[DWJ] Brigstow/Bristol (was Big Bad Read)

Charles Butler charlescbutler at btinternet.com
Sun Jun 25 09:31:36 EDT 2006


minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
   
  >Charlie wrote:
>> Interestingly (or perhaps not), the word 'Bristol' is itself an example
>of this. It comes from Bridge Stow (stow meaning 'place' - exciting huh?
>ObDWJ cf 'Stow on the Water'): hence, 'site of a bridge'. But as early as
>1200 it was being written with that extra 'l'. So it's a longstanding
>habit.

>I have a feeling that I saw at some time, on display in St Mary Redcliff
church, some document or other dating from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I
in which the name of the city is spelt Brigstow.

>Maybe the terminal L depended on who was doing the writing. Perhaps if it
was a proper local then he'd've put an L, and if it wasn't, not. Or maybe
it was whether he was South or North Bristolian.
   
  I suspect you may be right! And I'm sure you're right about the -tow(e) ending surviving and co-existing with the '-tol' one for quite a while, at any rate. On the other hand, I took my 1200 spelling of Bristol from the *Oxford Dictionary of Place Names*, which took it from the rolls of the Curia Regis, which was by no means a Bristol-based body - although some Norman knight who'd gone native might I suppose have identified himself on that document as Sir Hubert de Bristol, or something similar. Street cred, and all that.
  
> "Where's us to now then?" is something I have also heard, said by a schoolgirl on a bus in a fog. It isn't just an accent, there are times it's a whole 'nother language.
   
  That one confused me when I first moved to Bristol. For a long time I assumed it translated as 'Where are we going?', whereas (as you'll know) it actually means just 'Where are we?' I'd be interested to hear from anyone knowledgeable about such linguistic matters what the 'to' is doing there.
   
  Charlie
  
 


Website: www.charlesbutler.co.uk


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