Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Found a copy of The Place Names of Middlesex by J.E.B. Glover (1922) in a charity shop yesterday for 50p. Interesting and fairly substantial entry on the origins of the name Harringay and how it somehow in the past morphed into Hornsey

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I think we should use the first ever spelling and pronounce it to rhyme with meringue 

There was an old maid of Haringue,

On a Ladder that rhymes with meringue,

Thought she'd toss in a rhyme,

of names changing through time,

to HoLs Harringay, Hornsey, harangue.


That would set the cat among the pigeons, Michael. Imagine what fun the tabloids would have with a Haringey with a  name that could be conjured into all sorts of new things.

In fact, the oldest recorded form comes from 1195 and is Harenhg.

Madge convincingly established that the ending of our place name is derived from Old English hege which in Middle English became hey(e), heie and hay(e).

He explains that in Old English the 'g' would have been pronounced as 'y'.  So the change here in spelling is more dramatic than the one in pronunciation.

Harenhg is formed of two parts - 'Haren' and 'hg' (the latter representing OE 'hege'). Try pronouncing the two together using a 'y' sound for the 'g' and you'll hear the name of Haering as well as the sound of the two modern usages of Hornsey and Harringay/Haringey. The sound of Hornsey comes our the strongest if you allow for the old Middlesex accent.)

Below are the four pages of Madge's Appendix, listing the 162 recorded forms he found of Haringey/Harringay/ Hornsey along with the references showing where he found them. Below that is a table from the book showing the frequency with which each of the form groups was found in a written form.  

Madge doesn't support Glover's Meringue theory! (Do you know what his 'F.F.' abbreviation indicates?)

FF is A Calendar of the Feet of Fines in London and Middlesex.  2 volumes edited by Hardy and Page.  Published London 1892-1898.  I’m rather shocked that you don’t have a copy on your bookshelves Hugh

You think there's room!

Anyway, thanks to British History Online, we can view the complete series of Feet of Fines books online, which gives more than you or most other people will care about. But, for the record, I'll mention what I found.

Consulting the early medieval volume, I can see that the only mention of Haringue is as part of a name of Edwin de Haringue.

Robert, son of Bernard, and Henry de Bedfunt. Henry gives to Robert a quarter of 20 acres of land in Stebenei*, in exchange for the capital messuage of Bernard, his father, with the vivary, and the land called Winheard (?), Estfeld, Sortland, 4 acres in the field called Sudhdon, the lands called Rugecroft, and Nieweland, with the pool and field called Alftonesland, the fields called Petitewurth and Granwurth, lands called Langefen' and Long Pre (except half-an-acre), the services of Roger Hurscarl', Robert son of Robert de Pinkeni, Thomas, son of Alexander, Henry (?) son of Robert, Richard de Caulestoke, Matilda daughter of Bernard, Hugh son of Warine, Walter son of Bernard, Edwin de Haringue, Alice widow of Brunig' and Roger Faierloc' with their tenements; also 4 acres which Roger Horloc' held with the messuage. The said Robert retains to his use of the said quarter of 20 acres of land, the messuage which was of Edmund, son of Alured, and other land in Edrichesmad', upon Suthdon, and in Longo Prato, Fridaldre, and Niewland. Anno 2.

The Feet of Fines records are useful for historians because they relate to lawsuits over land and can help with place identification. In the instance of the single use of Haringue in all the volumes of FF records, even though it suggests that it may refer to a place name, the name is personal and not clearly related to an identifiable place. Madge does actually mention Haringue in another appendix: he explains its use, or misue, as a being a transcription error. But who knows. Madge wasn't perfect, I'm sure. Perhpas Haringue should replace Haringeie as the second oldest form!

*Stebenei is an ancient form of Stepney

I do find the morph into Hornsey a bit of a stretch. Do you agree? Is it not possible, as some early maps suggest that there were two houses of note - Haringey House and Hornsey? And hare and horn have different animal origins.

Not really. When I read those two parts it sounds to me like Harn-hey: all it lacks is the s.

As to the origins, I’m convinced that there’s a single origin and that animals don’t come into it at all. 



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