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.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Bidston

Historical Forms

  • Bideston 13 Chest 1272 Sheaf 1580 ChFor 1287 Barnes1 1407 ChRR 1459
  • Bydeston 1534–47 Dugd 1545 Pat
  • Bidsto… 14 Chest
  • Bidston 1397 ChRR 1430 Barnes1 1508 Orm2 1535 JRC
  • Bydston 1482 ChRR 1485 Orm2 1523 ChRR 1571 Sheaf 1660
  • Biddeston 1507 1523 ChRR 1571
  • Byddeston 1522,1549 Sheaf 1534–47 Dugd
  • Bediston 1260 Court
  • Bedeston 1291 Tax 1303 MinAcct 1338 Barnes1 1342 Plea 1350 ChRR 1353 Eyre 1507 MinAcct
  • Beduston 1343 Sheaf
  • Bedston c.1490 Surv
  • Bedson 1646 Sheaf
  • Bodestan' 1260 Court
  • Budeston 1260 Court
  • Budeston 1572 ChRR
  • Buddeston c.1295 Sheaf 17 ChRR 1344 ChFor 1347 Orm2 1354 ChRR 1359 BPR 1361 ChRR 1624
  • Budston 1351 BPR 1382 Plea 1385 Pat 1407 ChRR 1554 Sheaf
  • Budestan 1286,1340,1347,1357 ChFor 1345 Plea 1353 MinAcct 1376 Eyre 1506 ChRR
  • Budstane 1305 Sheaf
  • Budstan 1321 Plea
  • Bidestan 1288 ChFor
  • Bidelston' 1294 ChFor
  • Bedestan 1309 InqAqd 1347 ChFor 1348 MinAcct 1361 Barnes1
  • Boudistan a.1342 Tab
  • Bethestan 1347 ChFor
  • Boduston 1347 ChFor
  • Bodeston 1351 BPR
  • Bidstone 1521 Sheaf 1546 Dugd 1724 NotCestr
  • Beedston c.1642 Sheaf 17
  • Bidstowne 1665 Map
  • Buddestonkar(k) 1347 ChFor
  • Bedestoncarre 1303 MinAcct


Ekwall (DEPN) proposes 'Byddi's farm' from tūn and an OE  pers.n. Byddi , a derivative of the OE  pers.n. Budda . The early -stan forms prove that the final el. is stān 'a rock, a stone'. For the first el., the forms Bidelston ', Bethestan are important, for they rule out the pers.n. derivation. Rather, they suggest that the first el. is (ge)bytle, byðle 'a building, a dwelling', cf. DEPN s.nn. Biddlesden Bk, Biddlestone Nb, cf. also bōðl , *bylde. The original form of the p.n. Bidston would be *(ge)byðle-stān or the like, in which -ðles - > -thels -, and > -dles - > -dels - with subsequent loss of -l -.

Bidston then means 'rock with a dwelling or building near it, on it, or in it'. This may allude to a cave. There was a cave at Bidston, at 100–285904, cf. Cave Plantation infra , but whether this was a natural feature or an artificial grotto is not clear. The allusion may be to a house or building upon or against a rock, and the p.n. may be an OE equivalent of Liscard 324infra . At this point, the forms Buddestonkar (k )1347ChFor , Bedestoncarre 1303MinAcct , etc., under Bidston Moss infra , should be noted, where kjarr 'a marsh' may have been confused with carr and carrec 'a rock', pointing to the same feature as the stān in Bidston . Finally, it should be noted that Bidston stands at the north end of a prominent steep, rocky, sandstone hill, Bidston Hill, a steep slope, with outcrops and cliffs at 100–287903.

Upon considering the draft of this entry, Dr von Feilitzen com- mented that there were hardly enough forms in t , th and l to support an etymology in bytle or byðle , only Bethestan 1347 and Bidelston 1294. He suggests that the origin of Bidston may have been OE  *Byden -stān , from byden 'a vessel, a tub' figuratively 'a hollow, a depression, a valley' (v. EPN 1 72). He thinks this would suit the majority of the forms recorded, with normal early loss of -n - or dissimilation nn > ln leading to Bideston and Bidelston . This is a valuable contribution to a difficult problem. It does not explain the form Bethestan , but that is very rare and might be an accident.However, this alternative solution creates a problem of interpretation, for it is not clear what the el. byden would refer to at Bidston.If the reference were to some feature of Bidston Hill, the p.n. might mean 'rock shaped like a tub' or 'rock with a hollow in it'; otherwise the allusion may have been to some stone or rock near a hollow or tub. I still think that the first etymology is more likely, especially as it associates Bidston with the adjacent p.n. Liscard, and it accom- modates the form Bethestan .