Newington Butts, SE1

Place Name

Newington is the almost obsolete name for the Elephant and Castle area, it comes from the Old English words nīwe and tūn which means new village or farmstead and dates from the early Middle Ages.  It was first recorded as Neuton sometime around the turn of the 12thCentury, a 100 years later it was referred to as Niwentone, and Neuwyngton juxta Southwark in 1325. Butts refers to the archery fields, with mounds of earth or straw used for the targets that were set up here in 1558. Since the Hundred Years War of the 14thCentury the importance of archery was at the forefront of monarchs’ minds when planning foreign adventures or defence. In 1515, Henry VIII ordered that butts should be erected and kept in repair in all townships, and that the inhabitants should practice shooting at them on holidays.

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