Hamlet (place)

Last updated
The hamlet at Oberwil, 3 km from Waldkirch, near St. Gallen (Switzerland) Waldkirch Oberwil.jpg
The hamlet at Oberwil, 3 km from Waldkirch, near St. Gallen (Switzerland)

A hamlet is a small human settlement. In different jurisdictions and geographies, a hamlet may be the size of a town, village or parish, or may be considered to be a smaller settlement or subdivision or satellite entity to a larger settlement. The word and concept of a hamlet have roots in the Anglo-Norman settlement of England, where the old French hamlet came to apply to small human settlements. In British geography, a hamlet is considered smaller than a village and distinctly without a church or other place of worship (e.g. one road or a crossroads, with houses either side).



The word comes from Anglo-Norman hamelet, corresponding to Old French hamelet, the diminutive of Old French hamel meaning a little village. This, in turn, is a diminutive of Old French ham, possibly borrowed from (West Germanic) Franconian languages. Compare with modern French hameau, Dutch heem, German Heim, Old English hām and Modern English home. [1]


In Afghanistan, the counterpart of the hamlet is the qala (Dari: قلعه, Pashto: کلي) meaning "fort" [2] or "hamlet". [3] The Afghan qala is a fortified group of houses, generally with its own community building such as a mosque, but without its own marketplace. The qala is the smallest type of settlement in Afghan society, outsized by the village (Dari/Pashto: ده), which is larger and includes a commercial area.


In Canada's three territories, hamlets are officially designated municipalities. [4] As of January 1, 2010:

In Canada's provinces, hamlets are usually small unincorporated communities within a larger municipality (similar to civil townships in the United States), such as many communities within the single-tier municipalities of Ontario [ citation needed ] or within Alberta's specialized and rural municipalities. [8]

Canada's two largest hamlets—Fort McMurray (formerly incorporated as a city) [9] and Sherwood Park—are located in Alberta. They each have populations, within their main urban area, in excess of 60,000—well in excess of the 10,000-person threshold that can choose to incorporate as a city in Alberta. [10] [11] As such, these two hamlets have been further designated by the Province of Alberta as urban service areas. [12] An urban service area is recognized as equivalent to a city for the purposes of provincial and federal program delivery and grant eligibility. [13] [14]


During the 18th century, for rich or noble people, it was fashionable to create their own hameau (hamlet) in their gardens. They were a group of some houses or farms with rustic appearance, but in fact were very comfortable. The best known is the Hameau de la Reine built by the queen Marie-Antoinette in the park of the Château de Versailles . Or the Hameau de Chantilly built by Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé in Chantilly, Oise .


The German word for hamlet is Weiler (German: [ˈva͡ɪlɐ] ). A Weiler has, compared to a Dorf (village), no infrastructure (i.e. no inn, no school, no store). There are hamlets with churches, these are called "Kirchweiler" (church hamlet). The houses and farms of a Weiler can be grouped (in the hills and the mountains) or scattered (in the plains). In North West Germany, a group of scattered farms is called Bauerschaft. In a Weiler there are no street names, the houses are just numbered.


In different states of India, there are different words for hamlet. In Haryana and Rajasthan it is called "dhani" (Hindi : ढाणीḍhāṇī) or "Thok". [15] [16] [17] [18] In Gujarat a hamlet is called a "nesada", which are more prevalent in the Gir forest. In Maharashtra it's called a "pada". In southern Bihar, especially in the Magadh division, a hamlet is called a "bigha".


The hamlet Kampung Naga in West Java Province, Indonesia DSC00029 Java Little Sundanais Traditional Village Kampung Naga (6219569245).jpg
The hamlet Kampung Naga in West Java Province, Indonesia

All over Indonesia, hamlets are translated as "small village", or kampung. They are known as dusun in Central Java and East Java, banjar in Bali, jorong or kampuang in West Sumatra.[ citation needed ]


In Pakistan a hamlet is called a gron (pronounced as grona with some nasalisation at the end).[ citation needed ]


In Poland a hamlet is called osada, and is legally a small rural settlement, especially differing by type of buildings or inhabited by population connected with some place or workplace (like mill hamlet, forest hamlet, fishermen hamlet, railway hamlet, State Agricultural Farm hamlet). It can be independent settlement, or a part of other settlement, like village. [19]


In Romania hamlets are called cătunuri (singular: cătun ), and they represent villages that contain several houses at most. They are legally considered villages, and statistically, they are placed in the same category. Like villages, they do not have a separate administration, and thus are not an administrative division, but are part of a parent commune.


