Balham High Road, SW17

Place Name

Originally plain Balham Road, this follows Stane Street, the great Roman superhighway which ran from Chichester to London. 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, 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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