Since publishing our History page  we received some welcome feedback from Philip Beddows who has done some research about the “The origin of the name Edenhope”.  I thought this information deserves its own special page and our way of saying thank you to Philip for sharing his research with us.

He says, In fact there is an original Edenhope, located just inside Shropshire, on the border of Wales, next to Offa’s Dyke.

It was known in earlier times, and in Welsh, as ‘Ednop’, and my family lived here from at least the later 1200s into the 1600s, and perhaps beyond that. There is ‘Lower Edenhope’ and ‘Upper Edenhope’ – the former is the main property, the latter a smaller one up the valley of the Unk, a short distance to the west.

This map shows the location:  Edenhope Hill in Shropshire

One of my forebears – Gruffudd Unbais was recorded at Ednop in the late 13th / early 14th century; his father Llywelyn also seems to have already have been there too.

The word ‘Hope’ appears in place names in Shropshire – here are some examples: Hope Dale, Hope Bagot, Hope Bowdler, Hopesay, Hope, Hope Valley and Hopton.

One source (page 9 of Milton’s Places of Hope: Spiritual And Political Connections of Hope With Land, by Mary Fenton) provides this explanation of the name:

“The Old NOrse noun, ‘hop’ is a piece of enclosed land in the midst of fens, marshes, or wasteland generally; an inlet, small bay, haven. The Old English ‘hop’ designates a ‘side valley opening off a main valley, a secluded valley, a remote enclosed place.”(note 9 – source: Oxford English Dictionary). Later she writes about Herefordshire, with a note reference underneath as follows:
(Note 11 – County Map of Hereford in British Library Maps C.7.c.1, reprinted in PDA Harvey ed, ‘Maps in Tudor England’, Chicago University Press, 1993): “Many of the names that incorporate ‘hope’ are of course near rivers located near mountains (hence, the formation of valleys), especially near Wales, in places such as Shropshire County which has Hope Bowdler, Hope Bagot, Hope’s Gate, Hopesay Hill, representing the Old English HOP, meaning ‘an enclosed valley.’ However, other place names that use hope reflect the Old Norse (hop) meaning of ‘a bay, inlet, or enclosure in a fen/marshland.’

This extract from a history of Hope Bowdler provides another description of the origin of the word ‘Hope’:

“‘Hope’ describes the small upland valley enclosed between Hope Bowdler and Hazler hills to the north and west and the highest parts of Haywood common (in Eaton-under-Heywood) to the south-east. There are many such hopes in south Shropshire and before 1066 the vill was distinguished (presumably by the name of an otherwise unrecorded Saxon) as Fordritishope. Probably during the 12th century it was renamed Hope Bollers or Buthlers from the family name (Boullers) of the lords of the honor of Montgomery.”

I hope (no pun intended!!) that this is helpful to you. Ednop / Edenhope in Shropshire is a very beautiful place, with its Edenhope Hill above.

Kind regards

Philip Beddows

More info:  received 10/7/13 from Philip:

Richard Morgan’s book on welsh placenames (he is a former archivist from Powys).
Edenhope :
Etenhop – 1086, Domesday
Edenhope : 1272
1155: Ednob : = the welsh form……corresponds like Cascob, with ‘b’ said as a ‘p’, as in Ednop.

Morgan gave this as the original derivation of the name:
Eadahope = Eada’s valley.

Eada is clearly a Mercian name. Edenhope is almost on Offa’s Dyke; so the name suggests Mercian (Anglo-Saxon) settlement at an early time in the area. In truth the border was extremely fluid and porous. Most of Shropshire was a part of the older area of the ancient British/Welsh kingdom of Powys – it’s capital, now called Shrewsbury was then called ‘Pengwern’ (Hill of Alders) and known in Welsh today as ‘Amwythig’ (Fortified Place). Pengwern was one of the ‘three courts of Powys’. The poetry of Llywarch Hen recorded the end of this part of Powys in two mournful and very moving elegies for Cynddylan, ‘the eagle of Pengwern’, and the song of Heledd his sister, telling of her feelings at seeing her brothers killed and the land ravaged.

Bits are reproduced here:

So, the Mercians pushed west and finally King Offa built his dyke. Ednop / Edenhope remained on the English side, but it and surrounding lands remained a mix of English and Welsh, with many place & field names Welsh. The Normans added to the mixture. William the Conqueror tended to place on the border those of his magnates whose lands in Normandy were on the Breton Marches i.e. borders; or were Bretons from his army. The thinking was that they would be used to these Britons whose temperament and Welsh language was so similar to their Breton cousins.

Any other comments or information is very welcome.


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