The Butts, TW8

Place Name

The butts are a reference to the archery fields with mounds of earth or straw used for the targets that were set up here during the Tudor period. Since the Hundred Years War of the 14thCentury the importance of archery was at the forefront of monarchs’ minds when planning wars 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. The butts here were mentioned in 1664. Their importance declined over the ensuing years and by 1750 the area was used as a hustings. Bubb Dodington, writing in his Diary, March 8, describes the problems he had at the¬†election for the county of Middlesex: “From thence to Brentford Butts, which was the place of poll. It began about one, I polled early and got to my coach, which was so wedged in, that after much delay, I found it impossible to make use of it; so that Mr Breton and I were forced to take two of my servants’ horses, with livery housings, and ride, without boots, ten miles to Lord Middlesex’s at Walton, to see their Royal Highnesses at dinner.”

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