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Canny lass

Origin Of The Bedlington Name [Split From: The Nail]

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Well, as I remember, it's in my historical atlas on a couple of distant dates (at least once as Belintun ?)

Interesting to read that the place name has previously been documented with the ending –tun! I've long suspected that the Geordie dialect stems from Old Norse and, according to the oracle (Wikipedia) 'ton' is usually a corruption of 'tun', which meant farm or hamlet. The oracle is probably right as tún, in icelandic means 'a fenced in piece of land around a dwelling´ (Isländsk/Svensk Ordbok Rabén Prisma 7th edition 1994).

The language of Iceland, which has developed from Old Norse, has changed very little since Viking times as they strive to keep the language pure – free from infiltration by other languages and you would be amazed at the number of words from Old Norse that have found their way into the Geordie dialect. I believe therefore that the name Bedlington may have its roots in the old Norse language. In the Scandinavian languages place names very often reflect the surrounding nature. The name of my home, to take a simple example, is Nordlid which means 'north slope', and that's exactly what it is. I live high up on a hill which slopes down towards the north.

If we take the name Bedlington and break it down into syllables, the first syllable, bed-, could possibly be derived from an Icelandic word - beð, meaning a flowery meadow (the word lives on in English in flower bed). The second syllable, ling-, isn't too distant from the Icelandic word Lind, meaning Linden, the tree Tilea Europea. Try saying Bedlington quickly or the way most Bedlingtonians say it and the 'g' isn't heard at all. The g almost becomes a d –Bedlindton. The third syllable –ton is most certainly derived from tún, which, as I mentioned earlier means a fenced in piece of land around a dwelling. So Bedlington may well have started off as a solitary dwelling in a flowery meadow with Linden (lime) trees and developed into a settlement during the Viking period in Britain.

Edited by Canny lass

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I agree with the "tun” Canny Lass but I assume Bedlington gets its name from the chieftain Bedla, who I believe was 7th century so your Norse influences would certainly apply.

It's an easy assumption that the area was one called Bedla's Tun, the enclosed area belonging to Bedla, and from there Bedl..ing..ton.

If we can get this 'nailed' (sorry couldn't resist given the topic title) I would like to include an explanation of the name in our Heritage project.

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I agree with the "tun†Canny Lass but I assume Bedlington gets its name from the chieftain Bedla, who I believe was 7th century so your Norse influences would certainly apply.

It's an easy assumption that the area was one called Bedla's Tun, the enclosed area belonging to Bedla, and from there Bedl..ing..ton.

If we can get this 'nailed' (sorry couldn't resist given the topic title) I would like to include an explanation of the name in our Heritage project.

Thanks Malcolm. I'd like to know more about this chieftain Bedla. Can't find anything on the Internet except a mushroom and an Indian clan. Does he pop up in any literature? Was he British or Scandinavian? If he was Scandinavian then the chances are strong that a genitive 's' would have been included in the place name, as in Grimsby which literally means Grim's by (by = village in Swedish or town in Norwegian). The differing practices regarding the retention of the genitive ,s' in English and the Scandinavian languages can be demonstrated more clearly with surnames. The English language removes the genitive as in Peterson, Harryson, Johnson, meaning Peter's son, Harry's son and John's son. In the Scandinavian languages the genitive 's' is retained: Petersson, Harrysson, Johnsson.

I'll see what I can find out from the language faculty in Gothenburg next time I'm there. May take a while though.

Edited by Canny lass

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"The place-name "Bedlington" is first attested circa 1050 in a biography of Saint Cuthbert, where it appears as "Bedlingtun". The name means "the town of Bedla's people".[3]”

(Unbelievable but.....!)

(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilert_Ekwall

Do Swedish libraries work the same way UK ones do……………you might get the real info there Canny Lass?

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Bit more CL............

