Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Learden Upper, County Tyrone

Origin

 

perhaps Ir. Leathardán 'half-height' + E. Upper

Background

Niall Comer, in his discussion of another Learden in Co. Derry explains the name as deriving from Leath-Ardán ‘One of Two Heights’, and proposes possible links with mounds in the townland.

 

However, a prominent fork in the Owenkillew river to the south of Learden Lower suggests a possible derivation containing the root element ladhar gap', which, in place-names can refer to a natural fork or promontory, or the land between two converging rivers or hills (Dinneen). We might propose an original form such as Ladharan 'place of the fork' that has emerged with [d] due to analogy with Learden in Co. Derry. However, the prominence of -t- and -d- in the 17th century forms casts doubt on such a derivation.

 

It might be the case that the silent [d] in a diminutive form such as ladarán 'little fork' has become voiced erroneously, and the subsequent emergence of the anglicised form Learden, although such as suggestion is rather speculative, and must be treated with caution.

 

Townlands named Lahardan in Cos Clare, Sligo and Waterford are said to derive from Leathardán 'half-height' (logainm.ie), and we must assume that this is the most likelt origin of the name, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.

 

There is a sequence of peaks that straddle the contiguous townlands of Learden Upper and Learden Lower (OSNI), that might bear some relation to the name.

References

FK (2020)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
(?)Laorton al Leaghbarden 1 b''bo cont pcells>[102?1633Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $40 Car I e
Leardan1655cCiv. Surv. 376
Leardan1666HMR Tyr. (2) 265
Lardin ""between Hills or ...?1830cOgilby, A. C36
Leardan, Upper and Lower1830cOSNB: gen. sources C36
Leath ardán ""half hill""1833cJ O'D (OSNB) C36
ladhar donn - The brown fork or hollow1920cTNCT 69
Barony
Strabane Upper
Parish
Bodoney Upper
Parish in 1851
Bodoney Upper
Townland
None
Place name ID
4039
Place name type
T