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.

Wellington

Parish in the County of Shropshire

Historical Forms

  • Walitone 1086 DB
  • Walintona 1121 SAC
  • Walyntona 1138 SAC
  • Welintun c.1145 SAC 1455 SBL4441
  • Weledon' 1177 P
  • Welington' 1177 P
  • Welington 1286 Cl c.1540 Leland 1729 PR(L)
  • Welyngton 1322 Pat 1455 SBL4441
  • Weliton' 1192,3,9 P
  • Welyton 1377 Fine
  • Wolinton' 1195etfreqto1214 P
  • Wellinton' 1224 Cur
  • Wellinton 1255 RH
  • Wellynton 1284 Cl 1577 Saxton
  • Wellington 1244 Ch 1535 VE
  • Whelynton 1392 Pat
  • Wyllynton 1535 VE
  • Walington 1553 Pat
  • Wollington 1713 PR(L)
  • Welintone sub monte Gileberti 1232 SAC
  • Welynton' subter le Wrekne 1337-8 ForProc
  • Welyngton under the Wrekyn 1489 Ipm
  • Wellyngton beneath le Wrekyn 1547 Pat

Etymology

There are four Wellingtons, one of the others being in Somerset and the remaining two in Herefordshire. The Somerset example occurs in the forms Weolingtun , Welingtun in a charter of A.D. 904, and there can be no doubt that - or Wĕolingtūn was the OE form. The etymology has not been ascertained.

An -ingtūn formation from a personal name *Wēola is possible. The occurrence of four examples could be explained in the manner suggested under Detton for the recurring Dodingtūn , Dun (n )ingtūn compounds; but this hypothesis assumes that an otherwise unrecorded personal name was sufficiently common in the west of England to produce four place-names.

In Notes and Queries 219 (1974), p. 124, E.J. Dobson discusses a ME  adjective weolie , suggesting derivation from an OE  *wēol meaning 'artifice'. If there were such a noun, a derivative *wēoling could have been coined as a term for a mechanical device, and a Wēolingtūn could be a settlement where such a device was in operation.

The suggestion in DEPN of an -ingas name based on the place-name Wēohlēah , 'grove with a heathen temple', is open to serious objections. The spellings of these four names give no indication of -inga-, and geographically they are well to the west of the established distribution of place-names which contain references to Anglo-Saxon paganism.

The Sa Wellington was sometimes distinguished by reference to the Wrekin. Forms with affixes include Welintone sub monte Gileberti 1232 SAC, Welynton ' subter le Wrekne 1337-8ForProc , Welyngton under the Wrekyn 1489 Ipm, Wellyngton beneath le Wrekyn 1547 Pat.

This is a difficult parish to handle within the traditional framework of EPNS county surveys. The Victoria History of Shropshire , Vol. XI, p. 197, describes Wellington as an old market town, second only to the county town in size and importance, which was the centre of a large and varied parish, with its easternmost townships developing as loose-knit mining and industrial areas. This means that before the creation of Telford there were three levels of development reflected in the place- names: the early landscape of subsistence farming, the commercial activities of the market town, and the installations of early industrialisation. For the purposes of the present work it would be impractical to take cognisance of the fourth level imposed by the new town.

Major Settlements