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.

Smethcott

Parish in the County of Shropshire

Historical Forms

  • Smerecote 1086 DB
  • Smethecot' 1203-4 Ass 1421 Cl
  • Smethcot' 1255 RH
  • Smethcote 1255-6,71-2 Ass 1416 AD
  • Smithecote 1376 Pat
  • Smircote 1577 Saxton
  • Smyrcoat 1722 PR(L)
  • Smythcott 1649 SAS4/VII

Etymology

'Cottages of the smiths'. OE  smið had in Anglian dialects a gen.pl. smeoða , which accounts for the -e - of most of the spellings and of the modern form. The Smircote , Smyrcoat variants are curious. There can hardly be a direct connection between them and the DB Smerecote , which is probably a simple mistake. A possible explanation is mooted below.

The parish of Smethcott contains the two townships of Picklescott and Betchcott, making an interesting concentration of names with cot as generic.

There is another Smethcott in Hadnall parish, first recorded c.1220. The spellings are similar to those summarised above, except that there is no sign of the -r - form. Smethcott in Wroxeter parish is not recorded till 1535, but is probably an ancient name of the same origin.

Both the Smethcotts which are recorded in ME have a few forms in which þ is written for -th -. This happens in 1255 and 1261-2 for the parish, and in some not-precisely-dated 13th-cent. forms for the Hadnall name. It is possible that þ was seen in ancient documents and was mistaken for a long r , and that this gave rise to the Smircote variant.

There were three townships, Smethcott, Betchcott and Picklescott. The bounds of Betchcott are shown on the Tithe Survey Index map, but the division between Picklescott and Smethcott is not observed in TA , so the assignment of areas to these two is an approximate one, based on hints in VCH VIII 146ff.

Major Settlements