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.

Leebotwood

Parish in the County of Shropshire

Historical Forms

  • Botewde 1086 DB 1189 CartAntiq
  • Bottewode 1163-6 HAC
  • Botewd 1189 Templars
  • Botewude 1227 Ch
  • Lega in Bottewode c.1170-6,1253 HAC l.13th ForProc
  • Lega apud Bottewode 1179 HAC
  • Lega 1204-10,1215-c.1230,1243-55,1273 HAC
  • Leg' de Bottewud' 1212 Fees
  • Leg' Bottewode c.1240 SAC
  • Leybotwood 1255 RH
  • Lega, Lega in Botwod' 1255 Ass
  • Leg' Bottewud' 1261-2 ForProc
  • Leye Bottewode 1271-2 ib
  • Legh' Bottewode 1291-2 Ass
  • Leye 1316 FA
  • Leye in Botwode 1320 Ch
  • Leye in Bottewode 1334 SR
  • Lebotwood 1577 Saxton
  • Leebottwood 1647 PR(H) 1730 PR(L)
  • Leebotwood 1713 PR(L)
  • Leabotwood 1730 ib
  • Le Botwood 19th OS
  • Lyebottewode 1372,1458 HAC
  • Lye, Liobottewode 1400 HAC
  • Lye(e) Botwood 1535 VE
  • Libot Wood c.1540 Leland
  • Lybotwood 1549 Pat 1744 PR(H)
  • Libotwood 1552 Pat
  • Liebottwood 1612 PR(L)
  • Bottestret 1185 HAC
  • Botefeld 1185 Templars
  • Botefeld' 1190 P
  • Botesfeld' 1201 Cur
  • Bottefelt 1255 RH
  • Botesfeld' 1271-2 Ass
  • Bottestret 1301 SAC

Etymology

Botwood is 'Botta's wood', and Lee is OE  lēah 'clearing'.

The DB manor of Botewde was assessed at ½ hide and was held since before the Conquest by a man named Auti, who also held a 1-hide estate at Lydley Hays, which is in Cardington parish but adjacent to Leebotwood. The next references to Botwood occur in two sources, the cartulary of Haughmond Abbey and the records of the Knights Templars. The Templars were granted assarts “apud” Botwood in 1189 (the Templars and CartAntiq references, and that of 1227 Ch, concern this grant). The tenor of the document, which lists assarts “apud” a number of places, suggests that Botwood may be the name of a settlement as well as the name of the wood which was assarted. The Templars' estate here is, however, called Bot (t )elegee in the 1185 survey in Templars, where it is closely linked with Lydley, both having been donated by Herbert de Castello of Castle Holdgate.

The Haughmond estate at Botwood is first recorded in 1163-6, when Henry II granted “duas landas in Bottewode et terram in eandem forestam --” to the abbey. Subsequent deeds in HAC record a vigorous policy of assarting by that house. A chapel was given rights of baptism and burial in c.1170-6, before which the settlement had been parochially dependent on Condover. The chapel is called “capella de Lega in Bottewode”, and this is the first certain appearance of the name Lee in connection with this place.After this, the settlement is called 'Lee' or 'Lee in Botwood' or 'Leebotwood'.

A very careful study would be required before an opinion could be formed concerning the relationship between the DB settlement of Botewde , the place where Haughmond Abbey built a chapel, and the Templars' estate of Bot (t )elegee . Another DB estate of 2 hides in the vicinity, which is called Lege , seems to be the place later known as Longnor, adjoining Leebotwood to the north. The impression given is that there were several small settlements in the wood, all called Lege , and that the name of the wood was sometimes used for these.

Bot (t )elegee is one of a number of place-names related to Botwood. In 1255 RH the Templars are said to have a house at Lydley in the wood called Bottewde on Bottestrete . The last name clearly refers to the southward continuation of Watling Street, which is called Bottestret 1185 HAC in this stretch, and in 1301 SAC, at a point 7 miles further south. Botvyle in Cardington parish (G.R.477962) is Botefeld 1185 Templars, Botefeld '1190 P, Botesfeld '1201 Cur, Bottefelt 1255 RH, Botesfeud 1261-2 Forroc , 1301 SAC, Botesfeld '1271-2Ass . The reference to Bottestret in 1301 SAC occurs in the bounds of Bushmoor Hay, and these also mention Bottelowe , which is probably to be equated with Botleymoor Wood in Wistanstow, which adjoins the road.

Botwood is probably the earliest of these names. The southward extension of Watling Street, which ran through the wood, was probably called *Bottanwudustrǣt , which would become ME  Bottestrete by the normal process of dropping the middle element in a three-element compound. Botvyle is probably a shortened version of *Bottanwudufeld , referring to open land south of the wood.Botley(moor), earlier Bottelowe , is probably a shortened version of *Bottanstrǣthlāw , 'tumulus by the Roman road called Bottan (wudu )strǣt '. The Templars' manor of Bot (t )elegee is probably a shortened form of a ME  *Bottewodelege , which would be a sort of forerunner of the eventual name Leebotwood.