Saturday, 24 March 2007

What's in a name?

Have you ever wondered where the name "East Malling" originated? I expect not. But to be fair nor did I until I found myself in West Malling library today (I don't normally spend a Saturday afternoon in libraries, but it is cold and miserable outside).

According to The Place Names of Kent (Glover: 1976), Malling derived its name from a tribe settlement in 942 called Mealla's people. East Malling appears to be the original settlement of this tribe, as a "charter dated 942-6 refers to....[the] boundary of the East Meallingas" (p.124). This is particularly interesting as it infers that East Malling originally had the "Malling" name because of the settlement and, therefore, West Malling must have derived its name because of the westerly proximity it has to East Malling. However, the same tribe also settled at South Malling in Sussex. According to the BBC's Kent Place Names page the records of the settlement are slightly earlier (838) and therefore it is possible and likely that they settled in Sussex before East Malling.

A search of the Meanings of Domesday Place-names of Sudsexe (Sussex) reveals that (in relation to South Malling) the '-ingas' in 'Meallingas' refers to "tribe, people" and therefore 'Mealla' could have been the leader of the tribe.

The Place Names of Kent also charts the evolution of the name from 'Meallingas' to 'Malling': Meallingas 942 - Meallingan c.1060 - Metlinges, Mellingetes 1086 - Mallinges 1187 - Mauling 1217 - Malling 1610.

If you know the history of any of the street names in East Malling, please let me know.


Anonymous said...

HELLO AGAIN. Re Place Names. Chapel Street came , naturally, from the Chapel, the first building on the right after the railway bridge, as you travelled up hill towards the village school.

Rocks Road (called The Rocks), when I was born there in 1929. It refers to a huge outcrop of rocks on the left hand side of the road, about halfway up the hill, almost opposite the Prince of Wales pub, and downhill from the Rock Tavern., Gypsies used to bring their caravans there each year for the cherry picking. At one time, a pair of wooden cottages were built on the rocks, accessed via a flight of large steps.

Mill Street came from the paper mill which was behind Peacock Row, the corn mill which was opposite the corner where the stream flows under the road, and the other mill which eventually became a Cider Factory.

The Heath, because at one time that whole area was heathland.

Well street, from the large well which at one time was near the watercress beds at Spring Hill.

Hope this may help. Godfrey, now in Blean near Canterbury.

Anonymous said...

hi does any one know anything about any Baker family in east malling my great grandfather was ebenezer william baker who lived in capel street,thanks.

Anonymous said...

Doeas anyone remember or know anything about a relative I am researching - Arthur Morel Massee (b Kew, 1899 d. Kent, 1967) and his wife, Mona nee Gillman (1903 d Chippenham 1984). They lived at Acarina, ROcks Road, East Malling from the 1930s until his death and mona may have lived there after Arthur died. He was an eminent entomologist and an expert on insects in Kent. His father was George Massee, a Kew botanist & fungi expert, and his mother, Emily Jane, nee Aldridge, was my grandfather's cousin.. Did Arthur have any children?
Any information gratefully received

Kimberly said...

hello friends I really liked this information, a few days ago I read something similar on a site called wound infections, I would like to receive updates on this issue, as it is very interesting, thanks!

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous asking about Dr & Mrs. Massee of East Malling. My mother worked for the Massees for most of her life as their housekeeper. They did live at Acarina in Easterfields originally,(a beautiful house with lovely grounds)and they moved to a bungalow which they had built, also called Acarina. on the Rocks Road as you have found out. I guess this was around the early 60,s.
I remember going to the Massees with my mum during the school holidays,I was always fascinated by the collection of all kinds of insects, mainly beetles from all over the world. Dr. Massee was quite a famous entomologist, and on his death a lot of his collection went to the Natural History Museum in London i believe. I can tell you a little more of their family history if you would like to know any more. Please send a message via this website or to me at

Unknown said...

Where did bone alley get it's name from?