In the Russian language there are several words which mean "a hamlet", but all of them are approximately equal. The most common word is деревня (derevnia, the word meant "an arable" in the past); the words село (selo, from the Russian word селиться (selit'tsa), meaning "to settle") and посёлок (posiolok) are quite frequently used, too. The once common Russian word хутор (khootor) for the smallest type of rural settlement (arguably closest in nature to the English hamlet) is now mostly obsolete. A hamlet in Russia usually has a church, some little shops, a school and a local culture center (дом культуры / dom kultury, literally meaning "a house of culture"), in which different culture events and national holidays take place. A hamlet in Russia consists of several tens of wooden (sometimes brick) houses. In the past hamlets were the most common kind of settlement in Russia, but nowadays many hamlets in Russia are settled only during the summer as places for vacation because people go to towns and cities in order to find better jobs and get a better education than a rural school can offer.


In the four national languages hamlets are known as Weiler (German), hameaux (French), frazioni (Italian) and fracziun (Romansh). A hamlet is always part of a larger municipality or may be shared between two municipalities. The difference between a hamlet and a village is that typically a hamlet lacks a compact core settlement and lacks a central building such as a church or inn. However, some hamlets (Kirchwiler) may have grown up as an unplanned settlement around a church. [20] There is no population limit that defines a hamlet and some hamlets have a larger population than some of the smallest municipalities. Generally there are no street names in a hamlet; rather, addresses are given by hamlet name and a number. House numbers might start at one side of the hamlet and continue to the other side or may have no clear organization.

A hamlet may form or have formed a Bürgergemeinde (legal place of citizenship regardless of where a person was born or currently lives) and may own common property for the Bürgergemeinde.


Cobanpinari, Guzelyurt in Hekimhan, Malatya Cobanpinari hekimhan.webp
Çobanpınarı, Güzelyurt in Hekimhan, Malatya

In Turkey, a hamlet is known as a mezra and denotes a small satellite settlement usually consisting of a few houses in the rural outskirts of a village. [21]


In Ukraine, a very small village such as a hamlet usually is called a khutir . [22]

United Kingdom

Haynes Church End in Bedfordshire Haynes Church End - geograph.org.uk - 837382.jpg
Haynes Church End in Bedfordshire
Harrowden, Bedfordshire in Eastcotts Tractor with roller on Harrowden Road, Finedon - geograph.org.uk - 229076.jpg
Harrowden, Bedfordshire in Eastcotts
Bodiggo in Cornwall Bodiggo (379052 30761b60-by-Martin-Bodman).jpg
Bodiggo in Cornwall

In the United Kingdom, the word hamlet (having the French origin given at the top of this article), means a house or village without a church, [23] although hamlets are recognised as part of land use planning policies and administration. In modern usage it generally refers to a secondary settlement in a civil parish, after the main settlement (if any). Hamlets may have been formed around a single source of economic activity such as a farm, mill, mine or harbour that employed its working population. Some hamlets, particularly those that have a medieval church, may be the result of the depopulation of a village; an example of such a hamlet is Graby or Shapwick. Because of the hilly topography of the parish, the village of Clent, situated on the Clent Hills consists of five distinct hamlets.

In Wales
The term hamlet was used in Wales to denote a geographical subdivision of a parish (which might or might not contain a settlement). Elsewhere, mostly in England, these subdivisions were called "townships" or "tithings". [24] [25] The Welsh word for 'hamlet' is pentrefan [26] (also pentrefyn), with the loose meaning of 'small village'.

In Scotland
In the Scottish Highlands the term clachan , of Gaelic derivation, may be preferred to the term hamlet. [27] Also found in Scotland more generally is ferm toun used in the specific case of a farm settlement, including outbuildings and agricultural workers' homes. [28] [29]

In Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland the common Irish place name element baile is sometimes considered equivalent to the term hamlet in English, although baile would actually have referred to what is known in English today as a townland : that is to say, a geographical locality rather than a small village.

