The origin of the name 'Bagshot'

The first part of the name probably derives from BACGA (or Baga or Bacca), either a personal name, that of a tribe, or of a small wild animal (badger or fox).  

I have come across two suggestions for the second part ("shot") which appears in quite a few local place names (as in Bagshot, Aldershot, Greyshot).  One suggestion is that it derives from an Old English word SCEAT meaning an angle, corner or strip of land, or land of a different type to that which surrounds it. The other that it is a corruption of the early Anglo-Saxon word "Scheatte"  (or shat) roughly meaning "the tribe of".

So that gives us alternatives that Bagshot is "the tribe of Baga/Bacca" or just "Bacca's tribe" and probably stemming from saxon settlers over 1300 years ago.  Or that the name derives from a wood inhabited by badgers or foxes and situated in the corner of the joining of some Roman roads, or in the angle formed where one makes a change of direction, or simply a distinct area of land. And that the name was then taken by a settlement started in a clearing in this wood.

The Dictionary of English Placenames gives:

There are early Norman references to an extensive wood called Bagshot near one of our neighbouring villages.

One expert has written to me: "The archaeology of Bagshot is fascinating. It is highly  likely that the village has more of a Romano-British and prehistoric precedent than previously thought. Its Anglo-Saxon name could represent either a 'new people' in the area or a new dominant authority. A friend of mine has pointed out the likelihood of the Bag/Badger connection discussed on the 'Bagshot origins' page. This would represent a contrast to the surrounding villages which draw their names from persons of high status! Why this is is open to all sorts of interpretation."

Variations on the name are recorded at different times, among them:
1195    Bachesheta
1164 & 1204   Bagsheta
1253   Baggeshete
14th C Bagshotte

The "Gough" map of 1360 clearly marks Bagshot with today's spelling, albeit with the flamboyant Medieval shape to the s looking more like an f.

One correspondent described a theory he is developing that there might be connections between Old English and Sanskrit.  According to his theory these old forms of Bagshot could have a derivation in BHIKSHA (related to "begging" and "track of land") or BHIKSHU (related to bushes / plants).


Information about the origins of Bagshot as a community is on a separate page.

The contribution of several correspondents to the information presented here is acknowledged with thanks. It all started with a new resident to Bagshot who asked a question that had never occurred to me. "I have just moved to Bagshot. Loving it! I am intrigued to know what 'shot' means - as in Bag-shot, Alder-shot, Grey-shot, etc. Hope you can help."

Other questions, and answers, about the locality can be found here.

Many of my pages have been prompted by, or include questions or information from, my readers. If you can add anything to the above please write to me using the message pad below.

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