This is a copy of an article published in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 6th April 1998, reproduced by kind permission of the author, the late Desmond Holden.

The “What's in a Name” series was a regular feature in the Advertiser over the period 1993‑2004, taking a refreshing look at the derivation of some typically Derbyshire surnames.

Articles are confined to the origins and meanings of surnames, and do not indicate any particular interest on Desmond's part in the genealogy, descent, or family history of individuals bearing the surnames featured.

Editor's Note: Articles are provided for general interest and background only. They are not intended to provide an exhaustive treatise for any individual family history - investigations of which may yield quite different results. Or, in Desmond's own words:

“In the end it must remain with individual bearers of the names to draw upon family traditions and to seek out such documentary evidence as is available to decide the matter for themselves.”

WHAT'S IN A NAME … Are you called NEWBOLD?

Passengers travelling on the Sheffield - St.Pancras line might look out for a curious three-sided building some 8 miles beyond Market Harborough. It is called the "Triangular Lodge" and stands roughly 300 yards south of the embankment immediately before Rushton. It is closely identified with the remains of another equally curious structure lying some 10 miles east, nearly half-way between Oundle and Brigstock. It was built during the reign of James I (1603-1625) by Sir Thomas Tresham and at the time was called "Lyveden New Bild." (Lyveden is the neighbourhood name. Tresham is indirectly associated with the Gunpowder Plot, was a devout Catholic, and the structures incorporate much religious mysticism.)

At the time the word "bild" (or "bilde", "bulde" or "bulde") meant "construction" or "edifice." It is now entirely replaced with "building". This is a verbal-noun and why the older form was displaced is not clear. The change occurred round about the end of the 14th Century, but by then it had become firmly established in place-names and in the surnames generated therefrom. "Build" as a noun in its own right still survives in a few specialised contexts such as "the build of a ship" while health and fitness enthusiasts like to cultivate an "athletic build".

Confusion is created in that the Old English words such as "blyden" or "bild" have acquired an illogical "-ui-" in their spelling which cannot be properly accounted for. Our first printer Caxton seems to be the culprit. In 1480 he printed "He bylded Canterbury" yet 10 years later in 1490 he presented his readers with "Af thys cyte ben many in doubte who buylde it vppe" (Of this city there are many who have doubts as to who built it).

Before that date it had regularly been spelled as "byld" (1150), "bulden" (1250), "bulde" (1297) and "bylled" (1400) so all that can be suggested that Caxton mis-spelled the word, left it uncorrected in the proofs and it has remained with us ever since!

The practice of establishing "new" settlements was widespread during the Middle Ages. Villages were quite small and the dwellings were roughly thrown together. When circumstances required it, the inhabitants simply abandoned their former dwellings, left them to fall to pieces and re-established themselves on a new site. Re-development also took place through the agency of the local Land Owner, invariably to provide new and slightly out-lying settlements for Estate Workers. This procedure is often recorded in the place-names themselves where the "new buildings" are identified with the title of the Lord of the Manor. Hence in the reign of King John (1199-1216) an Adam de Pasci established "Newbold Pacey" (B4087: 3 miles east of Warwick), and earlier, during the time of King Stephen (1135-1154) Bertram de Verdon built "Newbold Verdon" (Junction of B582/B585 3 miles east of Market Bosworth).

In fact the number of locations described as "New" is extensive. In Derbyshire alone there are over 50 sites, and included is "Newbold" which is our counterpart to the "New Bild" at Lyveden, Northamptonshire. The Domesday Survey (1086) records it as "Newbold" but in what way it was "new" even at that date is something we must leave to local historians to explain. It is now a district on the north side of Chesterfield. The name "Newbold" is particularly belonging to the North-West and the Midlands and so most places are found in Cheshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Notts., Northants., Leicester, Warwick and Worcester. Apart from the examples already given, mention may be made of Newbold in Leicester (3 miles north-east of Ashby-de-la-Zouch), Newbold on Avon (B4112, north of Rugby) and Newbold-on-Stour (A3400 7 miles south of Stratford-on-Avon).

The people who first occupied these "new buildings" would certainly have been known to the people in the vicinity as "the folk who live over in that new place" and out of that the surname "Newbold" or some slight variation has evolved. It coincided with the time when surnames were being created and to be able to have been identified as being from such a place was both straightforward and convenient.

The earliest record appears in Warwick for a Robert de Newebolt (1175) and then in York for John de Newbold (1219). Note that the "de" is not very likely to have any aristocratic connotations. It could simply be the Old English equivalent signifying "from". This is more than likely since the people responsible for creating "New Buildings" would have been the wealthy landowners who already bore established surnames, as we have already seen with regard to "Newbold Pacey" and "Newbold Verdon", etc.

There are well over one hundred entries under "Newbold" in the Local Directories. Variations such as "Newbould", "Newbolt" and "Newbert" (which is really special to Nottingham) also appear. Of the name "Newbold" the most notable personality was Thomas Newbold (1807-1850) born in Macclesfield and a great Asiatic Scholar. In Sheffield originated William Newbould (1819-1886) a distinguished botanist. Greatest of all was Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) the poet. - ("Drake's Drum".)

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From "The Peak Advertiser", 6th April 1998.

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