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A selection of unusual Dorset place names and their history

With an office in every corner of the West Country, Stags has 145 years of experience across the region, from hamlets to cities, coastal cottages to contemporary townhouses. Here’s a few of the unusual place names we have come across in Dorset and their presumed origins.


Situated west of Bridport on the coast, Eype is a village full of pretty thatched cottages with country gardens, and has deservedly been described as one of West Dorset’s most beautiful villages. The name is thought to originate from the Old English gēap, meaning ‘steep place’ which is no surprise due to the elevation of the area - the nearby Golden Cap is the highest cliff on the south coast at 191 metres above sea level!


Tincleton is a small village surrounded by meadows in the flat, open valley of the River Frome. Tincleton was listed in the Domesday Book as Tincladene, thought to be Old English for ‘farm in a valley’ or ‘valley of farms’, still an accurate reflection of this thriving rural community, nestled in a scenic river valley.



Fortuneswell is a village on the northern side of the beautifully rugged and historical Isle of Portland. The village name was first recorded as ‘Fortunes Well’ in 1608, which is thought to originate from the belief in the occult fortune-telling power of its well. The well has since been sealed up but the name of this picturesque village has stuck.



Evershot is a small, charming village on the River Frome. The name is thought to derive from the Old English eofor meaning ‘wild boar’ and the Saxon scīete, meaning ‘land’. This suggests that this was an area where wild boar roamed freely, although thankfully that isn’t the case nowadays!



The River Piddle lends its peculiar name to a number of small, sweet villages which sit along it. Piddletrenthide is one of them, a charming village in the Dorset Downs. The ‘trenthide’ refers to the Domesday Book assessing it at a value of thirty hides, with a ‘hide’ being the historic amount of land needed to support one family and its dependants.

Ryme Intrenseca

Ryme Intrinseca is a quaint rural village with an especially unusual name! It is thought take its first part from the Manor of Ryme, with ‘Ryme’ from the Old English rima, meaning an ‘edge’ or a ‘border’. This usually refers to natural features rather than any district border, and in this case it is thought to be the nearby row of hills. The affix is the Latin for 'inner', meaning this village lies within the bounds of the Manor of Ryme.

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