English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.

Bedchester (Fm)

Early-attested site in the Parish of Fontmell Magna

Historical Forms

  • Bedeshurst(e) Hy1 ShaftR 15 FF 1354,1372,1374 Pat 1392 MiltC 1395 FA 1431 VE 1535 Glyn c.1560
  • Bedyshurst(') 1395 MiltRoll e15 Hutch3 1541
  • Bedehurst 1392 IpmR 1412 FA
  • Butesurste (p), Butesursta (2 ×) 15 ShaftR
  • Bedcister 1575 Saxton 1811 OS
  • Bedcester 1576 Glyn 1711 Salkeld
  • Bedceister 1774 Hutch1 1869 Hutch3
  • Bedchester 1869 ib
  • Bedihurst als. Bedcister, Bedyhurst als. Bedcister 1659,1692 Salkeld


The second el. is clearly hyrst 'copse or wooded hill', with late analogical modification to -cester (only recently -chester ) due to shift or loss of r and weakening of stress in the final part of the name, as in Hogchester in Wootton F. par. infra , v. also Zachrisson ANInfl 81–2, Fägersten 23–4. The first el. is probably a pers.n., but its exact form is difficult to determine, perhaps *Bīedi , *Bēdi as suggested by Ekwall DEPN, or Bæde as suggested by Fägersten 23 comparing Beeson (Bedeston l14) D 333 (cf. also Bædes wel BCS 125 Wo). The two forms in Butes - from ShaftR are probably erratic. Another form to be taken into account, though this too may be slightly corrupt, is (up on ) beteswirþe sled in the Anglo-Saxon bounds of Fontmell M. (932 (15) ShaftR (S 419)); this describes a point less than ½ mile N of the present Bedchester and presumably contains the same pers.n. with wyrð 'enclosure' and slæd 'valley'.