The Placename: Scrooby

Graham Robbins

Scrooby as a place-name can be found in historical documents from the Domesday Book of 1086 onward. The spelling of the placename was not constant or fixed; the documents have slightly differing forms of the name:

1086Domesday BookScrobi
1185Pipe RollsScrobi
1225Registers of the Archbishops of YorkScroby
1267Calendar of Patent RollsSkroby
1280Assize RollsScrobby
1527Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic of Henry VIIIScorby
1557Wills and InventoriesScruby
1582Feet of FinesScrowbye
1593Wills and InventoriesSkrowbe
1601Wills and InventoriesScrooby & Scroobye

However it was written down, the placename is formed from a personal name and the -by ending. This is a Scandinavian village name originating in the Ninth Century AD, when Nottinghamshire, and the wider East coast of the Midlands, had close links with Danish and Scandinavian people. Scrooby is one of 21 -by place names in Nottinghamshire. The ending is also common in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.

Gover, Mawer and Stenton, who wrote The English Place-Name Society's book The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire suggest that there may be an even earlier form of the place-name. A Saxon document of 1044 refers to Scroppen Thorpe. This place was at least very close to the later Scrooby, and the two may well be identical. Like the -by names, Scroppen Thorpe is formed from a personal name and a Danish word, 'thorpe', meaning settlement. Skroppa was a women's name in Icelandic, and Skropi was an man's name in Old Norse. It is not clear which particular name is fossilised in Scrooby.

The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire states that "we must be content to take Scrooby as a by-name with a personal name as the first element, and attempt no further definition." (page 97). In either case (-by or -thorpe) the place-name is composed of a Danish name and a Danish word meaning settlement; i.e. it is all Danish.

In the introduction to The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire the authors point to "the remarkable group of names in by in the angle formed by the Maun and the Idle - Thoresby, Budby, Bilby, Ranby, Serlby, Barnby Moor, Scrooby". They contrast the sandy forested areas of north west Nottinghamshire, where these pure Danish names occur with the eastern Trent Valley areas where English and hybrid English-Scandinavian names (like -ton names) occur more often. The frequency of 'new' Danish names, with little residual older names, may imply that the sandy forested areas were very sparsely settled before the Ninth Century.


Gover, J E B, Mawer, A and Stenton, F M 1940 The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire London: Cambridge University Press English Place-Name Society Volume XVII.