Simeon of Durham, a church historian of the late 11th and the early 12th century wrote that

Cutheard, the last Bishop of Lindisfarne and the first of Chester-le-Street ( 900-915)

purchased with the patrimony of St Cuthbert the 'ville' of Bedlington with its appendences;

Nedderton, Grubbo, Twizle, Cubbington, Slikeburn and Camboise (Hodgson 1832, 349).

Grubbo and Twizle......anyone??????

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Probably a little later than this purchase, an earth barrow kerbed with stones was constructed overlooking the coast within one of the 'appendences' of Bedlington at Cambois (HER 12074).

The barrow was opened in 1859 and found to contain the skeletons of a middle-aged man and woman and of a man in his 20s. An enamelled bronze brooch and a bone comb, both of distinctively Scandinavian type, were found within the graves. They are clearly pagan burials, and contrast with the only other evidence for Scandinavian influence in the area which is a sculptured slab which was set ex-situ into the external east face of the nave of the Parish Church of St Cuthbert at Bedlington (HER 11764). This abraded stone, first noted in 1921-2, shows two haloed figures-one holding a staff and a book, the other a rod. It is unlike other sculpture from Northumberland and has been compared to Anglo-Scandinavian work from the Tees Valley which would suggest that it was made in the 10th century. The barrow and the slab both speak eloquently of the fluidity of belief and of settlement in the area.

The form of the Early-Medieval settlement at Bedlington is unknown. The name is of little help in establishing this, but it would certainly seem to be of Anglo-Saxon derivation, probably meaning the farmstead of Bedel or Betla (Mawer 1920, 15; Watson 1970, 160).

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"The place-name "Bedlington" is first attested circa 1050 in a biography of Saint Cuthbert, where it appears as "Bedlingtun". The name means "the town of Bedla's people".[3]â€

(Unbelievable but.....!)

(3) http://en.wikipedia....i/Eilert_Ekwall

Do Swedish libraries work the same way UK ones do……………you might get the real info there Canny Lass?

Thats very interesting Malcolm. The theory i put earlier looks more probable with what you mention now.

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I agree with the "tun†Canny Lass but I assume Bedlington gets its name from the chieftain Bedla, who I believe was 7th century so your Norse influences would certainly apply.

It's an easy assumption that the area was one called Bedla's Tun, the enclosed area belonging to Bedla, and from there Bedl..ing..ton.

If we can get this 'nailed' (sorry couldn't resist given the topic title) I would like to include an explanation of the name in our Heritage project.

That is exactly right (ton)

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Grubbo and Twizle......anyone??????

There was a Twizle Farm Cottage just outside of Morpeth on the way to Stannington in the 60's but I think it was demolished when they built Searles factory. I found a mention of Twizle on one of the sites you pasted a link to (great site by the way):

"Other twisels in the north include Twizel near Berwick, Twizle near Morpeth and Twizell between Chester le Street and Stanley".

www.englandsnortheast.co.uk

www.englandsnortheast.co.uk/PlaceNameMeaningsEtoJ.html

Drew a blank on Grubbo though.

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Maybe Canny Lass can get us the definitive explanation.......if Sweden has public libraries?

We certainly do have public libraries but nowhere on the scale of Britain's library system. We are just a couple of million tax-payers keeping this long, oblong country solvent and moving! The network of roads needed to get people to the libraries devours a great deal of the taxes. I have a round-trip of 200 km to the nearest reference library of any quality. Mind you, should i choose to, I can take a taxi to the nearest bus stop for the same price as a bus ticket. The government is very kind!! Then we have a book bus! Comes once a month but you have to know what book you want so that they can have it on the bus. There's no way I can do a computer search on the bus and if it's a work of reference I'm after they can't supply it. I have to go into the library. Uni students have the priviledge of being able to log in to the system and search from home but once your studies are finished that priviledge is withdrawn. I've never understood why the system can't be open to everyone.

This is why I said it may take some time.

