Butts Lane

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timbobarnacle
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Butts Lane

Postby timbobarnacle » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:24 pm

I have always assumed that any road or lane name which has Butts in the title refers to archery practice as proscribed by law. However, I have just seen reference to Butts in the 1577 manor court rolls for tarleton and hesketh bank (our village) - this refers to the butts as being strips of land on a boundary


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby Langley » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:40 pm

Hmm - as in "abbuting"... Interesting observation Tim. Another re-enactorism bites the dust?



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Re: Butts Lane

Postby timbobarnacle » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:56 pm

could well nbe a reneactorism or a general assumption - but then I have not read the original document


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby Langley » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:55 pm

Certainly true that many of the words wiht butt in them really are referring to archery practice places of course. We stayed at a camp site near Manorbier this sumer. Butthay Farm. Didn't take long to spot the raised bank up near the village church which would have been ideal! Actually, thinking about it - it was of course right by a boundary between the farm and the village too.



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Re: Butts Lane

Postby Phil the Grips » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:05 pm

timbobarnacle wrote: this refers to the butts as being strips of land on a boundary

Quite possibly a convenient place to put an archery range? If that's the case then the two terms could be almost interchangeable, archery ranges so called because they are on the "butt" land.

Sword schools were banned from the centre of town, and,later, boxing matches, for similar reasons of safety, to keep noise down and to keep rowdiness out of the city centre.


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby Merlon. » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:23 pm

Butt is quite a busy word according to the OED, the majority of the meanings refer to boundaries of one form or another

A terminal point; a boundary-mark, esp. in phr. butts and bounds
A mark for shooting
One of the parallel divisions of a ploughed field contained between two parallel furrows, called also a ‘ridge’, ‘rig’, ‘land’, or ‘selion’.
A measure of land
A small piece of ground disjoined in whatever manner from the adjacent lands. In this sense, a small parcel of land is often called “the butts”’
To fix or mark (out) the limits of (land, etc.) lengthwise, to bound or delimitate as to length; to terminate; to limit, bound. Chiefly in the pass., and esp. in the Conveyancing phrase ‘ to be butted and bounded ’.
To mark out limits (in surveying).
To abut on, upon, against; to touch with the end (cf. bound v.1 3); to adjoin



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Re: Butts Lane

Postby John Waller » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:33 pm

Wikipedia says :-

Several English towns have districts called "The Butts", but they may not always take their names from archery. The Middle English word "butt" referred to an abutting strip of land, and is often associated with medieval field systems.[1] An example is Newington Butts in south London where contrary to popular belief, the 1955 Survey of London published by London County Council could find no historical reference to archery butts.[2] It concluded that the name probably derived from the triangle of land between the roads, as the word "butts" is used elsewhere in Surrey to refer to odd corners or ends of land.[2]


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby timbobarnacle » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:45 pm

interesting, and relevant, I will be amending my talks on archery to suit - thanks for the input


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby EnglishArcher » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:19 pm

My understanding is that using the phrase 'butts' with archery has its roots in men taking their bows into the fields and shooting from one end of the field to the other.

The traditional distance between butts in a field is one furlong ('furrow-long'?) - 220 yards.

Coincidently (or not), this is also the statute distance set for adult shooting in 1542.


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby gregory23b » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:32 pm

That is as may be in some cases, but as has transpired, 'butts' carries with it other meanings that we may have taken for granted to mean archery related. All good stuff.


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby timbobarnacle » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:34 am

my archaologist mother has advised me that if the area is called "butts close" then this is most likely to be the archery practice area - butts lanes tend to be on boundaries.


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby Foxe » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:17 am

EnglishArcher wrote:The traditional distance between butts in a field is one furlong ('furrow-long'?) - 220 yards.

Coincidently (or not), this is also the statute distance set for adult shooting in 1542.


It's also conveniently measurable as it's ten surveyors' chains.

FWIW, I used to live on a road called 'The Butts', which was long and straight, but was also the road leading out of town. Either or both applications might apply. I never shot my bow down the street, but I did shoot passing cyclists with wet tissue from a model mangonel my grandfather made me.


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Re: Butts Lane

Postby Polly Victorian » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:31 am

The Concise English Dictionary (compiled by Dr Charles Annandale, published 1918) gives the etymology of the word "butt" as Old French meaning "the end or extremity of a thing".

The long list of definitions includes "an irregularly shaped piece of land, as an outlying piece left unploughed at the end of a field".


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