United States


In Mississippi, a 2009 state law (§ 17-27-5) set aside the term "municipal historical hamlet" to designate any former city, town or village with a current population of less than six hundred (600) inhabitants that lost its charter before 1945. The first such designation was applied to Bogue Chitto, Lincoln County.

New York

In New York, hamlets are unincorporated settlements within towns. Hamlets are usually not legal entities and have no local government or official boundaries. Their approximate locations will often be noted on road signs, however.

A hamlet usually depends upon the town that contains it for municipal services and government; the town can define a "special use district" (a type of local entity designed to provide a specific service, such as water, sewer, or lighting) to provide only that hamlet with services. A hamlet could be described as the rural or suburban equivalent of a neighborhood in a city or village. The area of a hamlet may not be exactly defined; it may be designated by the Census Bureau, or it may rely on some other form of border (such as a ZIP Code, school district or fire district for more urbanized areas; rural hamlets are typically only demarcated by speed zones on the roads serving them). Others, such as Forestville, New York, will be the remnants of former villages, with borders coextant with the previously defined borders of the defunct or dissolved village. Some hamlets proximate to urban areas are sometimes continuous with their cities and appear to be neighborhoods, but they still are under the jurisdiction of the town. Some localities designated as hamlets, such as Levittown in the Town of Hempstead, with a population of over 50,000, are more populous than some incorporated cities in the state.


In Oregon, specifically in Clackamas County, a hamlet is a form of local government for small communities, which allows the citizens therein to organize and co-ordinate community activities. Hamlets do not provide services such as utilities or fire protection, and do not have the authority to levy taxes or fees. There are four hamlets in Oregon: Beavercreek, Mulino, Molalla Prairie, and Stafford.


In Vietnam, a hamlet (xóm, ấp) is the smallest unofficial administrative unit. It is a subdivision of a commune or township ().

See also

Related Research Articles

Village Small clustered human settlement smaller than a town

A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population typically ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Though villages are often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighborhoods. Villages are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings; however, transient villages can occur. Further, the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape, as a dispersed settlement.

Ohaton Hamlet in Alberta, Canada

Ohaton is a hamlet in central Alberta, Canada within Camrose County. Previously an incorporated municipality, Ohaton dissolved from village status on January 1, 1946.

Athabasca County Municipal district in Alberta, Canada

Athabasca County is a municipal district in north central Alberta, Canada. It is located northeast of Edmonton and is in Census Division No. 13. Prior to an official renaming on December 1, 2009, Athabasca County was officially known as the County of Athabasca No. 12.

Kinuso Hamlet in Alberta, Canada

Kinuso is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada within Big Lakes County, and surrounded by the Swan River First Nation reserve. It is located approximately 48 kilometres (30 mi) west of Slave Lake and 71 km east of High Prairie along Highway 2, south of the southern shore of Lesser Slave Lake.

New Sarepta Hamlet in Alberta, Canada

New Sarepta is a hamlet in central Alberta, Canada, within Leduc County. It is located approximately 23 km (14 mi) east of the City of Leduc along Highway 21.

A municipal district is an administrative entity comprising a clearly defined territory and its population. It can refer to a city, town, village or a small grouping of them, or a rural area.

Camrose County Municipal district in Alberta, Canada

Camrose County is a municipal district in central Alberta, Canada. It is located in Census Division 10, around the City of Camrose.

Lac Ste. Anne County Municipal district in Alberta, Canada

Lac Ste. Anne County is a municipal district in central Alberta, Canada.

Mackenzie County Specialized municipality in Alberta, Canada

Mackenzie County is a specialized municipality in northern Alberta, Canada. It is located in Census Division 17, along the Mackenzie Highway. Incorporated as a municipal district in 1995 from the former Improvement District No. 23., its status was changed to specialized municipality in 1999 to address the particularities of managing such a large territory, which is 10% larger than New Brunswick. Mackenzie County municipal office is located in the Hamlet of Fort Vermilion. The name was changed from the Municipal District of Mackenzie No. 23 to Mackenzie County in 2007.