Edited by Canny lass

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The form of the Early-Medieval settlement at Bedlington is unknown. The name is of little help in establishing this, but it would certainly seem to be of Anglo-Saxon derivation, probably meaning the farmstead of Bedel or Betla (Mawer 1920, 15; Watson 1970, 160).
This could be a tough cookie to crack! According to the site mentioned earlier, www.englamdsnortheast.co.uk an important clue to the early settlement of Anglo-Saxons lies in the place names they left behind. The author claims that most of the place names in the north east region are Anglo-Saxon in their origin and mentions in particular that "almost all places ending in 'ton' or 'ham' are of Anglo-Saxon origin."That would suggest that Bedlington is Anglo-Saxon in origin.

However, looking at the ending -ton purely from an etymological angle there are other possibilities. English, German and Dutch together with all the Scandinavian languages belong to the same language family but have developed along two different paths, one toward the west and one toward the north. In all of these languages there has a been a word with a similar meaning to the ending -ton, as in Bedlington. England has been invaded many times and every invasion has left its mark on the English language.

If we trace the development of the word town, we find it started its journey meaning enclosure and went on to mean garden, then cluster of buildings on a piece of enclosed land, then farmstead, and finally a cluster of buildings (not necessarily enclosed). All these changes in meaning happened approximately, as far as researchers can demonstrate, between 700 -1100 AD, a period in the history of english language which we call Old English.

Where the word came from is difficult to pinpoint but in Old English the word was tun, as was also the word for town in Old Saxon, the forerunner of the present day German language. Old High German also had a word zun with the related meaning fence or hedge and Old Norse, the forerunner of the Scandinavian languages had tún. Just to complicate the matter the latter was thought possibly to have some relationship to the celtic word dun in placenames or even the welsh word din, meaning a fortified place.(Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology: OUP 1996)

So I think the best way to go is to find out who Bedla (?Bedel, ?Betla) was and where he originated from. I'm in London for a couple of days from tomorrow and if I get time I'll try and get into the library and see what I can find out.

Edited by Canny lass

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I wonder if everyone is missing the obvious here, and the name of our town is in fact derived from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bede ? :)

It's not as if we don't have very strong connections with Durham, and on the old maps we are marked as a tight enclosure of the Bishop's territory within Northumberland.

----------

-ling

  1. A diminutive modifier of nouns having either the physical sense of "a younger, smaller or inferior version of what is denoted by the original noun", or the derived sense indicating possession of or connection with a quality, which may having the sense of "a follower or resident of what is denoted by the stem form".
  2. (as an adverb) In the manner or direction indicated by the main stem (object.)

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-ling

----------

From Old Norse tún.

  • Noun

tun n (singular definite tunet, plural indefinite tun)

  1. (dated) an enclosed piece of ground

----------

So Bedeling-tun became contracted into Bedlington? Hardly a giant leap for an etymologist!

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Not sure that's going to be old enough GGG?

Why not? It's certainly another possibility but I agree that much depends on just when the name first saw the light of day.

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Why not? It's certainly another possibility but I agree that much depends on just when the name first saw the light of day.

Hmmm...........yes..........just looked at Bede's history, possibly born around 673 so might just fit.

Sorry GGG I though he was born much later.

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This is an intriguing subject, especially:

"....a sculptured slab which was set ex-situ into the external east face of the nave of the Parish Church of St Cuthbert at Bedlington (HER 11764). This abraded stone, first noted in 1921-2, shows two haloed figures-one holding a staff and a book, the other a rod. It is unlike other sculpture from Northumberland and has been compared to Anglo-Scandinavian work from the Tees Valley which would suggest that it was made in the 10th century."

Does this still exist?

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This could be a tough cookie to crack! According to the site mentioned earlier, www.englamdsnortheast.co.uk an important clue to the early settlement of Anglo-Saxons lies in the place names they left behind. The author claims that most of the place names in the north east region are Anglo-Saxon in their origin and mentions in particular that "almost all places ending in 'ton' or 'ham' are of Anglo-Saxon origin."That would suggest that Bedlington is Anglo-Saxon in origin.

