1) An enclosure for catching fish.
Eel Ark Hill is a rare and unexplained place-name in Eshton in the Yorkshire Dales and the explanation of its meaning focuses attention on a deed of 1562 which confirmed a division of lands in Steeton near Tadcaster. These included ‘the great stang ... and all the pools, ponds, and waters there running from the Eele ark unto Bolton lordship’. The editor explained Eele ark as an enclosure for catching fish, a meaning confirmed in the OED with an example of the word noted in Scotland in 1883. Earlier Latin references are proof the word’s much longer history in west Yorkshire. In 1260, for instance, Furness Abbey acquired fishing rights in Eshton Tarn, and the fishermen who worked for the monks were granted a number of rights: these included half of all the eels taken in an ark fixed in the stream which flowed out of the lake. This liberty was then extended to all the arks the abbey might install, to the construction of a building 'over' the arks, and to the rights of way for abbey servants through the Eshtons' lands. A similar grant was noted by Whitaker: 1435-6 Pro arcis anguillarum de Alanwath Tarne, Skipton. No doubt the hill owes its name to an eel-ark fixed in Eshton Tarn centuries ago.