The Name of the Village





o   Introduction



o   Early documented examples



o   Early maps showing the name



o   Extracts containing theories



o   summary of opinions


also included below are...

 Street & Road Names                                     House & Farm Names


In 1768 famous historian Philip Morant wrote of Goldhanger in The History and Antiquities of Essex...

“How come this place to be dignified with the fine name of Gold we cannot well conceive”


Morant and many other past and present historians have been intrigued by the name ‘Goldhanger’ and its origins, and various theories have been put forward and over the centuries. The situation is compounded however by the knowledge that the word has been spelt many different ways in the past as the English language developed, which has in part led to some of the speculation as to its origin. With the advent of the internet even more ways to spell the name have been identified, given here in approx. alphabetic order:










Gold Anger

Gold Aungre

Gold hanger

Gold Onger




















Some of these spellings are probably relatively modern typesetting errors and misinterpretations of ancient handwritten scripts, and today Optical Character Recognition(OCR) provides one more source of misinterpretation, for example, there are 26 historical documents held in the Essex Records Office with the name Coldhanger which undoubtedly refer to Goldhanger in Essex.

The position is compounded by the knowledge that there is in fact a hamlet called Coldhanger, which is located in Kent with an address of:  Coldhanger, Seal Chart, Sevenoaks , Kent, TN15 0EJ

Many variants of the spelling do appear to be the original way in which the village name was recorded at the time and there is a similar situation with street, house and farm names. With an increasing number of ancient documents available on the net, it has become valuable to use these variants when searching for new historical information.

(The  Court and newspaper reports  and  Effects of the Reformation  webpages on this site were researched using this technique)

Early references to the village also recognised the long-standing affiliation with Little Totham and joint Lords-of-the-Manor, referring to...

Goldhanger-cum-Totham-Parva (Hugo Verdrun, 1375)

Goldhanger-cum-Lt.Totham - (Sammes era, 1600s)

Goldhanger-cum-Capella de Totham (1600s)

Totham-cum-Goldhanger (1700s)


Here are some early documented examples of the spelling...


In the Doomesday book of 1086 that was written in Latin, Goldhanger was spelt:  Goldhangram and Goldangŕa


These two Doomesday book versions of the name look somewhat like Roman place names. No direct reference to a Roman name for the village has been found, even though many of the surrounding places had Roman names, for example:

Colchester:- Camulodunum

Chelmsford:- Cesaromanearest

Maldon:- Maeldun

Heybridge:- Tidwolditune

Tiptree:- Typpetre

Bradwell:- Othona

Blackwater Estuary:- Idumanum Fluvium

Osea Island:- Uvesia

...and many connections to the Romans within the village, Church, roads, the Creek, archaeological finds, etc. have been identified (search within Goldhanger Past for Romans). If it could be shown that the names Goldhangram and Goldangŕa have a Roman origin, then some of the theories (below) of a Saxon or Viking/Norse origin would become invalid.

This extract from a Beeleigh Abbey document of

1180 written in Latin shows the name spelt as:




In 1650 the Revd. Edward Howes, Rector of St Peters Goldhanger published a book on mathematics. On the title page the name of the village seems to have been spelt Goldaucher. However, the ‘u’ could also be read as ‘n’...

...making the name read: Goldancher or Gold Anchor






An article in the Newcastle Courant newspaper dated 1736

reporting flooding at Goldhanger referred to...

“Gold Onger near Malden in Essex”



and below are four early maps showing the village name as it was recorded at that time...

1544 R.Cavendish map with  ‘Goldanger’

1579 C.Saxton map with  ‘Goldhanger’

1594 J.Norden map with  ‘Goldehanger’

1695 R. Morden map with  ‘Goldanger’


Here is a collection of extracts that contain theories about the origin of the name, presented in approximant chronological order...

In the second half of the 1500s eminent antiquary William Camden identified Goldhanger as  being derived from the name of a Saxon person. His theory was published in The History and Topography of Buckinghamshire in 1862 ...





the Edinburgh Review  of 1860 suggests that the word Gold is derives from a person’s name rather than the metal...

