PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England


[Image: Excerpt from the Domesday Book]
[Image: Durham Liber Vitae, folio 38r (extract)]


Author: CPL
Editorial Status: unknown

Discussion of the name

The name is Scandinavian in origin (ON Bátsveinn), the common occupational term bátsveinn, meaning ‘boatman’. It was in use as a byname in Sweden and as the name of Viking batswein (genitive Wycinges batswegenes), who witnessed a manumission at Topsham (Devon) c. 1045 (von Feilizten 1937: 193; Tengvik 1938: 238; Pelteret 1990: no. 138). The form of the latter’s name shows that the word had already passed into late Old English as bātswegen. As an independent personal name it is not recorded in PASE other than as the name of a TRE landowner, but was evidently sufficiently in use to give rise to the surname Boatswain (Reaney 1997: 51).


Reaney 1997: P. H. Reaney, A Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd edn with corrections and additions by R. M. Wilson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Tengvik 1938: Gösta Tengvik, Old English Bynames, Nomina Germanica 4 (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells, 1938)

von Feilizten 1937:

Tengvik 1938:

Forms of the name

Spellings in Domesday Book:

Forms in modern scholarship:

von Feilitzen head forms: Batsveinn

Phillimore edition: Batsveinn

Alecto edition: Batsveinn

Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

Holder 1066

Shire Phil. ref. Vill Holder 1066 DB Spelling Holder 1066 Lord 1066 Tenant-in-Chief 1086 1086 subtenant Fiscal value 1066 value 1086 value Holder 1066 ID conf. Show on map
Shropshire 4,19,5 Howle Batsuen Batswein 'of Howle' - Roger, earl Turold de Vesly 2.00 1.00 0.80 A Map
Total               2.00 1.00 0.80  

People of this name

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