However, looking at the ending -ton purely from an etymological angle there are other possibilities. English, German and Dutch together with all the Scandinavian languages belong to the same language family but have developed along two different paths, one toward the west and one toward the north. In all of these languages there has a been a word with a similar meaning to the ending -ton, as in Bedlington. England has been invaded many times and every invasion has left its mark on the English language.

If we trace the development of the word town, we find it started its journey meaning enclosure and went on to mean garden, then cluster of buildings on a piece of enclosed land, then farmstead, and finally a cluster of buildings (not necessarily enclosed). All these changes in meaning happened approximately, as far as researchers can demonstrate, between 700 -1100 AD, a period in the history of english language which we call Old English.

Where the word came from is difficult to pinpoint but in Old English the word was tun, as was also the word for town in Old Saxon, the forerunner of the present day German language. Old High German also had a word zun with the related meaning fence or hedge and Old Norse, the forerunner of the Scandinavian languages had tún. Just to complicate the matter the latter was thought possibly to have some relationship to the celtic word dun in placenames or even the welsh word din, meaning a fortified place.(Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology: OUP 1996)

So I think the best way to go is to find out who Bedla (?Bedel, ?Betla) was and where he originated from. I'm in London for a couple of days from tomorrow and if I get time I'll try and get into the library and see what I can find out.

Went into the British Library on Euston Road but wasn't allowed to even look at a book as I couldn't produce an electricity- or gas bill. This is perfectly true! To use the library I had to register. To register I had to produce one item from each of 2 lists. One Item containing my signature and one item containing my adress. I only had my passport to show my signature. Unfortunately I didn't have the required gas/electricity bill with me with which to prove my adress so I couldn't register. I tried to argue that my electricity bill would be of no use, as it wasn't in English, and was informed that "we have translators." What's Britain coming to? (I've now packed an electricity bill in anticipation of my next visit).

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Went into the British Library on Euston Road but wasn't allowed to even look at a book as I couldn't produce an electricity- or gas bill. This is perfectly true! To use the library I had to register. To register I had to produce one item from each of 2 lists. One Item containing my signature and one item containing my adress. I only had my passport to show my signature. Unfortunately I didn't have the required gas/electricity bill with me with which to prove my adress so I couldn't register. I tried to argue that my electricity bill would be of no use, as it wasn't in English, and was informed that "we have translators." What's Britain coming to? (I've now packed an electricity bill in anticipation of my next visit).

It could have been a lot worse Canny Lass, they could have asked you to PAY an Electricity or Gas Bill

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Went into the British Library on Euston Road but wasn't allowed to even look at a book as I couldn't produce an electricity- or gas bill. This is perfectly true! To use the library I had to register. To register I had to produce one item from each of 2 lists. One Item containing my signature and one item containing my adress. I only had my passport to show my signature. Unfortunately I didn't have the required gas/electricity bill with me with which to prove my adress so I couldn't register. I tried to argue that my electricity bill would be of no use, as it wasn't in English, and was informed that "we have translators." What's Britain coming to? (I've now packed an electricity bill in anticipation of my next visit).

Chuffing jobsworths! :thumbsdown:

The country is full of them CL...........there is no independent thought anymore!

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Chuffing jobsworths! :thumbsdown:

The country is full of them CL...........there is no independent thought anymore!

Maybe... if Canny Lass had produced her copy of the Koran, and said that she was researching the architecture of the Early British Mosque? :P

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What about those who have leccy slot meters? How can they be issued with paper bills when their payments are by shoving a shilling* in the meter?

* or whatever those thing take these days.

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What about those who have leccy slot meters? How can they be issued with paper bills when their payments are by shoving a shilling* in the meter?

* or whatever those thing take these days.

And most progressive outfits are shifting away from expensive dead-tree shipping anyway.

Here's an idea for a new Bedlington based enterprise:

Instant On-line Utility Bills. "Just type in your details and we'll bill you anywhere you want for any service you want. Print to your printer or receive a .pdf on your smartphone. Available in any language you select (we have translators)."

The natural name for the enterprise.... jobsworthutilitybills.com :D

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