In the 1870s Dr.R.S.Charnock (President of the London Anthropological Society) wrote several letters in Notes & Queries about the origins of the name...


In Notes and Queries also published in the 1870s J.C.Roger (an Essex based antiquarian) put forward a different view...

In Lincolnshire and the Danes, published in 1884 by the Revd. G S Streatfeild, page 291 wrote:

Guld is a reference to the fertility of soil, eg  Guldager”


In Names and their Histories, published in 1896 Isaac Taylor wrote...


In Maldon and the River Blackwater published in 1898, Edward A Fitch wrote of Goldhanger:

. . .still a parish noted for the fertility of its soil, as its names denotes, cf. Dan. Guld

(see Streatfield's Lincolnshire and the Danes p291)  [cf. Dan. = compare with Danish]

Today we know Guldager is a small village in the north of Denmark near Esbjerg and Ribe, with the geographical coordinates of: 55 degrees, 32minutes North, 8 degrees 25 minutes East, and that Guldager is also a quite common surname in Denmark. So Goldhanger could have origins in a small Viking village now in Denmark. Also we know Goldanger (without the ' h') is a small village in the Salzburg region of Austria, near the town of Wagrin.

From the Manchester Guardian of 24th February 1920,  written by James Hilton...


Over the dim hills where gorse was all abloom in February there were villages whose names were as the jingling or bells. Goldhanger, Goldhanger, I said aloud. "I will go to Goldhanger". ... The road swept down amongst the gorse, and the cool salt wind blew in from the shore. I remembered things that had happened over a thousand years ago, and mighty battles that were fought upon these green slopes. Danish galleys had pushed up the estuary at high tide. Danish warriors had staggered across the mud and shingle and hammered their way up the hills. There was no village in those far days...

Time and time again the sunset spilling its glory over the estuary had dazzled the eyes of those Danish warriors as they made one last attempt to fight their way in from the shore, and the brave blood of countless forgotten men had drenched the waving slopes on which the gorse now bloomed. It could not have been until many a score years afterwards that Essex folk began to creep over the ridge and settle in huts by the edge of the river-mouth. They would be poor fisher-folk mostly, and some day they would wake to find their hamlet grown worthy of a name.

But why Goldhanger? Was it a divine accident of a feudal scribe, or did it spring from the soul of an unknown poet of the land?


In a letter published in the Essex Countryside magazine in 1956, local historian Crawshay Frost wrote...

...and in 1962 Crawshay wrote in the East Anglian magazine...


This letter in the Maldon & Burnham Standard in the 1970s comments on the past pronunciation of the ’H’ in Goldhanger and recorded that Mr Crawshay Frost concurred with his view...

In  Goldhanger-an Estuary Village  published in 1977, local historian Maura Benham  indentifies several methods of spelling the village name and an origin is offered...


The Name of the Village

Goldhanger, Goldanger, Goldangra, Goldangre - the name was spelt in many different ways from the Domesday records to the 19th century. Always the first part was 'gold', and this is said to refer to a yellow flower. For the second part there could be two meanings, 'hanger' a hill, or 'anger' grassland (as in Ongar), and the village being set on flat land, the latter is the more likely. As to the yellow flower, this is thought to be the Corn Marigold, giving the name the meaning of grassland where the Corn Marigold grows.

The Corn Marigold is said to have arrived in the British Isles with the Neolithic introduction of agriculture, and there are stories of its name deriving from the brightness of its colour, a gold finer than any other on the farm and so called after the Virgin Mary. By the 12th century it had become such a serious pest that Henry II issued an ordinance against the `Guilde Weed', perhaps the first recorded enactment requiring the destruction of a pernicious plant. Nevertheless it was a plant that had its uses, and Goldhanger people may well have been glad it grew here. Culpeper's Complete Herbal (written in the mid-17th century) notes that it grew in gardens and was good for all kinds of fevers, promoting sweat and being frequently used to drive out smallpox and measles and to help the jaundice. The juice was recommended for sore eyes and to take away warts. John Parkinson in Theatrum Botanicum (1640) refers to Corn Marigold flowers being made into midsummer garlands and hung on houses. By the early 20th century it was described as a troublesome annual weed in corn-fields, and in The Flora of Essex (1974) Stanley Jermyn gives it as `uncommon and decreasing'. But it is a persistent annual in my Goldhanger garden.

