Places Named Piggin



Located in Virginia. Very little is known about Piggen, which is termed "a residential area" in the American Genealogical Gazetteer, State Listings for Virginia (accessible online via It would appear to be a hamlet or the name of an area comprising several homesteads (Google Map). The U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) gives its latitude as 373541N and longitude as 0754315W. Piggen is in the southeast part of Accomack County, north of Old Trower (Google Map) on the Machipongo River, according to the Eastern Shore Gazetteer section for Accomack County. Interactive maps and satellite pictures of Piggen are linked from The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a long remote peninsula that has historically been rather poor. Graves at Piggen have been photographed for a virtual cemetery website. A census map of the Accomack area shows Piggin Road (spelled with an I in the second syllable), but no actual settlement.

Piggin Run

Located in West Virginia. Piggin Run is a stream, and the road running alongside it, in a rugged area (Google Map) of the state. It is located in Doddridge County. The fact that the adjacent creek is called the Riggins Run strongly suggests that the name is derived from the Anglo-Irish expression piggin-riggin, meaning a half-grown boy, and is not derived from the surname at all.

Piggin Run, according to Lily Smith Corathers, is a tributary of Middle Island Creek, which in turn flows into the Ohio River. She does not venture an explanation of why it is so named, but says several neighbouring streams called "... Run" were named after local land-owners. However the family on Piggin Run was named Ashburn, not Piggin.

So far we have drawn a blank in attempts to discover any explanation of the name. Pat Pulasky, who contributes to a Doddridge County mailing list, adds: I went through all my reference books on Doddridge, and I found no Piggins listed in the 1850, 60, 70 or 80 federal census. Also none were listed in marriage or death records, or in any of my cemetery books. So, I'm guessing that the [hypothetical] individual named Piggin probably just temporarily lived there very early (prior to 1845 when the county was part of Tyler County). You might check the VA census for Piggin/Piggins for census data prior to 1850 to see if any were listed for what became WV counties (WV broke off from VA in 1863.) ... Doddridge has a historical society, but my guess is that they won't answer any questions by mail... You'd have to go to the museum there in West Union to ask questions. I noted to Pat that Pawnee has been written Piggin in some contexts, and he responded: Doddridge County was a hunting ground for many tribes, including the Pawnees. In that area, Indian trails usually followed water; one of the trails ran along Middle Island Creek (and Piggin Run was a tributary of Middle Island).

The U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) describes it as a stream at latitude 391824N and longitude 0804705W and also lists "Piggin Run School (historical)" (Corathers discussses its history) at latitude 391902N, longitude 0804550W. Piggin Run is also mentioned in the American Genealogical Gazetteer, State Listings for West Virginia (accessible via

Piggins Quay

Located in Scotland, J.M. Piggins Quay in the port town of Montrose appears to be part of the port of the east coast town of Montrose (Google Map). It was seen on a web page devoted to Lifeboat Museums and Display Centres: "175. Montrose (1800) Tyne & Inflatable 'D' - Piggins Quay. Contact Hon Sec N McNab (01674) 675333."

Piggins Road

Located in New South Wales, Australia. Piggins Road is a feature in the small NSW town of Hopefield, which is west of Canberra. It marks the connection of the Piggin family to the Corowa area, where the family settled. One website refers to Piggins Lane (no apostrophe), and the Telstra directory has an address at "Piggin Court", but the map on the site shows only Piggins Road. So far we are not able to explain these contradictions.


The Place-Names of Derbyshire (Cameron, Kenneth, English Place-Name Society, 1959) quotes an 1853 survey showing Piggin Piece at Loscoe (page 435). Another survey locates Piggin Hurst at Crich (page 441: see also an 1842 advertisment to sell it: No. on Parish Map: 1321 / Name of Tenant: R. W. Smith. / A close of arable land, lying on the Stones; called Piggin Hirst. 2A 1R 28P). Piggin Meadow at Ockbrook is discussed below.

