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.


Major Settlement in the Parish of Blyth

Historical Forms

  • Baltry 1199 Ch 1232
  • Baltrie 1293 Ch
  • Baltri 1329 Roche
  • Baltre 1362 Nost27
  • Bautre 13 Ch 1316 YI 1247 RH 1276 YI 1279 Ebor 1281 QW 1293 Top 14 WillY 1506
  • Bautr' 1323 MinAcct
  • Beutre 1230 P
  • Beautre 1258 RegAlbiii,47 1284 YI 1447,1459 Pat
  • Bawtre 1404 YDxvi,88 1414 BM 1448 Pat 1555 YDxii,108
  • Bawtres 1516 FF
  • Bawtree 1548 WillY
  • Bawtry(e) 1548 YChant 1567 Linds 1567 YDxii,108 1641 Rates
  • Bawtrey 1594 FF
  • Bawetre 1442,1446 Pat 1492 FF
  • Baweltrye 1562 WillY


The oldest forms clearly point to Bal -; the ME  forms in Bau -, Beau - arise from French influence (v. IPN 113); the later forms in Baw - are due to regular dialectal vocalisation of Balt - to Bawt - (cf. Phonol. § 6). Various interpretations have been suggested for this difficult name, including different OE  pers.ns., Baldþryð (Moorman), Balthere (Goodall), and Balda (Ekwall, DEPN s.n.), combined with OE  trēow 'a tree'. Hunter makes a further suggestion that it is from MedLat  bouteria 'limitation' in allusion to Bawtry being a 'border- town' on the YW-Nt boundary. Of these Ekwall's derivation from an unrecorded OE  Balda best fits the spellings. But it is not improbable that the first el. is a descriptive word connected with OE  *ball 'a ball' and used of a tree 'rounded like a ball'. This could be either the word ball itself (as in Balbush f.n. (Clotherholme) pt v, (Studley Roger) pt. v, and perhaps Bow Broom 115, le Bawtree Carr ii, 248) or an adj. derivative which is found as ME  ballede 'rounded like a ball' or 'smooth like a ball, bald', that is, 'bare of leaves' (as in As You Like It iv, iii, 106, 'an old Oake whose…high top bald with drie antiquitie'). The latter word ballede is common with busc , buskr 'bush' in p.ns. and f.ns. such as Balledbusc (Tadcaster East) pt. iv, Balledthorn (Tockwith) pt. iv, Bald Busk (Addingham) pt. vi, Balledebusk (Thorpe) pt. vi, infra . Bawtry probably therefore means 'tree rounded like a ball' from OE  ball and trēow , though ballede is also possible with an assimilation of the medial dentals -dt - to -t -.