The name first appears as ryver of Hamose in 1588 and it originally most likely applied just to a creek of the estuary that led up to the manor of Ham, north of the present-day Devonport Dockyard. The name evidently later came to be used for the estuary's main channel. The ose element derives from Old English wāse meaning 'mud' (as in 'ooze') – the creek consisting of mud-banks at low tide.
The Hamoaze flows past Devonport Dockyard, which belongs to the Royal Navy. The presence of large numbers of small watercraft are a challenge and hazard to the warships using the naval base and dockyard.
- Gover, J.E.B., Mawer, A. & Stenton, F.M (1931). "The Place-Names of Devon". English Place-Name Society. Vol viii. Part I. (Cambridge University Press): 20.
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