The first mention of the area Ken Wood, after which is this street is named, came in 1543 as Canewood. Within a century this had mutated into Caen Wood before settling on Ken Wood in 1741. However one of London’s leading place name experts says the original meaning has been lost: “Forms suggesting an association with Caen [a region in Normandy] do not occur until the seventeenth century, and a derivation from the surname Kentwode is not supported by any early spellings of the place-name”. David Mills in A Dictionary of London Place Names says it could possibly mean the wood of the canons because it belonged to the Prior of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, a house of Augustinian canons. The later spelling of Caen Wood, he suggests, was influenced by the French place name.
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