Notting Hill Gate, W8

Place Name

The origins of Notting Hill’s name have never been definitively traced although it dates back several centuries. Some believe it may be from an Anglo-Saxon personal name such as Cnotta, with the ing being the Old English word for people – so Cnotta’s people or estate.  In 1356 it was recorded as Knottynghull mutating into Notynghyll by 1550. The gate was the turnpike by Notting Hill situated very near today’s Underground station it was removed in 1864 when an Act of Parliament abolished tolls for traffic using the road. In the 17thCentury the area was known as The Gravel Pits, recorded as The Gravilpits in 1654 and Kinsington Grauill Pittes in 1675. John Field in Place Names of Greater London says that Notting Hill probably means hill occupied by the Knotting family: “The surname being derived from the place in Bedfordshire.” While David Mills in a Dictionary of London Place Names offers another suggestion: “Knottyng might be an old hill name formed from Old English cotta ‘knot, lump’.” This, says Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names makes sense, “since the hill, formerly considerably higher and rising prominently from the Middlesex Plain, was the only geographical feature distinctive enough to serve as a label for the place.”


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