Although there are occasionally other derivations most commonly any Ven or Venn place name element in this part of the country is a version of “Fen” an ancient English word referring typically to a “low land covered wholly or partially in shallow water or subject to frequent inundations – a tract of such land, a marsh” (Oxford English Dictionary).
Curiously the housing on the Venn Estate is on a particularly high, rather than low part of Plymouth, but there is no doubting the marshy-ness of some of it. Two springs are known to rise here and in the past these springs fed the erstwhile reservoirs off Peverell Park Road and thus the Stonehouse Leat. Part of the first development here, around Venn Crescent, was built over one of these springs – which was then located in an area of allotments – in the late-1920s, early 1930s. While the more recent Venn Court was constructed over the muddy, streamy site of a second spring in the 1980s.
Venn Lane, the oldest of the local Venns, only partly survives today, it runs down into Central Park (where doubtless it was once very marshy), up in front of Pounds House and crosses Outland Road to the west of Devonport High School for Girls.