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Thorp is a Middle English word for a hamlet or small village.


The name can either come from Old Norse þorp (also thorp),[1] or from Old English (Anglo-Saxon) þrop.[2] There are many place names in England with the suffix "-thorp" or "-thorpe". Those of Old Norse origin are to be found in Northumberland, County Durham, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Those of Anglo-Saxon origin are to be found in southern England from Worcestershire to Surrey. Care must be taken to distinguish the two forms. Variations of the Anglo-Saxon suffix are "-throp", "-thrope", "-trop" and "-trip" (e.g. Adlestrop and Southrope).[2]

Old English (Anglo-Saxon) þrop is cognate with Low-Saxon trup/trop/drup/drop as in Handrup or Waltrop, Frisian terp, German torp or dorf as in Düsseldorf, the 'Village of the river Düssel', and Dutch dorp.[3]

It also appears in Lorraine place-names as -troff such as Grosbliederstroff (France) in front of Kleinblittersdorf (Germany). It sometimes occurs in Normandy as Torp(s) / Tourp(s) / -tourp or even -tour, for instance : le Torp-Mesnil, le Tourp, Clitourps or Saussetour (Manche, Sauxetorp end 12th century, like Saustrup, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, former Saxtorppe and Saxtorf, former Saxtorpe 1538 idem, and Saxthorpe in Norfolk, England), all from Old Norse[4] or Old English.


Thorps often appear in roleplaying games as the smallest form of permanent habitation. Thorps in Dungeons and Dragons are defined as having between 20-80 people while those in Pathfinder have 20 or fewer.[5] Hamlets, in these games, are the next most populous having 81-400 or 21-60 people in the respective games.


  1. ^ Caroline Taggart (8 June 2011). The Book of English Place Names: How Our Towns and Villages Got Their Names. Ebury Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-4090-3498-8.
  2. ^ a b Reaney, P. H. (1980). The Origin of English Place-Names. Routledge and Kegan Paul. pp. 172–174.
  3. ^ "thorp." In Oxford Dictionary of English, edited by Stevenson, Angus. : Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-19-957112-3
  4. ^ Jean Renaud, Vikings et noms de lieux de Normandie. Dictionnaire des toponymes d'origine scandinave en Normandie, éditions OREP, 2009
  5. ^

See also[edit]