Also located in Derbyshire, Piggin Flatt is a field at Shardlow, close to where the Piggin family farmed at Thulston. It is not mentioned in Cameron (where the field-names list is based on the 1757 Enclosure Award), but is mentioned in the following 1681 document:

Conveyance: Sir Nich. Willimot of Osmaston and Sargeant at Law, Robt. Willimot (son and heir appt.) Frances Revell of Carnefield, esq. and Nich. Willimot, younger son of Sir Nich to John Cowleshaw of Shardlow, yeo.: a messuage in Shardlow with two yardlands belonging - in Wilne, Shardlow and also a flatt of arable land in Shardlow, receiving a row of Willows called Beckmore Willows and a flatt of arable - "Piggin Flatt"). W: Wm. Bambrigge, John Bentley, Rich. Knight (Derbyshire Record Office, ref. D3155/6369 - date: 6th Apl. 1681)

The Place-Names of Staffordshire (Oakden, James P, English Place-Name Society, 1984) cites three Piggin field names in two adjacent civil parishes, Essington and Hilton, located northeast of Wolverhampton. The field in Essington is recorded in the Vernon Deeds as Pyggyn meddowe in 1549 and Pyggenfurlonge in 1587 and 1589, but later comes to be known as Piggers Close (page 53). Oakden suggests it might mean "the close on which pigs were kept," but this seems implausible, given that pigga meant mere piglets. Just a short distance away, in Hilton, were fields named Pyggyn hegge, mentioned in 1597 (probably from the surname Piggin and hecg or hedge) and Piggin Flat, recorded with that name in 1710 (both at page 127). All of these mentions come from deeds deposited at Staffordshire Record Office (reference D1790) by R.H. Vernon of Hilton Hall (page xlv).

Pigens Meadow, formerly located in New York City, is mentioned in the will of one Phielp Udall 1711/12/02: "...I leave to my son Joseph all my lands and meadow at Pigens meadow in Flushing or elsewhere in Queens County..." Nothing else is known of this place. The reference is from the volume of New York City Wills 1708-1728 provided online for a fee by Extracted 1999/02.

Piggins Croft

Located in England. Piggins Croft, presumably originally spelled with an apostrophe, is a Hucknall yard (Google Map) that has given its name to a modern car park run by Ashfield District Council and used by shoppers at a Safeway Supermarket. See the website. It is presumably named after the farm, or croft, belonging to the Piggin family when they were butchers at Hucknall.

Piggin Wood

Located in Derbyshire, north of Ockbrook, Piggin Wood (Google aerial photograph) is the current name of a small area of forest. It is mentioned in numerous fox-hunting reports in The Times, particularly in the 1920s. Paul Biggs and Sandra Biggs in Discovery Walks in Derbyshire (1997) propose a recreational walk past Piggin Wood. It is almost certainly named after the former owners. A family of Piggins, now believed to be extinct, were once yeoman farmers at Ockbrook. See the British Ordnance Survey Map 221, Ordance Survey reference 423-363 (Grid SK423363). Some sources spell it Piggins Wood, but the OS maps, Cameron, and Biggs have the name as Piggin Wood. A 1635 document (in the Trusley Collection, cited by Cameron ibid.) refers to nearby "Little Haie Grange" as alias Piggins Grange. Little Hay Grange, which still exists, is a farm at Ockbrook which long ago belonged to Dale Abbey (page 488). It must have been in Piggin ownership for a few decades. (See a picture). The excavation of the Roman-era barn at Little Hay Grange is described in: Palfreyman, A. Report on the excavation of a Romano-British aisled building at Little Hay Grange Farm, Ockbrook, Derbyshire 1994-97. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal 121, 71-159 (2001).) Another document in the Trusley collection names Piggin Meadow in 1663 (Cameron, ibid).

The Piggin

Located in Wales. The Piggin Tavern in Station Road in the small town of Montgomery, Monmouthshire (Google Map), was evidently named from its pub sign, which must have displayed a piggin. In Shropshire, this meant a wooden can from which people supped food such as porridge or beer. Local historian Dr Anne Welton of the Bell Museum told me 1999/10/07 that the pub must have been in business until the early 20th century. She added that the nursery rhyme ending "... the little dog laughed to see such sport, and the piggin ran off with the spoon" is still heard in Shropshire, of which Montgomery is culturally a part.

