Catalogue description Ordnance Survey: Directorate of Field Survey: Original Name Books

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Details of OS 34
Reference: OS 34
Title: Ordnance Survey: Directorate of Field Survey: Original Name Books

The documents in this series consist of folders containing information on geographical features, villages, hamlets and individual buildings (often with names of owner or occupier) within each parish, including place names and the authority for their spelling. They comprise the earliest surviving record of place names in England and Wales collected by the Ordnance Survey.

Only books relating to the counties of Cumberland, Durham, Hampshire (the Isle of Wight only), Northumberland and Westmorland survived enemy action in 1940.

Date: 1853-1866

The information is arranged, in table form, under the following headings:

  • List of names
  • Various modes of spelling the same name
  • Authority for the modes of spelling
  • Situation
  • Descriptive remarks or other general observations

Most of the books are indexed. Information recorded from a single parish often fills more than one book: where this has occurred each book has been allocated a separate piece number. Conversely, many volumes relate to an area wider than that of the parish named in the catalogue: parishes not named in the catalogue should be sought in volumes relating to adjoining parishes.

Separated material:

A separate series of original name books for Scotland is held at the National Records of Scotland under the reference OS1

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 469 volume(s)
Access conditions: Open
Administrative / biographical background:

The Ordnance Survey has always assumed responsibility for deciding what place names are to appear on its maps and how they should be spelt. Apart from certain administrative names which follow the spelling of the Act of Parliament by which they were created, there is no national body in the United Kingdom responsible for the naming and spelling of places which appear on official maps or other documents.

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