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.

Bullingdon Hundred

Hundred in the County of Oxfordshire

Historical Forms

  • Bulesden' 1179–91 P
  • Bulesdon' 1192 P
  • Buledene 1180–1 P
  • Buleden' 1189–90 P
  • Bulleden 1205 P
  • Buleden 1285 Ass
  • Bulenden' 1219 Fees 1284–5 FA
  • Bolendena 1231 Bract 1354 Ipm
  • Bolesden 1236 Cl
  • Bul(l)ingdene 1275–6 RH
  • Soterlawa 1188 P
  • Schotelawa 1192 P
  • Toteslaw' 1199 P
  • Soteleu 1219 Fees


Bullingdon consisted originally of two hundreds, both dependent on the royal manor of Headington. The southern part of the modern hundred was called Bulenden , and what must have been roughly the northern part was called Shoteslaw . Interesting light is thrown on the etymology of the latter name, and the position of the place to which it refers, by two hitherto unnoted forms in the Osney Cartulary. The forms are Shotteslawa c. 1166 (c. 1198) and Soteslawiam a. 1175 (c. 1198), and they refer to a place, not a hundred, the context of the first being “in uilla Cestretone…iuxta Shotteslawa.” This (i.e. near Chesterton) is a suitable position for the meeting place of the northern part of Bullingdon Hundred, but precludes the association of the name with that of Shotover made by Professor H. M. Cam in her article on The Hundred outside the North Gate of Oxford and by Anderson (223). The -s – of these two forms, moreover, points to a personal name as first element, probably the unrecorded Scēot conjectured by Ekwall (DEPN) as the first element of Shoreston Nb and Shottisham Sf. The etymology is thus '*Scēot 's tumulus,' v. hlāw . The hundred name appears as Soterlawa 1188 P, Schotelawa 1192 P, Toteslaw '1199 P, Soteleu 1219 Fees.

The original form of the name of Bullingdon Hundred remains uncertain. Professor Cam objects to the traditional association with Bullingdon Green in Horspath on the grounds that it is too near Shotover, which she considers the meeting place of the northern part of the hundred. This argument ceases to be valid since the northern hundred met, not at Shotover, but near Chesterton at the lost Shotteslawa . But on the evidence of the forms Professor Cam's suggestion that the meeting place of the southern hundred was Bullsdown Barn in Wheatley may be correct. It can only be said that the three forms with -s - support this view, and those with -n - suggest association with Bullingdon Green. Both names could contain a strong and weak form, Bul (l ) and Bul (l )a , of an unrecorded personal name, but the first element of Bullingdon could be 'bull.' The second element of Bullingdon is denu , later confused with dūn .