We’re fascinated by names, personal names and place names, and we happened to wonder what the ‘try’ part of places such as Coventry and Daventry means. Is it different from the Tre- prefix from Cornwall in Cornish names which means settlement? I can’t find a definitive answer – I must ask the leader of a group I attend about Anglo-Saxon English, because not only does he know a great deal about Anglo-Saxon, he knows a great deal about other languages and the origin of language too!
The suffix ‘try’ might mean simply ‘tree’; trees were important in the past as markers and pointers and also in their own right for an ancient religious significance. There are place names such as Braintree, Manningtree and Elstree (trees or markers associated with people, Brain/Brian/Bran, Man/Mann, Elle) in the south-east of England, as well as Appletree and Appletreewick, and Plumtree and a Faintree in Shropshire. There are also other ‘tree’ places names such as Rattery (red tree) in Devon and Warter (gallows-tree) in Yorkshire. Maybe the ‘tree’ was not an actual living tree but a wooden cross, or beam a, maybe on the site of an original ‘holy’ tree. This may suggest that there was a significance going back before the Saxons, and as some trees can live for hundreds of years, I don’t think it is too fanciful to suggest that the significant tree in a place might be pre-Roman!
This is so interesting, that I must investigate further!