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Hampshire's local pages

Hampshire Placenames and their Meanings

Why is Hampshire sometimes called Hants?

"Hampshire" is often abbreviated in written form to "Hants" and which sometimes gives rise to puzzlement. The abbreviated form is derived from the Old English Hantum plus Scir (meaning a district governed from the settlement now known as Southampton) and the Anglo-Saxons called it Hamtunschire. At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) this was compressed to Hantescire.


In the placenames of Hampshire can be read a great deal of history. The names of places can reflect landscape features, ancient customs, agricultural practices and of course local trade and industry. A name may refer to the size of a place or its geographic location or perhaps a local land-owning family. This page identifies some of the principal placenames in Hampshire together with their origins and meanings.

Where a place was recorded at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, the code "DB" has been added, and the earliest recorded spelling of the place is highlighted by italics.

  • Aldershot - Halreshet 1171. "Projecting piece of land where alders grow".
  • Alresford - Alresforda 701, Alresforde 1086 (DB). "Alder-tree ford"
  • Alton - Aultone DB. "Farmstead at the source of a river."
  • Andover - Anderferas 955, Andovere DB. "(Place by) the ash-tree waters".
  • Basingstoke - Basingastoc 990, Basingestoches DB. "Secondary settlement or outlying farmstead of the family or followers of a man called "Basa"".
  • Bishop's Waltham - Waltham DB. "Homestead or village in a forest". Affix from its early possession by the Bishop of Winchester.
  • Brockenhurst - Broceste DB. "wooded hill of a man called "Broca"". Alternatively the first element could be from Old English brocen "broken up, undulating".
  • Eastleigh - East lea 932. "East wood or clearing".
  • Emsworth - Emeleswurth 1224. "Enclosure of a man called Æmele"
  • Fareham - Fearnham 970. "Homestead where ferns grow."
  • Farnborough - Ferneberga DB. "Hill(s) or mound(s) growing with ferns".
  • Fleet - Flete 1313. "(place at) the stream, pool or creek".
  • Fordingbridge - Fordingebrige DB. "Bridge of the people living by the ford".
  • Gosport - Goseport 1250. "Market town where geese are sold."
  • Havant - Hamanfuntan 935. "Spring of a man called Hama".
  • Hayling Island - Heglingaigæ 956. "Island of the family or followers of a man called Hægel".
  • Liphook Leophok 1364. Probably "angle of land by the deer-leap or steep slope".
  • Liss - Lis DB. "A court, chief house in a district".
  • Lymington -.Lentune DB. Probably "farmstead on a river called Limen."
  • Lyndhurst -.Linhest DB. "Wooded hill growing with lime trees".
  • Petersfield - Peteresfield 1182. Probably "(settlement at) the open land with a church dedicated to St Peter".
  • Portsmouth - Portesmuthan (late 9th century). "Mouth of the harbour".
  • Romsey - Rummæsig 970. "Island, or dry ground in marsh, of a man called Rum".
  • Southsea Southsea Castle c1600. Self-explanatory. The present place grew up around the castle built by Henry VIII in 1540.
  • Southampton - Suthamtunam 962, Hantone DB. "Estate on a promontory". See also origins of Hampshire.
  • Stockbridge - Stocbrugge 1221. "Bridge made of logs".
  • Waterlooville Named in 1815 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo.
  • Whitchurch - Hwitancyrce 909. "White church", that is, probably "stone-built church".
  • Winchester - Ouenta c150, Uintancæstir c730, Wincestre DB. "Roman town called Venta."
  • Yateley - Yatele 1248. "Woodland clearing with or near a gate or gap."