I was reminded of the village of Panxworth as I visited it yesterday and I’ve long found its church quite intriguing. It fell into disrepair and was brought back by the Victorians who reconstructed the nave and since then it has been taken down again and just the tower remains.
I still didn’t know where the word Panxworth had come from, but the Concise Oxford Dictionary also struggled to come up with an answer, noting:
Panxworth, Norfolk. [Pancforda in Domesday Book, Pankesford in 1165, Pangeford in 1254] The only old English word with which the first element may be compared is panic, a kind of millet, a Latin loanword. Probably some other form of explanation should be sought.
So, the second half used to make more sense, it was a shallow river crossing, or ford. Although worth is a different meaning, it’s from the Anglo-Saxon ‘worðig’, meaning an enclosure, so the village name must have changed in around the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The word ‘panic’ has a different origin to how it’s used today, it’s from ‘panus’ which means the ‘ear of millet’ in Latin.
I’m not sure I got an answer to the name origins of Panxworth, but it’s probable that Panx was just a person and they’ve named the village after him. But, there’s something nice about it being derived from the word panic.