Huthwaite Name Origins

alias Hucknall Huthwaite - Dirty Hucknall - Hucknall-under-Huthwaite

Explaining how Huthwaite acquired its name had always raised several confusing issues. Many continually echo beliefs that the original settlement here was fully called either Hucknall-under-Huthwaite or Hucknall Huthwaite. That was however based on the evidence of finding the area commly called Wrong as that easily proves, such well quoted understandings gained basis upon dated works of local scholars first offering accepted explanations after exposing varying Hucknall associations.   Meeting just this first of many related misunderstandings so readily passed down over the years, the following pages will hopefully help supportively clarify all other tied conflicting beliefs between past presumptions. Only when finally able to overcome all those persistent arguments can serious attempts be made collating a somewhat broader understanding and a much stronger basis in presenting clearer updated coverage into our village history.

Shared interest about our local history started into the 20th century. This then flourishing mining community called Hucknall-under-Huthwaite invited new workers, perhaps baffled by taunts at living in Dirty Hucknall. Wider confusions remained between nearby areas claiming similar historic references at Hucknall Torkard and Ault Hucknall. Researchers offered residents suitable answers behind Hucknall Huthwaite origins, but they had also uncovered earliest known finds quoted below identifying this area once being simply called Huthwaite. Supported by this information our own Town Council officially renamed Huthwaite in year 1907.

The Descriptive Meaning

Earliest recorded spellings for best deducing translations are first claimed finding Hodweit dated 1199. Slight variations long remain common when simply indicating years of poorer literacy, interpreted through localised dialect changes and a general lack of written or surviving records. But documented evidence confirms a 13th century settlement was well established, as spelling evolves through 1208 Hothweit into Hothweyt and Howthwaite.

Majority of Old English place names do appear formed with some compound descriptive meaning. They frequently contain two identifying elements, often with a specific topographical subject and an additional adjective reference as used to uniquely identify this locality.   We today pronounce Huthwaite as Huth + wait, although original translations suggest composition would have better suited Hu + thwaite. This combination most aptly describes how the place named Huthwaite firstly recognised this siting of a:-

settlement in a forest clearing upon a high hill spur

Viewing the Huthwaite Landmark
Translating Huthwaite from its Old English spelling

the prefix Hu can be derived from Ho, Hod or Hoh.
Of Anglo-Saxon origin describing topography of a
high hill or ridge, steep bank or spur of land.

the suffix thwaite is commonly derived from thveit
showing later Viking origins it loosely describes a
meadow, glade or clearing when sited among a forest.

That topographical feature initially identifying Huthwaite still dominates the local landscape. Its steep sided land spur later gained more precise addressing upon Strawberry Bank. This natural summit was unique in being firstly recorded as measuring the highest point in Nottinghamshire. Claims today may well be disputed following residential landscaping plus borderline changes, but way back when the whole Midlands region largely remained covered by wild forests, its prominent landmark clearing afforded a highly recognisable settlement.

Names exposing earlier Saxon origins are found among neighbouring areas, alongside which later Viking invaders eventually settled. Portraying warring ferocity historically realises they ultimately came seeking fertile lands for establishing farms. Their combined tongues naming Huthwaite may well indicate how they peacefully mixed, spreading rural English populations inland before being united under one kingdom. The following Norman Conquest left less significant changes, but their documented administrations did at least start presenting a little neighbouring history. No mention in King Williams infamous Domesday survey however, even too our enclosing ancient parish town of Sutton-in-Ashfield, when this whole area fell under direct rule from the oldest principal Mansfield manor town.

Found among those surviving local courts records comes earliest references to Huthwaite, appearing infrequently when mainly settling a few residential grievances. Additional Sutton parish accounts then continue long favouring an established Huthwaite addressing. Both ruling neighbours did over centuries adopt more frequent Hucknall alternatives. A previously unexplainable transition seemingly more easily denied by those who supported an original jointly named Hucknall Huthwaite settlement. My research did realise however that these dated variations were also reflected among higher county court records. Although this quiet remote township gained no major importance, the crown did hold a vested regional interest, which afforded heavy protection by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Bordering and lay inside the infamous Sherwood Forest, land assertion and disputes found how highest courts classified this area Dirty Hucknall.


Written 07 May 03 Revised 03 Jun 09 © by Gary Elliott