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.

Berrington

Parish in the County of Shropshire

Historical Forms

  • Beritune 1086 DB
  • Beritona 1121 SAC
  • Beriton 1382 Pat 1577 Saxton
  • Beryton 1535 VE
  • Biritona c.1090 SAC 1449 Fine
  • Beringtun' 1226 Cur
  • Beryngton 1535 VE
  • Berrington 1596 PR(L)
  • Berington 1728 PR(L) 1730 SBL4246 1790 PR(L) 1812 PR(L)
  • Birinton' 1255-6 Ass
  • Byrynton c.1291 TN
  • Byrrynton 1535 VE
  • Bireton 1271-2 Ass
  • Buritone 1274 RH
  • Buritona c.1298 HAC
  • Berynton 1361 Pat
  • Berinton 1675 Ogilby
  • Birrington 1565 PR(H) 1588 PR(L)
  • Byrrington 1594 PR(L)
  • Burrington 1642 PR(L)
  • Barrington 1771 SBL5747
  • Treburt 1284 Cl 1381 SRO552/1/20
  • Trefburt' 1345 SRO552/1/11
  • Treboreward 1284 Cl

Etymology

'Settlement associated with a fort', from byrig, dat. of burh , and tun .

In the country as a whole, the compound of burh in the nom. with tūn is found in over forty examples of Burton, eleven of Bourton, and nine of Broughton. It is also found (with an unusual modern spelling) in Boreton in Condover, oo the opposite side of Cound Brook from Berrington. The compound byrhtūn , with the gen. of burh , is found in five examples of Burton, two of Buerton, and in Bierton, Bk. The third formn byrigtūn , gives rise to four instances of Berrington and two of Burrington; this form is the most westerly, occurring in Gl, He, Wo, Sa and So.

It has hitherto been assumed that these names could arise from three separate situations, which were:

(a) the proximity of a tūn to an ancient fort,

(b) the proximity of a tūn to a more important settlement with a name ending in -burh or -byrig ,

(c) the existence of a particular type of settlement called burhtūn .

The experiment of plotting these names on a map (Fig. 2) has suggested, however, that they may all arise from the same situation, and that in Mercia they may refer to a system of defence posts which remained operative until the Danish wars of the late ninth century. The proximity of some burhtūn , byrhtūn , byrigtūn names to prehistoric forts, and to places with names like Aldborough YW, Tutbury St, Tenbury Wo, does not seem to be a more marked phenomenon than can reasonably be ascribed to coincidence when the number of names to be considered is over eighty.

The mapping of these names brings out the fact that the distribution is not even throughout the country. They are mainly characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and southern Northumbria. There is a notable series in the West Saxon shires of Wiltshire and Dorsetn but they are absent or very rare in the whole of East Anglia, Kent, Sussex, and the region which may have constituted an early kingdom of Middlesex.

In some counties they are very evenly spaced, as, for example, the three south of Lincoln in Kesteven, and the three in the easten, part of Warwickshire. It was this characteristic, of there being two or three to a county in parts of the Midlands, which suggested that it would be worthwhile plotting them on a map.

Shropshire has more of these names than any other Midland county. Berrington, Boreton, Bourton in Much Wenlock and Broughton parish are of sufficient status to be included in this book.Besides these, the county contains Broughton in Claverley and Broughton in Lydham, first recorded in 1191 and 1255 respectively.If the six names are seen as referring to an organised system of defence, Berrington and Boreton should probably be considered as a single item, one perhaps replacing the other rather than both being in operation at the same time. The distribution of the byrigtūn type suggests that it is the latest of the three forms of the compound; a burhtūn at Boreton could have been replaced by a byrigtūn at Berrington. The majority of places with these names in Mercia developed into DB manors and/or parishes (though only Burton on Trent became a town), and the relatively high administrative status of four of the six Shropshire places accords with the general pattern.

In addition to the six burhtūn , byrigtūn names, Shropshire has Trebirt (Upper and Lower) in Llanfair Waterdine parish, about a mile W. of Offa's Dyke. Early spellings are Treburt 1284 Cl, 1381SRO 552 /1 /20 , Trefburt '1345SRO 552 /1 /11 , and this is an obvious Welsh rendering of Burton.

Names containing OE  burhward 'fort guardian' show a distributional relationship to the burhtūn , byrhtūn , byrigtūn names, and a marked clustering in the Welsh Marches. Shropshire has Broseley and Burwarton (infra ), and the interesting name Treverward in Clun (Treboreward 1284 Cl), which is a Welsh rendering of Burwarton. Also relevant is the compound burh -ēg 'fort-island', which has become Burway near Ludlow. This should be considered in conjunction with three names along the R. Thames (Laleham Burway, Sr, Borough Marsh near Sonning, Berks, Burroway near Bampton, O), which are shown on Fig. 2.

Whatever may be thought about the hypothesis advanced here concerning the significance of these names, it should be noted that there is no obvious explanation for Berrington and Boreton in terms of proximity to prehistoric forts or to more important places with names ending in –byrig .

The parish comprises the townships of Berrington, Betton Abbots, Betton Strange, Brompton, Cantlop and Eaton Mascott. Betton Strange, which was transferred from St Chad's, Shrewsbury, in 1885, has its own TA . The other townships are not treated individually in TA , but the 1″ Index to Tithe Survey map marks their boundaries.

Major Settlements