A Concise History

A general history of the area concentrating on the interesting stories and snippets

The first theme is the influence of the Castle, or more strictly of all the defences and fortifications that have occupied this site for the last 3000 years or so.  As we shall see the history of Tutbury is inextricably bound up with the superb natural defensive position of that hill on which the ruined Castle now stands.

Tutbury Village The second is that while nowadays we see Tutbury as a rather sleepy dormitory suburb of Burton, in the past it has been an extremely important and famous place.  Indeed Tutbury has a much longer history than Burton for example, and it is only in the last four or five hundred years or so that our larger neighbour has overtaken us in size and fame.

My first point was about the influence on the town of the Castle and this is well illustrated by the name TUTBURY itself. A large proportion of English place-names derive from Anglo-Saxon times (say 1000 to 1500 years ago), that's not to say that the places themselves began then, just that the names we use today stem from that time.  The most common Saxon place name ending was '-tun' or '-ton' which means simply "a settlement - a place where people live". And in most parts of England, you'll find dozens of '-tons' ; we have many around us as shown them on this map.

Of all these settlements the Anglo-Saxons singled out those with the special and useful feature of being easily defended, and to these they gave a special name '-bury' which means "a fortified place".  The 'TUT-' bit comes from the personal name TOTTA of the local chieftain of the time.  So TUTBURY means "Tutta's Castle" and Tutta is therefore Tutbury's first recorded resident - our spiritual ancestor.  There are one or two other '-burys' nearby HANBURY for example there are some minor defensive works at Hanbury and it is certainly a good site being on a steep hill.  There's also SUDBURY and NORBURY - the "South Castle" and "North Castle" respectively.  I don't know much about them but they're both in Derbyshire.