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Town (A)

is the Anglo-Saxon tún, a plot of ground fenced round or enclosed by a hedge; a single dwelling; a number of dwelling-houses enclosed together forming a village or burgh.

“Our ancestors in time of war … would cast a ditch, or make a strong hedge about their houses, and houses so environed … got the name tunes annexed unto them (as Cote-tun, now Cotton, the cote or house fenced in or tuned about; North-tun, now Norton … South-tun, now Sutton). In troublous times whole ‘thorpesʹ were fenced in, and took the name of tunes (towns), and then ‘stedesʹ (now cities), and ‘thorpesʹ (villages), and burghs (burrows) . . got the name of townes.”—Restitution, p. 232.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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