So unusual and attractive a name roused some adverse criticism in the 18th century, the Holman MSS (1710-1730) commenting 'What could dignify the place with so fine a name?' and Morant in his History of Essex (1768) writing 'Aungre signifies the Place, but how this come to be dignified with the fine name of Gold, we cannot well conceive.'


In the Goldhanger Historic Settlement Assessment Report Teresa O'Connor for Essex County Council wrote in 2007...

Yet one more credible theory offered locally about 10-years ago is that the name could be derived from Gore-hange. In the Middle English language, Gore meant a small triangular piece of land, as in the Gore Saltings, which is the established name of an area of salt-marsh just east of Goldhanger Creek. Today at low tide it is just shingle, sand and mud flats, but centuries ago it was the location of a decoy pond, Salt pans and fish pits.



Here is a summary of known opinions regarding the origin of the name...

o  there seems to be separate theories about the first and second parts of the name

o  the spelling we know today has been in use for over 1000 years

o  the many other ways it has been spelt would appear to be differing forms of transcription

o  hence the name probably pre-dates the written word and was initially passed on verbally

o  all theories uncovered to-date are from the 1500s onwards

o  for 400 years, the knowledge of the past and the location would have been very limited

o  without the internet many the theorists would not have known of the other theories

o  most agreed that the 2nd part of the word means slope, hillside, grassland, etc

o  one exception is that it is has been said to originated from ‘gold-anchor’, due to the 1650 book

o  the origin of the 1st part ie ‘Gold’ has had very little consensus however:

-  a Saxon or Norse/Scandinavian person’s name

-  from the Saxon/German word for: wold/wald, ie wood, forest

-  named after a local vivid yellow flower: Corn Marigold or Gorse

-  it evolved from the old English word  Gore

o  or it was named after another place: Guldager in Denmark or Goldanger in Austria

back to.. top


Street & road names from the past

in alphabetic order of current name, then previous variants by date

village street maps from the past are here

recent street maps with house numbers are here

Bakers Green

Bakers  in 1483

Bakars & Wood Croft in a Will of 1573

Bakers Farm   Earl of Essex, Indenture, 1590

Bakes in a Will of 1623

Goldhanger Green?  ERO D/DCf T70 in 1788


Bobbet's Hole

Bobbet's Hole has had two locations:  at Bakers Green & Wash Lane (on early maps)

also spelt Bobbit's Hole


Blind Lane

Back Road  (from the 1841 census)


Church Street

The Street (newspapers adverts in the 1870s)

Goldhanger Street (1870 sales poster for The Crickets)


Fish Street 

Mill Lane  (from old postcards)

Mill Street  (from the 1841 census)

The Street (newspapers adverts)

High Street  (from the 1851 census)

Goldhanger Street (newspapers adverts in the 1870s)


Head Street   (in the 1841 census)

High Street  (from ERO 1700s Deeds)

Chaple Street  (from the 1841 census) - as it led to the Chapel at Chappel Farm

Goldhanger Street  (newspaper adverts from the 1700s & 1800s

                                and a postcard in the late 1800s)

Head St. is a name frequently used to indicate the beheadings took place there,

and smugglers were said to be gibbeted in The Square.


Lt Totham Road

Upper Street  (from the 1841 census)


Maldon Road (west) 

Broad Road (Deeds of No 34, Maldon Rd and from ERO 1800s Deeds)


Maldon Road (east) 

The Avenue  (from old postcards)

Tolleshunt D'arcy Road (sales poster for Rectory Cottage in 1906)

D'arcy Road (within living memory & Deeds of Hers-an-Mine)


House & farm names from the past

 in alphabetic order of current name, then previous variants by date

descriptions of historic buildings and farms with maps are here

Apple Leaves  No. 17 head St

16th century or earlier (from ECC 2007 Historic Settlement Assessment: HSA)