Wanham, Alberta hamlet in Alberta

Wanham is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada within Birch Hills County. It is located 29 km (18 mi) east of Rycroft along Highway 49 and approximately 106 km (66 mi) north of Grande Prairie, in the farmlands of Peace River Country. Saddle River, a tributary of Peace River, flows immediately north of the settlement.

Swalwell, Alberta Hamlet in Alberta, Canada

Swalwell is a hamlet in southern Alberta, Canada within Kneehill County. Previously an incorporated municipality, Swalwell dissolved from village status on January 1, 1946 to become part of the Municipal District of Norquay No. 279.

Smith, Alberta

Smith is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada within the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River No. 124. It is located on Highway 2A, approximately 182 kilometres (113 mi) northwest of Edmonton, at the confluence of the Lesser Slave River and the Athabasca River.


  1. T. F. Hoad, English Etymology, Oxford University Press, 1993, ISBN   0-19-283098-8.
  2. Sulayman, Hayyim (1934–1936). "New Persian-English dictionary, complete and modern, designed to give the English meanings of over 50,000 words, terms, idioms, and proverbs in the Persian language, as well as the transliteration of the words in English characters. Together with a sufficient treatment of all the grammatical features of the Persian Language". dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu. University of Chicago . Retrieved 2018-05-04.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  3. "A dictionary of the Puk'hto, Pus'hto, or language of the Afghans". dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Statistics Canada (2010). "Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names (From January 2, 2009 to January 1, 2010)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  5. "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Northwest Territories)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  6. "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Nunavut)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  7. Statistics Canada (2018-02-08). "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses – 100% data (Yukon Territory)" . Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  8. Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-04-01). "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  9. Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-11-15). "Municipal Profile – Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo" . Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  10. Alberta Municipal Affairs (2009-09-15). "2009 Official Population List" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  11. Alberta Queen's Printer (2009-09-15). "2009 Official Population List" . Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  12. Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-04-01). "2010 Municipal Codes" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  13. Province of Alberta (1994-12-21). "Order in Council 817/94 (R.M. of Wood Buffalo status change to specialized municipality)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  14. Province of Alberta (1995-12-06). "Order in Council 761/95 (Strathcona County status change to specialized municipality)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  15. Sukhvir Singh Gahlot: Rural Life in Rajasthan, page 4.Rajasthani Granthagar, Giani Press Delhi 1986
  16. Ashutosh Goyal, 2015, "RBS Visitors Guide India - Rajasthan: Rajasthan Travel guide"., Data & Expo India Pvt Ltd, ISBN   9380844786.
  17. Rann Singh Mann, K. Mann, 1989, "Tribal Cultures and Change"., pp. 23.
  18. S. H. M. Rizvi, 1987 "Mina, the ruling tribe of Rajasthan: socio-biological appraisal"., pp. 34.
  19. Ustawa z dnia 29 sierpnia 2003 r. o urzędowych nazwach miejscowości i obiektów fizjograficznych (Dz.U. 2003 nr 166 poz. 1612
  20. Projektteam SINUS. Landschaftsökologische Strukturmerkmale als Indikatoren der Nachhaltigkeit, Spatial INdices for LandUSe Sustainability (SINUS) (PDF) (Report). University of Vienna. pp. 308–317. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  21. // Ordinance on Address and Numbering, Turkish Government GazetteTurkish : ADRES VE NUMARALAMAYA İLİŞKİN YÖNETMELİK, Resmî Gazete
  22. ХУТІР (Khutir) // Ukrainian Academic DictionaryUkrainian : Академічний тлумачний словник української мови
  23. Hardy-Ivamy, E.R. (1993). Mozley & Whiteley's law dictionary. London: Butterworths. p. 124. ISBN   978-0-406-01420-7.
  24. Kain R J P, Oliver R D, Historic Parishes of England & Wales, HDS, 2001, ISBN   0-9540032-0-9, p 12
  25. "Status definition: Hamlet". A Vision of Britain through Time. Great Britain Historical GIS Project. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  26. https://glosbe.com/cy/en/pentrefan
  27. "Clachan". Dictionary of the Scots Language. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  28. "Dictionary of the Scots Language:: SND :: ferm n1 v".
  29. "Dictionary of the Scots Language:: SND :: toun".