by Frank E Earp
There is still a an unresolved mystery concerning the origination of the name ‘Strelley’. The first spelling, ‘Straleia’, is of Anglo Saxon origin and like so many other place names is descriptive of the original settlement site.
The two syllables of the name ‘Stra’ and ‘Leia’ are derived from two separate names. ‘Ley-‘Leia’, is a common suffix to English place names, and is usually interpreted as meaning a ‘forest or woodland clearing’, from the Old English ‘Leah’. The prefix ‘Stra’ is less common and is derived from a Latin root word ‘streat’, which has giving English words like ‘Strata’ and more importantly ‘Street’. Where it appears as a place name, it is interpreted as referring to the presence of a paved road, more specifically a Roman road.
The name therefore translates as ‘the clearing on or near a Roman road’. However there appears to be no Roman roads hereabouts, and as we will see, sometimes, the prefix ‘Stra’ seems to indicate an ‘unmade road’, an ancient trackway rather than the conventional Roman road. It is possible that it was left by the ‘native Britons’ and used at a later date by the Romans, but some, no means all of these ancient highways became ‘paved’ Roman roads.
The origin and the meaning of the name Strelley (the clearing by or on the road), is confirmed by the names of a number of villages. Although their modern names may now differ slightly from each other, the earliest spelling (Domesday Book, 1086), can be compared directly with that of Strelley- ‘Straleia’.
The examples are; Streetley in Warwickshire, which on the Roman road Ryknild Street. Streeat- Streat in Dorset, on a minor (unnamed) Roman road. Streatley- Straillei in Bedfordshire, and Streatly- Estraslei in Berkshire, which are both close to historic trackways, the Ikneild Way and the Ridgeway.
The Doomsday names of the last two villages, which are both of prehistoric tracks and not conventional roads, are linguistically, identical to that of the Nottinghamshire Strelley.
It would seem that the correct translation of the name Strelley is ‘the clearing on or near a road or track associated with the Romans.