Bakers Green - as a farm

Bakers  in 1483  (HSA)

Bakars & Wood Croft in a Will of 1573

Bakers Farm   Earl of Essex, Indenture, 1590

Bakes in a Will of 1623

Goldhanger Green?  ERO D/DCf T70 in 1788


Barrow Marsh Farm

once part of the Barrow Marshes


Bounds Farm

Brands Farm on the 1880 OS map and Fitch's 1898 book

Boundless on Stanley Wilkin documents from the 1930s


Caunterburyes  within Goldhanger Parish in  Henry VIII papers 1543

Caunterberyes   Place name of Essex 1553

Canterberies   ERO D/DVz/359 in 1569

(now Canterbury Farm, Goldhanger Rd, Heybridge)


Charity Farmhouse

The name is derived from its association with charities in the past

Formerly Scotts and Motts Farmhouse. See Scotts and Motts


Chequers Inn

The building existed long before it became an inn, so it would have had another name.

Architectural analysis suggests it was built in the 1500s and could have been a Tudor Hall,

so in this location in The Square it may have been called “The Hall”.

However there are two other contenders for this name: Hall Farm and Falcons Hall


Coach House

Pumphouse shown on the 1730 map

Pumphouse Farm, in deeds to 1760 (ERO D/DBt T3)

Pumphouse Farm in Tithe maps of the 1800s

Pumphouse & Carters Farm in the Kellys of 1899

Became the coach house for the new Rectory in 1851


Cobbs Farm

named after William Cobb in 1222 (HSA)

named after Robert ffreville in 1408 (HSA)

Cobbys alias ffrevylles in 1499 

Cobbes  ERO D/DVz/359 in 1569

Cobbs Croft   ERO D/DR T28/2 in 1643


Falcons Hall

named after the original owner john ffalons or ffawcon in 1346

ffakons in 1445 in The place-names of Essex

ffacones in 1484 in The place-names of Essex

Faulkins Farm on maps of 1730 & 1777

Falcons Hall Farm on 1820s Tithe Awards

The Hall on the 1841 census

Goldhanger Hall in 1848 census and an 1849 advert

Falcons Hall in a newspaper advert on 1891

Falcon Hall on a sales poster in 1920 & 1925

Falcons Hall on a sales poster in 1955


Folly Faunts

Named after Johannis Falefaunt in 1250 in The place-names of Essex

Ffollyfants in 1527

Folyphauntes Manor in Bylegh Abbey lease of 1533

Follyfauntes in Henry VIII letters of 1543

Ffollifauntes in 1540

Fallyfantes ERO D/DVz/359 in 1613

Follyfaunts on Henry VIII documents in 1543

Follyfans in a Will of 1573

Folliphants ERO D/DBs T4 in 1740

Follifaunts by Morant in 1760

Folly Fants on a sales poster in 1813

Follifauntes in 1831

Follyfants in Homes & Gardens of 1939

Follifaunts in 1848 census


Gardeners Farm (See also Vaulty Manor)

Vaulty Wick Marsh, on a 1561 Will (SEAX Monuments)

Fawlty Farm on the 1730 map

Fawlty Farm on the 1777 map

Gardner's on 1820s Tithe Awards

Gardeners Farm on 1838 Tithe map

Gardner's on 1838 Tithe Awards

Gardner's on 1841 census

Gardeners Farm on 1880 OS map


Goldhanger House

The land was once part of Pump House Farm, see The Coach House

The Rectory, Goldhanger   from 1851 to 1947

(there was also a Goldhanger House in Coggeshall) 


Hall Farm

The Hall, also possibly Goldhanger Hall, in newspaper adverts in the 1800s

Joyces on the 1820 Tithe map

Joyces on the 1841 census

Joices Farm in the 1851 Census

Street Farm in Kelly's Directory of 1892 & 1899  (The Old Rectory was also called this)

Hall Farm, advert in 1926


Highams Farm (previously within Goldhanger Parish)

Named after Thomas Heigham (or Heyham), 1531

Highums Farm ERO D/DVz/359  in 1631

Highlands Farm on the 1838 Tithe map

Highlands Farm on the 1880 OS map

Highams Farm on 1906 map



“lands called Hullings in Goldhanger” referred to in the...

