Cold Brayfield is probably the place named as 'Bragenfelda' in a charter of 967. The elements of the name, 'brain' and 'field' are interpreted to mean 'open country on the crown of a hill'. The village name is later recorded in twelfth- and thirteenth-century charters as 'Brauefeld', 'Brawefeld' or 'Brauufeld', and becomes 'Cold Brayfield' towards the end of the sixteenth century. The prefix 'Cold' is believed to refer to the village's bleak location on the banks of the River Great Ouse, however there is no known record for this.
^Charters of Abingdon Abbey, ed. S.E. Kelly, 2 parts, Anglo-Saxon Charters VIII (British Academy: Oxford, 2001), part 2, no. 106, pp. 419-21
^E. Ekwall, The Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th edition (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1960), p. 59; V. Watts, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2004), p. 82
^Records of Harrold Priory, ed. G. H. Fowler (Bedfordshire Historical Record Society: Aspley Guise, 1935), pp. 46-53