The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Investigate the Origin of Place Names

In this worksheet, students investigate the historical meaning of common place names in the UK.

'Investigate the Origin of Place Names' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   English

Curriculum subtopic:   Spelling: Prefixes & Suffixes

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Many place names in the UK have similar prefixes or suffixes, such as -ham, Aber- or -borough, and knowing what these mean can give us clues about the history of the place itself.

for example:

The suffixes -borough and -bury come from an old English word for a fortified town or castle.

Peterborough

Canterbury

Sometimes the spelling is slightly different, as in Edinburgh or Middlesbrough.

 

This worksheet investigates the origins of many different place names. You may find an atlas useful if you have one.

The suffixes -chester, -cester and -caster all come from Roman times and show that the place was once a Roman fort or town.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

Column A

Column B

Manchester
a city in the west of England near the River Sever...
Colchester
a city in northwestern England with two famous foo...
Gloucester
A town in Essex made famous by Boudicca\'s rebelli...
Doncaster
a town with a racecourse in South Yorkshire

The suffix -ham comes from the Old English word for home or village, although many places with names ending in -ham have since grown to become big cities.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

Column A

Column B

Birmingham
a cathedral city in northeastern England
Nottingham
a city in the East Midlands made famous by Robin H...
Durham
Britain\'s second biggest city
Oldham
a town near to Manchester

The suffix -by comes from the Viking word for a village. It is more common in eastern England as this was where the Vikings settled.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

Column A

Column B

Whitby
A fishing port on the Humber Estuary
Derby
a seaside town in NorthYorkshire with links to the...
Grimsby
a city in the East Midlands

The suffix -ton comes from an Anglo-Saxon word for a farm or small village, but again, many places with this ending have grown into big cities.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

Column A

Column B

Brighton
a town in northwestern England known for its rugby...
Wolverhampton
a city in the West Midlands
Warrington
a holiday town on the south coast of England

The suffix -ford comes from an Old English word meaning a river crossing.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

Column A

Column B

Oxford
a town in Surrey
Guildford
a city with an ancient university
Bradford
a city in West Yorkshire famous for producing wool

The prefixes Aber- and Inver- both come from Celtic words and are given to places on the mouths of rivers. Aber- is more common in Wales, while place names beginning with Inver- are more common in Scotland.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

Column A

Column B

Aberdeen
a town on the coast of Wales
Abertawe
a city in South Wales known as Swansea in English
Inverness
a city in northeastern Scotland
Aberystwyth
a town in northern Scotland on the mouth of the Ri...

Choose the correct suffix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Scar + Old English suffix meaning 'fortified town or castle'

 

(a town on the Yorkshire coast)

Choose the correct suffix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Lan + suffix meaning 'Roman fort or town'

 

(a town in northwestern England)

Choose the correct suffix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Chelms + suffix meaning 'river crossing' in Old English

 

(a town in Essex)

Choose the correct prefix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Prefix meaning 'mouth of the river' in Celtic + gavenny

 

(a town in southern Wales)

  • Question 1

The suffixes -chester, -cester and -caster all come from Roman times and show that the place was once a Roman fort or town.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Manchester
a city in northwestern England wi...
Colchester
A town in Essex made famous by Bo...
Gloucester
a city in the west of England nea...
Doncaster
a town with a racecourse in South...
  • Question 2

The suffix -ham comes from the Old English word for home or village, although many places with names ending in -ham have since grown to become big cities.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Birmingham
Britain\'s second biggest city
Nottingham
a city in the East Midlands made ...
Durham
a cathedral city in northeastern ...
Oldham
a town near to Manchester
  • Question 3

The suffix -by comes from the Viking word for a village. It is more common in eastern England as this was where the Vikings settled.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Whitby
a seaside town in NorthYorkshire ...
Derby
a city in the East Midlands
Grimsby
A fishing port on the Humber Estu...
  • Question 4

The suffix -ton comes from an Anglo-Saxon word for a farm or small village, but again, many places with this ending have grown into big cities.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Brighton
a holiday town on the south coast...
Wolverhampton
a city in the West Midlands
Warrington
a town in northwestern England kn...
  • Question 5

The suffix -ford comes from an Old English word meaning a river crossing.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Oxford
a city with an ancient university
Guildford
a town in Surrey
Bradford
a city in West Yorkshire famous f...
  • Question 6

The prefixes Aber- and Inver- both come from Celtic words and are given to places on the mouths of rivers. Aber- is more common in Wales, while place names beginning with Inver- are more common in Scotland.

 

Match up the place names below with their descriptions.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Aberdeen
a city in northeastern Scotland
Abertawe
a city in South Wales known as Sw...
Inverness
a town in northern Scotland on th...
Aberystwyth
a town on the coast of Wales
  • Question 7

Choose the correct suffix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Scar + Old English suffix meaning 'fortified town or castle'

 

(a town on the Yorkshire coast)

CORRECT ANSWER
Scarborough
  • Question 8

Choose the correct suffix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Lan + suffix meaning 'Roman fort or town'

 

(a town in northwestern England)

CORRECT ANSWER
Lancaster
  • Question 9

Choose the correct suffix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Chelms + suffix meaning 'river crossing' in Old English

 

(a town in Essex)

CORRECT ANSWER
Chelmsford
  • Question 10

Choose the correct prefix to complete the name of the town or city described. Write the complete name in the answer box.

 

Prefix meaning 'mouth of the river' in Celtic + gavenny

 

(a town in southern Wales)

CORRECT ANSWER
Abergavenny
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.