The Piggin was divided into two cottages after it ceased trading: the deeds show that by 1911 it had ceased to be part of the Powys estate and became leasehold and then freehold. It had become cottages well before that. One half of the building was bought in January 1999 by Mrs Jessica A. Hawes, who has done internal alterations, added a porch in front and has been building an extension. Giving the above information from the deeds, she wrote 1999/11/18: "Over the years the cottages were called Rock Cottages and later Rose Cottages, but I have changed it back for 'old times' sake'. The cottage is stone-built and was listed Grade II about seven years ago. It stands by the road leading to Newtown at the foot of the hill on the top of which are the old castle ruins. Opposite are the remains of a quarry and one enterprising [proprietress] used to serve cider and cakes to the passing waggoners. Apparently at one time one could see marks above the door where an inn-sign used to be fixed, but that has long since been erased."

The pub is mentioned in two deeds in National Library of Wales collections:

POWIS CASTLE DEEDS 3B/Parcel 1 --- The Piggin Tavern Tenement in p. MONTGOMERY purchased from Richard Wilson and others in 1803

POWIS CASTLE DEEDS 3B/D25/1/19-20 --- 1803, June 9-10 --- LEASE AND RELEASE ... of m's called the Piggin Tavern in the town of MONTGOMERY (m=messuages?)

extracted from National Library of Wales online catalogue 1999/09

The Piggin House

Located in York, Maine. This house, built in 1686 and restored and decorated from the late 1930s by Elizabeth Perkins, is a tourist attraction. The guide to the house states that it was named after the ladling vessel, the piggin, because of its appearance: it was originally a one-room house with an end chimney. The book Colonial Revival Maine by Kevin D Murphy states at page 149 that it must have lost its "piggin" appearance in the 1712-1732 period when it was extended. The house was later much modified. Miss Perkins died in 1952, and the building, which is open to the public, is usually called the Elizabeth Perkins House nowadays.

Upper and Lower Piggins

Located in Norfolk. Two pieces of land, either named fields or former hamlets, north of Thetford. While there is a long history of the Piggin family being settled in Norfolk, none are known to hail from this part of the county. A connection to the common noun therefore seems likely.

Messuage with barn and outhouses cont. 1a. 2r. (also described as messuage built called Bishops with 1Ża. in croft formerly part of messuage and 12a.) and 3a. called Upper and Lower Piggins, the latter freehold and the former copyhold of the manor of Marhams in Tottington, purchased by Benjamin Denton from John Barham in 1718.

From a file at Norfolk Records Office, Reference: WLS/XXVII/11/415 x 1 (Tottington and Stanford deeds) See Access to Archives search.


However an 1800 advertisement in The Derby Mercury for a field named Piggin Hole at Hartington, Derbyshire is probably a misprint for Biggin: Newbiggin, Biggin Grange and Biggin Moor Farm are all located in the Hartington Nether Quarter (Cameron, pages 368-368). Biggin is an Old English word that simply means "building".

A North Carolina place also said to be known as Piggins Meadows was listed in the Abstracts Of Early Deeds of Bladen County North Carolina # 3636, Volume 1 (contains all of Deed Book 7) abstracted by Wanda Suggs Campbell. Publisher: Bladen County Historical Society, 1977. On page 74: 15 Dec'r 1797 - William Averitt to John Harris - 30 lbs current money of this state - 150 acres on Piggins Meadows drain lower side of Ellis Creek, on the NE side near & below John Owen's corner, granted to William Averitt on 11 March 1775. Wit: Josiah Pritchett, Sampson Davis. May Term 1798. ack'd. J. S. Purdie, C.C. However Keith Davis kindly points out that this is a misspelling, and offers a link to a map from TopoZone which labels the swampy area "Dickenson Meadow". Keith adds that a map of Bladen County drawn in 1885 calls the meadow "Diggons Meadow", which is a phonetic variant of "Dickens Meadow".

© Jean-Baptiste Piggin 2000-2009
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