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.

Redbornstoke Hundred

Hundred in the County of Bedfordshire

Historical Forms

  • Radeburnesoca, Radebernestoch, Radborgestoc, Ratborgestou, Ratborgestoche, Ratberbestoche 1086 DB
  • Reiburgestoch 1156 P
  • Redburnstowe, Redburnestou 1175,1176 P
  • Redburnestoke 1183 P 1202,1227 Ass 1428 FA
  • Redburgestok 1193 P
  • Redeburnestoke 1284 FA
  • Redburghstoke 1284,1346 FA
  • Redbournestoke 1316 FA


It is much to be regretted that we know nothing of the meeting-place of this Hundred, for the name raises great difficulties. The suffix is either stoc or stocc , the reference in the latter case being to the 'tree-stump' at which the meeting took place. There has however clearly been confusion with the suffix stow , a confusion which has its parallel in the case of the lost name Laverkestoke in Bk (PN Bk 241 note). Confusion of this kind is not uncommon in long hundredal names, cf. Wixamtree infra 87. The confusion in the first element of the name is more baffling. On the whole it would seem best to take it as OE  Rǣdburh , a feminine name recorded in LVD and surviving into the 12th cent. If that is correct, Rædburgestoc is one of the few hundredal names in which a woman's name forms the first element. From this point of view it may be compared with the Gloucestershire hundredal name which appears in DB as Celfledetorne , Celfleode , Ceolflede Hundred, which preserves the OE  feminine compound Cēolflǣd . If we accept Rǣdburgestocc , 'Rædburh's tree-stump,' as being the origin of the name, the -burn forms must be interpreted as showing the common confusion of the suffixes burh and burna which is fully illustrated in PN NbDu 270, and would here be facilitated by false association of the name with 'red' and 'bourne.'