Institute for Name-Studies

Key to English Place-Names (KEPN)

From here you can access the interactive KEPN resource, which provides a comprehensive guide to the interpretation of the names of England's cities, towns, and villages.


The Key gives the meaning, etymology, and location of a place-name.



The KEPN project was initially developed in 2004-2005, and was generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The resource consists of a searchable database accessed through a clickable map and associated dialogue boxes. This database draws on the work of the EPNS and other INS researchers and in 2012 it was re-launched with a user-friendly Google maps interface. Visit the KEPN now to discover the origins and meanings of hundreds of English place‑names!

Using KEPN

You can use the KEPN to search for a particular place-name, or to browse through the names of a particular county. It will provide you with a meaning of the place-name as well as a break-down of the different parts of the name (its 'elements') and the language(s) of those elements.

KEPN on your smartphone

KEPN is now available as a free mobile app for iPhone users. Visit the Apple store now to download, free of charge, your very own portable version of our Key to English Place-names.

We are currently working on developing an Android version, which we hope to release soon.

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School of English

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

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