Bere Regis Village, Dorset
 
Bere Regis Village
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The derivation of the name 'Bere Regis'

There   have   been   several   theories   as   to   the   derivation   of   the   name   Bere.   It   was   at   one   time   thought   to   have   been   derived   from   the   Saxon   word   byri, meaning   a   fortified   place   or   town,   and   now   represented   by   the   suffixes   bury   and   burgh   in   place   names.   Such   an   example   is   Woodbury   Hill,   an   Iron Age   hill   fort   which   would   have   acquired   its   name   for   this   reason   during   Saxon   times.   Another   idea   connected   the   place   name   Bere   (or   Beer   as   it was   formerly   spelt)   with   the   drinkable   type   of   beer   which   is   derived   from   the   word   barley.   Yet   another   theory   attributed   the   origin   to   a   Scandinavian word   meaning   a   group   of   buildings   or   a   farmstead   from   which   the   word   byre   results,   but   this   description   could   have   applied   equally   to   almost   any Saxon village. A   somewhat   less   serious   suggestion   based   on   a   supposed   legend   claims   that   King   John,   on   one   of   his   visits   to   this   parish,   "was   so   delighted   with the   beverage   which   was   set   before   him,   that   he   decreed   that   the   town   should   ever   bear   the   name   Beer,   with   the   addition   of   Regis,   in   token   of   his royal approbation". It   is   now   generally   accepted   that   the   name   is   older   than   Saxon,   and   is   simply   an   old   British   word   Bere   meaning   an   under-wood,   scrub   or   copse, and   such   a   term   would   have   been   particularly   descriptive   of   this   area   from   Roke   right   down   to   Hyde   and   beyond,   consisting   as   it   did   until   recent years   of   expanses   of   marshy   copse   on   either   side   of   the   Bere   stream.   This   is   confirmed   by   the   fact   that   Doddings   was   known   as   Doddingsbere   at least   as   long   ago   as   1303   and   until   as   recently   as   1860,   and   as   a   matter   of   interest,   an   old   deed   of   1460   refers   to   two   closes   (fields)   in Doddyngbyre called le Fount and Hauheshey. Significantly, the large watercress bed west of Doddings Farm is still called Fount. The   latin   suffix   Regis,   meaning   "of   a   king"   or   "belonging   to   a   king"   was   sometimes   added   to   the   name   of   a   town   or   village   in   order   to   denote   that   it formed   part   of   royal   estates,   or,   particularly   in   more   recent   times,   when   the   town   or   village   was   associated   in   some   special   way   with   the   reigning monarch. An example of the latter is Bognor Regis in Sussex which gained its suflix when King George V convalesced there. Our   `Regis'   was   undoubtedly   added   as   a   result   of   the   manor   having   been   Crown   property   from   Saxon   times   until   1259,   during   which   time   it   literally "belonged   to   a   king".   During   this   period   the   reigning   monarch   was   Lord   of   the   Manor,   and   as   such   could   freely   take   up   residence   at   any   time   if   he might   so   choose;   and   as   King   John   took   advantage   of   this   on   at   least   16   occasions,   this   could   be   regarded   as   an   additional   reason   for   the   `Regis' suffix.   On   the   other   hand   Bere   was   by   no   means   the   only   royal   manor;   there   were   30   in   Dorset   alone,   and   King   John   is   known   to   have   visited   at least   21   of   them,   some,   as   in   the   case   of   Gillingham,   Corfe   Castle   and   Cranborne,   more   frequently   than   Bere,   and   yet   they   did   not   acquire   a `Regis' suffix. Moreover,   Bere   does   not   appear   to   have   gained   its   `Regis'   or   `Kings'   component   until   some   time   after   King   John's   reign   (1199-1216).   During   this period   it   appears   as   Bere   or,   in   formal   documents,   in   its   latinised   form   Bera   or   Beram,   and   even   in   1274,   nearly   sixty   years   after   the   end   of   John's reign   it   still   appears   as   Bere.   However,   in   1303   the   anglicised   form   Kingsbere   occurs,   and   seems   to   have   remained   in   general   use   until   the   16th century   when   both   latinised   and   anglicised   forms   were   in   use,   e.g.   Beare   Regis   (1552)   and   Kynges   Bere   (1587).   During   the   17th   and   18th centuries,   a   period   well   covered   by   parish   documents,   it   remained   consistently   as   Beere   Regis,   but   by   the   beginning   of   the   19th   century   this   had become   Beer   Regis   in   which   farm   it   appeared   in   trade   directories   and   other   official   printed   sources,   until   at   least   1842. The   Post   Office   Directory   of 1846 gives the spelling as "Bere Regis or Beer Regis", and these alternatives continued to appear in the directories until 1907.
© 2003, Bere Regis Village Website.
Bere Regis Village
Bere Regis Village Website

