After my expedition to Acle today (OK, it’s not exactly the remote hinterlands of Europe, but everything is relative at the moment), this is what The Concise Oxford Dictionary Of English Placenames have to say about the name origin of the town.
Acle, Norfolk. Acle in Domesday Book, Achelai in 1159, Acleda in 1186, Aclee in 1197. From Old English Acleah meaning oak wood.
This sounds an easy one for the dictionary, which is clear that Acle, and other settlements which are spelled Oakley, come from the old English word for an ‘oak wood’. Others define it as oak-lea, ie, a cleared settlement or meadow by the oak trees. Either way, Acle’s history is based around oak….
Incidentally, the Woodland Trust have a tree register at http://woodlandtrust.org.uk/, with two ancient oaks listed nearby to Acle. There are some oak trees in the UK which are older than 1,000 years old, it would have been quite appealing to have had one of that age near Acle still standing. But there isn’t, but there we go, can’t have everything…..