or land partly or wholly surrounded by water'.
The generally accepted meaning of Todmorden's name is 'Totta's boundary-valley' which is thought to be a reference to the valley running north-west from the town. The name Todmorden first appears in 1641.
The name Northowram, or North-over-ham, is thought to indicate a meaning similar to 'north above town' as 'ham' in Anglo Saxon Old English means town.
The name for Brighouse is thought to be Middle English and come from Bridge House and originates from a building on, or close to, the bridge over the River Calder. Brig is old dialect for bridge.
The name for Hebden comes from the Anglo-Saxon Heopa Denu, meaning 'Bramble (or possibly Wild Rose) Valley' and also comes from the old bridge across the River Hebden on an old packhorse route.
It is thought the place name probably derives from the Anglo Saxon word 'Scelf', which is what it was called in the Domesday Book, which suggests a 'broad and level shelf of land'.
It is thought that Sowerby Bridge takes its name from the historic bridge which spans the river in the town centre. The name Sowerby, is made up from the Norse 'Sor' for sour and suffixed with 'by' representing a parished area.
The village of Holywell Green gets its name from St Helen's Well which was known within the area during medieval times. The location of the original Holy Well is uncertain. It could be St Helen's Well itself, the spring in Shaw Park.
The name Mytholmroyd means 'a clearing for settlement, where two rivers meet' and is likely to come from the Old English (ge)mthum for 'river mouth' and rodu meaning 'field' or 'clearing'.