The Name Mortlake

The Domesday Survey of 1086 refers to Mortlake as Mortelage. The name could have originated from the Old English: mort meaning a young salmon and lacu a small stream. In the early 11th century there was a fishery in Mortlake which belonged to Earl Harold. The village could therefore have derived its name from its association with fish farming from the 10th century or earlier.

It is sometimes suggested that the name Mortlake is derived from mortuus lacus, or dead lake. It was said that people who died in the Black Death were buried there. The Black Death arrived in England long after Mortelage was named in the Domesday Survey and its definition as a plague pit could therefore not be the source of its name.