Chipping Campden - the meaning of the name

Campden’s early name was Camp-denu, from Saxon Old English  meaning field or enclosure (camp) in the valley (denu). It appears in the early records under various spellings and names:

Campedene 1086 (db), Bradecampedene 1224, Chepyng Campedene 1287. ‘Valley with enclosures’. OE camp + denu. …(Oxford Dictionary of Place Names)

There were three areas of early settlement – Berrington, Westington and Broad Campden.  At the time of the Domesday Book the manor was held by the Earl of Chester, having been the property of King Harold before 1066.  King Henry II gave Campden a Town Charter in about 1175, permitting a weekly market and annual fairs.  It is from that time that the name was changed to Chipping Campden, from an old English word ‘ceping’, meaning ‘market’ and the High Street, with its market square and burgage plots, was developed.


Vicars and clerks would have written people’s names and place names as they sounded when spoken, especially where there was a local accent too;  names were probably not really  formalised in former centuries;  Percy Rushen, the key Campden historian in late 1800s/early 1900s seems to have standardised it into Westington in his book on the History of Chipping Campden.

1600s –  Wessenton, Wesenton, Westenton, Wessengton, Wesington, Wesengton, Westington

1700s – Wessenton,  Wesenton, Wesengton, Wessington, Wesington, Wesstinton

1800s – Wesstington, Westington, Wesington, Wessington

1900s – it seems to be pretty uniform at Westington.

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