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.

Pontesbury

Parish in the County of Shropshire

Historical Forms

  • Pantesberie 1086 DB
  • Pantesburi 1217 Pat
  • Pantesbur' 1255 RH
  • Pantesbyry 1312 Cl
  • Pontesbir' 1203-4 Ass
  • Pontisburi 1310 Ipm
  • Pontisburie 1602 SBL13450
  • Pontisbury 1722,6,34 PR(L)
  • Pauntesbir' 1221-4,71-2 Ass
  • Pantebur' 1242 Fees
  • Pauntebir' 1266 Cl
  • Ponsepre 1454 Fine
  • Ponspery 1619 PR(StA)
  • Pomspry 1752 PR(StA)
  • Ponsburye 1495 Ipm 1746 PR(L)
  • Ponsbrey 1643 PR(H)
  • Ponsburie alias Pontesburie, Ponsburie upon the Hill 1615 SBL6845
  • Pontsburye 1571 PR(H) 1775 PRCardington
  • Ponstbury 1631 PR(H) 1715 PR(L)
  • Ponsborough 1649 SAS4/VII
  • Punsbury alias Pontesbury 1667 SBL9945

Etymology

Pontesbury alias Ponsbury occurs fairly frequently in the 17th cent., but in modern times the longer form has prevailed, with trisyllabic pronunciation. Ponsburie upon the Hill (1615) refers to the squatter settlement outside the village which is described in VCH VIII, pp. 253-4.

Pontesford has the same first element as Pontesbury, and so does Ponteslithe , the old name of Pontesford Hill. In all these three names the element is in the genitive, and this caused DEPN to express a preference for derivation from the OE  personal name Pant . The alternative is to consider Pant to be the British river-name which is evidenced in Essex and (in the form Pont) in Northumberland and Durham. A tributary of the Rea Brook curves round Pontesford Hill, and it is a crossing of this tributary which is referred to in Pontesford. Pontesbury, on the other hand, is a mile away from the stream. It is likely that Pontesbury was originally coined as the name of the village, since the road layout suggests the presence of a pre-Conquest enclosure, which would be the byrig ('fort'). Welsh  pant in the sense 'valley' (as opposed to being used as a river-name) is not appropriate to the situation, and on the whole the OE personal name offers the most satisfactory solution.

VCH VIII 244 lists 21 townships: Arscott, Asterley, Boycott, Cruckmeole, Cruckton, Edge, Farley, Halston, Hinton, Lea, Little Hanwood, Longden, Malehurst, Newnham, Oaks, Plealey, Polmere, Pontesbury, Pontesford, Sascott and Sibberscot. In the Tithe Apportionment, however, Malehurst is included in Pontesbury and Polmere in Newnham, and this arrangement has been followed here.A portion of Onslow which was in Pontesbury until 1934 will be treated with the rest of Onslow parish as part of the Liberties of Shrewsbury. The southernmost township, Oaks, was in Condover Hundred, not Ford, and Little Hanwood was a member of the Liberties of Shrewsbury, but these townships are treated here, as they are integral parts of Pontesbury parish.

Major Settlements