Another Butterworth

We were finishing off at the gym today after a workout and a family swim and I overheard someone signing in spelling his name, BUTTERWORTH.

That’s right! Another person named Butterworth. He’s originally from Yorkshire like our Butterworth roots.
Yorkshire butter

The name Butterworth comes from districts in Lancashire (now part of Milnrow) and Yorkshire and it is derived from the Old English meaning butter + enclosure or butter farm. The earliest traceable Butterworth in our family is Matthew, married in 1701 who lived in Nabbs (or Knabbs) Hall, Silkstone, Yorkshire.
This is from the family tree work done by my fathers cousin. That is his father’s brother’s son. Who is also named Ian.

The person I met today said he doesn’t know his family tree but he’s only met in his live about four other Butterworths. So who knows, maybe we’re related. He said the original Butterworths came over in the 11th century from France where the name was something else.

That led to a family discussion on this and me looking up the origin of the word butter.

butter O.E. butere, from a W.Gmc. source (cf. Ger. Butter, Du. boter), an early loan-word from L. butyrum “butter,” from Gk. boutyron, perhaps lit. “cow-cheese,” from bous “ox, cow” + tyros “cheese;” but this may be a folk-etymology of a Scythian word. The product was used from an early date in India, Iran and northern Europe, but not in ancient Greece and Rome. Herodotus described it (along with cannabis) among the oddities of the Scythians. The verb meaning “to flatter lavishly” is from 1816. Butter-fingered is attested from 1615. Deceptively named buttermilk is from 1528; it is what remains after the butter has been churned out.

From: Online Etymological Dictionary

And the Etymology Dictionary also concurs:

worth as final element in place names, is from O.E. wor? “enclosed place, homestead.”

So much more to discover.

And I’m allergic to milk.

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  1. Yes there are a few Butterworth’s around. Certainly a shock when you discover another one in the same room spelling your name! I think many are called Ian because Butterworth is such a long name that parents want to give a short first name!

    I remember when I was younger in Canadian school Grade 9 about 14 years old, we went to England on a trip and I looked in the London phone book and there is a page of Butterworths.

    Back then in Calgary, I guess around 1976 or so with a population then of I think about 700,000 there were only one or two other Butterworths than us. Now there are a few and there is even an Ian Butterworth who also was a University of Calgary Mechanical Engineering graduate and I used to get phone calls for him as he coached a soccer team. Oh and to translate, that would be football to you 😉

  2. i’ve met very few other butterworths too… although a laura butterworth had just left my secondary school when i started, so i spent a while being asked “are you laura’s sister?” by teachers.

    my mum was one sitting in the doctors’ waiting room with myself or one of my sisters when we were young, and they called “mrs butterworth” – and she and another woman stood up! 🙂