Teynham Name

Extracted from Elizabeth Selby's 'Teynham Manor and Hundred', published by Meresborough Books:

"The origin of the name, Tenham, seems difficult to determine. The earlier charters (798 to 801) and Domesday Monachorum mention it as Teneham, Taenham, Tenaham and Tenham, and it is still pronounced ten ham with an accent on the first syllable. In Domesday Book the name occurs as 'Therham' (probably a clerical error).

Wallenberg suggests an Anglo-Saxon root, tynan, to enclose, followed by the Anglo-Saxon word 'Hamm', a land drained by dykes (Place Names, p. 63).

Ekwall suggests an early owner named Teona, whose name is found in Teonan-hyll in Berkshire (Studies on English Place Names).

Harris, writing in 1719, calls it the 'place of ten houses' (hams).

In any case, the name is ancient and handed down unchanged in pronunciation. The 'y' in Teynham was apparently added by the Roper family.

The following early charters are the first written history I have traced of this Hundred and Manor. They are to be found in Birch's Cartularium: he transcribed them from the 13th century copy in Latin now in the Archbishop's Library at Lambeth."

William Lambarde in 1576 writes "TENHAM, in Saxon tynham, that is, the towne of Ten houses: as Eightam was called of the Eight dwellings there."

It is argued that Elizabeth Prideaux Selby's "Teynham Manor and Hundred" simply summarises the range of possibilities of the origin of the name of which she was aware when she wrote in 1935. Local historian, Dr Arthur Percival of the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre; Faversham and historical advisor to the Faversham website writes:

"There are others which she does not mention and we are at a disadvantage because the new-bible' of Kent place-name etymologies, by Paul Cullen, has not yet appeared. Amazing that there can be so much difficulty about what appears to be such a simple name, but I suspect that it is very simplicity which causes problems.

Harris, responsible for the 'village of ten houses' suggestion, was writing in 1719 and was no etymologist. His derivation makes no sense at all and I'm afraid has to be dismissed, however attached to it the people of Teynham may be.

Apart from anything else, there are no parallels - and one might expect there to be many, as there must have been hundreds of places with ten houses in Anglo-Saxon times. The etymological as it stands in the Faversham Website entry, is possibly correct - The name Teynham [Teneham 798, Therham 1086 (Domesday Book), Taenham, Taeneham, Tenham, Teneham c 1100 (Domesday Monachorum). Possibly 'homestead of a man called Tena' or 'homestead near the stream called Tene'.