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CONTRIBUTOR: LMS on 6/6/2016
Meaning & History
Habitational name from the city in Wiltshire, the Roman name of which was Sorviodunum (of British origin). In the Old English period the second element (from Celtic dun ‘fortress’) was dropped and Sorvio- (of unexplained meaning) became Searo- in Old English as the result of folk etymological association with Old English searu ‘armor’; to this an explanatory burh ‘fortress’, ‘manor’, ‘town’ was added. The city is recorded in the Domesday Book as Sarisberie; the change of -r- to -l- is the result of later dissimilation. Also a habitational name from Salesbury in Lancashire, so named from Old English salh ‘willow’ + burh ‘fortress’, ‘manor’.