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 Cowley

Historical Forms

  • Bridelep(e), Brydelep(e) 1221,1287 Ass 1376 GlR 1480 MinAcct
  • Bredelepe 1288 Cl
  • Brudelep 1240 GlR 1295 Ipm
  • Bridlep(e), Brydlep(e) 1295 Misc 1423 GlR 1494 MinAcct
  • Brydlipp(e), Brydlyppe 1494 Ipm 1529 FF
  • Briddelep 1327 SR
  • Bird(e)lyp(pe), Byrd(e)lyp(pe), Byrd(e)lipe 1537 Rent 1575 FF 1637 PR
  • Burlip 1675 Ogilby 1682 PR


This describes a very steep declivity at the top of the Cotswold escarpment, and the second el. is OE  hlēp 'leap' used in the sense 'a steep place'. The first el. could be OE  bridd 'bird', the compound describing a prodigious leap which only a flying bird could make.But some of the earlier forms (Brude -) point rather to OE  brȳd 'bride' shortened in the compound; the incident or folk-tale from which such a combination as 'bride's leap' could arise is, however, completely lost. Cf. Wintour's Leap (iii, 267infra ).