Balham Grove, SW12

Place Name

Hard to imagine with all the development, but at least until the mid-19thCentury this road led to an orchard, situated where Verran Road stands today. The road itself is named after the local area. John Field in his study Place Names of Greater London speculates that the name could come from one of two sources, either meaning a riverside pasture belonging to a Saxon called Bealga, who built his settlement alongside Stane Street (today’s Balham High Road), the great Roman superhighway which ran from Chichester to London, or a “rounded riverside pasture”. The Anglo-Saxon word Hamm often meant land within the bend of a river. It was first mentioned as Bœlgenham in AD957 in the Anglo Saxon charters, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 it was recorded as Belgeham, and by 1472 it was recorded as Balam.


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