The derivation of the name 'Bere Regis'

There   have   been   several   theories   as   to   the   derivation   of   the   name Bere.   It   was   at   one   time   thought   to   have   been   derived   from   the   Saxon word   byri,   meaning   a   fortified   place   or   town,   and   now   represented   by the   suffixes   bury   and   burgh   in   place   names.   Such   an   example   is Woodbury   Hill,   an   Iron   Age   hill   fort   which   would   have   acquired   its name   for   this   reason   during   Saxon   times. Another   idea   connected   the place   name   Bere   (or   Beer   as   it   was   formerly   spelt)   with   the   drinkable type   of   beer   which   is   derived   from   the   word   barley.   Yet   another   theory attributed    the    origin    to    a    Scandinavian    word    meaning    a    group    of buildings   or   a   farmstead   from   which   the   word   byre   results,   but   this description could have applied equally to almost any Saxon village. A   somewhat   less   serious   suggestion   based   on   a   supposed   legend claims   that   King   John,   on   one   of   his   visits   to   this   parish,   "was   so delighted    with    the    beverage    which    was    set    before    him,    that    he decreed    that    the    town    should    ever    bear    the    name    Beer,    with    the addition of Regis, in token of his royal approbation". It   is   now   generally   accepted   that   the   name   is   older   than   Saxon,   and   is simply   an   old   British   word   Bere   meaning   an   under-wood,   scrub   or copse,   and   such   a   term   would   have   been   particularly   descriptive   of this   area   from   Roke   right   down   to   Hyde   and   beyond,   consisting   as   it did   until   recent   years   of   expanses   of   marshy   copse   on   either   side   of the   Bere   stream.   This   is   confirmed   by   the   fact   that   Doddings   was known   as   Doddingsbere   at   least   as   long   ago   as   1303   and   until   as recently   as   1860,   and   as   a   matter   of   interest,   an   old   deed   of   1460 refers    to    two    closes    (fields)    in    Doddyngbyre    called    le    Fount    and Hauheshey.   Significantly,   the   large   watercress   bed   west   of   Doddings Farm is still called Fount. The   latin   suffix   Regis,   meaning   "of   a   king"   or   "belonging   to   a   king"   was sometimes   added   to   the   name   of   a   town   or   village   in   order   to   denote that   it   formed   part   of   royal   estates,   or,   particularly   in   more   recent times,   when   the   town   or   village   was   associated   in   some   special   way with   the   reigning   monarch. An   example   of   the   latter   is   Bognor   Regis   in Sussex    which    gained    its    suflix    when    King    George    V    convalesced there. Our   `Regis'   was   undoubtedly   added   as   a   result   of   the   manor   having been   Crown   property   from   Saxon   times   until   1259,   during   which   time   it literally   "belonged   to   a   king".   During   this   period   the   reigning   monarch was   Lord   of   the   Manor,   and   as   such   could   freely   take   up   residence   at any   time   if   he   might   so   choose;   and   as   King   John   took   advantage   of this   on   at   least   16   occasions,   this   could   be   regarded   as   an   additional reason   for   the   `Regis'   suffix.   On   the   other   hand   Bere   was   by   no   means the   only   royal   manor;   there   were   30   in   Dorset   alone,   and   King   John   is known   to   have   visited   at   least   21   of   them,   some,   as   in   the   case   of Gillingham,   Corfe   Castle   and   Cranborne,   more   frequently   than   Bere, and yet they did not acquire a `Regis' suffix. Moreover,   Bere   does   not   appear   to   have   gained   its   `Regis'   or   `Kings' component    until    some    time    after    King    John's    reign    (1199-1216). During   this   period   it   appears   as   Bere   or,   in   formal   documents,   in   its latinised   form   Bera   or   Beram,   and   even   in   1274,   nearly   sixty   years after   the   end   of   John's   reign   it   still   appears   as   Bere.   However,   in   1303 the   anglicised   form   Kingsbere   occurs,   and   seems   to   have   remained   in general   use   until   the   16th   century   when   both   latinised   and   anglicised forms   were   in   use,   e.g.   Beare   Regis   (1552)   and   Kynges   Bere   (1587). During   the   17th   and   18th   centuries,   a   period   well   covered   by   parish documents,    it    remained    consistently    as    Beere    Regis,    but    by    the beginning   of   the   19th   century   this   had   become   Beer   Regis   in   which farm   it   appeared   in   trade   directories   and   other   official   printed   sources, until   at   least   1842. The   Post   Office   Directory   of   1846   gives   the   spelling as   "Bere   Regis   or   Beer   Regis",   and   these   alternatives   continued   to appear in the directories until 1907.