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.

Montford

Parish in the County of Shropshire

Historical Forms

  • Maneford 1086 DB
  • Manaforda 1121 SAC
  • Maneford' 1241 Cl 1255-6 Ass
  • Manford 1272 Ipm
  • Manforde 1617 PR(H)
  • Moneford 1203-4 Ass 1695 PR(L)
  • Monford 1381 Pat 1740 PR(H)
  • Muneford 1255-6 Ass
  • Munford 1326 Ipm 1695 Morden
  • Muntford 1255-6 Ass
  • Moleford 1271-2 Ass
  • Mundeford 1386 Cl
  • Mountfort 1412 Pat
  • Mountford c.1540 Leland 1775 PR(L)
  • Monyford 1431 FA
  • Montford 1601 SBL12706
  • Montfort 1741etseqto1768 PR(L) 1741etseqto1793 PR(L)
  • Mondford 1672 PR(L)

Etymology

Many of the references are to the bridge, e.g. pons de Muneford 1255-6Ass , Monfordbrigg 1374 Pat. A bridge here was a traditional meeting-place for English and Welsh potentates when negotiations were required. The bridge presumably superseded the ford of the place-name. Forton in this parish (for which spellings are given supra ) also refers to the ford.

The nature of the first element of Montford is uncertain. A word which would suit the spellings is OE  gemāna . This had a number of meanings, the two which seem most relevant here being 'common property' and 'fellowship, association, society'. The related adjective gemǣne , 'common', which occurs quite frequently in place-names, does not suit so well, as there are no forms with Men -.If gemāna were the first element, the -ā - could be assumed to have been shortened in the compound. The spellings would then be appropriate, as ă regularly becomes ŏ in the west midlands, and u is a regular occasional spelling for ŏ. The meaning may be 'ford where people gather'. The use made of the place for negotiating with Welsh princes in the thirteenth century might have been carrying on an ancient tradition.

DEPN suggests a personal name Manna or the gen.pl. of mann 'man', but either of these should have given some spellings with -nn -.

The development of -t - is probably due to association with French  mont 'hill'. The fame of Simon de Montfort in the thirteenth century may have assisted this association, though evidence for the final element of the place-name being corrupted to -fort is relatively slight. The use of the Montfort spelling in the parish register for some time after 1741 is explained by a note:

“1741 May. Memorandum, in the beginning of this Month His

Majesty was pleased to create Henry Bromley, Esqr., Lord

of this Mannor, a Peer of Great Britain, by the Stile and Title

of Lord Montfort, Baron of Horseheath in the County of

Cambridge, and my Lord at that time by word of Mouth, gave

me Orders to alter the name of the Parish in this Register

according to his Title.”

In a glebe terrier of 1612 (GT) it is stated that “there are 3 small townships in the parish Montford, Forton and Ensdon”. The TA , however, treats the parish as a single unit.

Places in this Parish

Field