No hemp in Hempstead?

The editor of The Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names has clarified which English place names are truly named after hemp. In a letter to the editor of the UK Observer, AD Mills claims that most of the places in Britain called Hampstead or Hempstead were not named after the cultivation of hemp. Instead, Mills explains that the Old English spellings of these names shows that most actually derive from “hamstede”, meaning “a homestead or site of a dwelling.”
However, Mills acknowledged that “the Hempstead in Norfolk” did derive from the Old English haenep (hemp) and stede (place). Also, he conceded that many other English place names, like Hemperoft, Hemplands, Hempacres, Hempfield and Hemphill, are all indeed named after our favourite crop.



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