Calendar of Treasury book, Volume 9, 1689-1692

no other references have been found


Joyces Farm, Joyces Chase  (previously within Goldhanger Parish)

named after Robert Joyce in 1353 (HSA)

Joces in 1484 (HSA)


Lauriston Farm (previously within Goldhanger Parish)

Harvies, The Bishop of London's Commissary Court 1578-1588

Harveys Farm on the 1838 Tithe map

Harvies Farm 1846 advert in The Times, leased to J Boys

Harveys Farm on a 1924 OS map

Lauriston was named after a Mr Laurie who owned the farm in the early 1900s


The Limes, South side of Head St  (named this from about 1910)

Marriners - Maura Benham refers to deeds in 1746 and 1758 with these names

Crabtree House continuing until 1894

Levers in 1857


Longwick Farm

Long Wyke in Henry VIII letters of 1543

Grange of Langwyke  ERO D/DVz/359 in 1569

Langewich in ERO  D/P 240/1/3  of 1598

Langewich in ERO  ERO D/P 240/1/3 in 1647

Long Wick Farm in the 1820 Tithe Awards

Longwicke Farm 1906 sales


Mill House

Sillids and Silliers referred to deeds in 1743, 1764 (Maura Benham)


Lavender Cottage - 6 Church St

Originally called Lavender Cottage but re-named Tayspills by Maura Benham

after one of her famous relatives

it reverted to Lavender Cottage with a change of ownership

as this name has always been pargetted over the front door


Little London Farm

Named after John de London (or Lundon) in 1418  (HSA)

Loughes, The history and antiquities of the county of Essex: Volume 2, P Morant

(A lough is: a lake, a fjord, estuary, bay or sea inlet - from Wikipedia)

Longs or Londons in a charities document of 1740

Little London Farm in the 1820 Tithe Awards

Little Londons on the 1841 census


Old Parsonage on North side of Head St

The Limes before 1910

The Parsonage from 1910 until the last curate departed in the 1960s


Old Rectory

The Rectory, the 1700s and much earlier (could go back to the origins of the Church)

Glebe, Parsonage House, 1820s and 1838 Tithe Awards

The Glebe, Crockfords Clerical Directory, 1868

Church Farm

Street Farm in 1906 sales brochure (Hall Farm was also called this)

Rectory Farm, newspaper article in 1922

Old Rectory Fruit Farm, newspaper article in 1934



The most recent building used by an incumbent Rector in Church St

a detached house between Lavender Cottage and Goldhanger House

The Rector has not lived in Goldhanger since 2001

although the house name has not been changed


Scotts and Motts

Scotts and Motts ERO D/DHt T325/1  in 1569

Scottis, property of John Scott in 1599 (ERO Q/SR 148/125)

Scotts (the house) and Motts (the land)  ERO D/DHt T354/1  in 1626 (HSA)

Motts and Scotts, alias Westwoods, in Goldhangre (P. Morant, 1768)

Scotts and Motts on the 1820 & 1841 Tithe maps, & The people's history of Essex, 1861

Now Charity Farmhouse and cottage. See Charity Farmhouse


Vaulty Manor  (see also Gardeners Farm)

Fawlty in 1538 in  The Reformation in Essex to The Death Of Mary

Fauty ERO D/DBe T14  in 1565

Faity, in the 15th year of Elizabeth II reign (1573)

Faltey in Henry VIII's  Roll 28, Monasterium Bileigh

Faltie alias Pawtie,  ERO deed and Marriage settlement D/DR T28/2 of 1643

Vantie alias Faltie ERO deeds  D/DR T28/3 in 1677

Falty, Ravens Croft, Ravens Marshes, Pipers & Pipers Marsh  ERO deeds D/DR T28/6 of 1709

Fawlty in 1811 in Excursions in the County of Essex

Jehews Farm in the 1820 Tithe Awards

Jehurs Farm, in 1841 census

Vaulty's or Jehu's 1834 newspaper advert

Jehurs Farm on the 1880 OS map


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