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2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

My father began to trace our Buttrey family in the 1950s and I took over in the mid-1980s, extending it to a one-name study in 1991.

Variant names

Buttery is the most common form of the name, Buttrey, Butry and Buttree being its main variants. When John Butteriss died, his son gave the papers for John's one-name study of Butteriss and its variants to me. He thought his name grew as the plural of Buttery. While Buttery and its variants are uncommon in the South of England, Butteriss and its variants are found south of a line from Tamworth to the Wash. There are several examples along that boundary of the name Buttery becoming Butteriss etc in the eighteenth century, such as in Tamworth and South Nottinghamshire.

Name origin

It is said to derive from the buttery in castles and abbeys where wine was stored and the name Del or De La Botery occurs in the Middle Ages. However, it only occurs in certain parts of the country - it has been suggested that it may come from an Anglo-Saxon word for a marshy place.

In Shropshire, it probably derived from Buttery manor in Edgmond, mentioned in Domesday Book.

Historical occurrences of the name

There are no famous people with the name Buttrey or its variants.

One family became lords of a manor in Northamptonshire in the sixteenth century and later called themselves Botry. Popular pedigrees claim people with the name Buttery are connected, but no Butterys have yet been found to be descended from that family.

William Buttery, born in Norfolk, was a wealthy mercer in London in the early fifteenth century, his names appearing in State records.

A few from Lincolnshire and at least one from Yorkshire were transported to Australia and Tasmania.

Name frequency

In Surname Profiler, there were 1153 people with the surname Buttery in the 1881 census, and 1635 in 1998, an increase of 482. The occurence per million names was 43 per million in 1881 and 44 per million in 1998, so there had been a very slight increase in occurences of the name.

In the ONS database, in September 2002 there were for Buttery 2268 people (Rank Order of 3,295), for Buttrey 72 people (Rank Order of 40,657) and for Buttree 42 people (Rank Order of 56,688).

Distribution of the name

Buttery is found in London and mainly in two other areas: east of the Pennines from Newcastle-on-Tyne down to North Leicestershire, and in Shropshire and Staffordshire. Some from Shropshire went to Lancashire, South Wales and to mining areas east of the Pennines. From at least the sixteenth century, there have been people with the surname Buttery in London. In earlier centuries it was more widespread.

Buttrey occurs in the Leeds area and in Shropshire. Buttree comes from around Thorne and Selby in Yorkshire.


I have GRO records from 1837 into the mid-twentieth century, wills from 1858 to the late twentieth century and extracts from Death Duty Registers, nineteenth century and WWI Army records, merchant navy and Indian records, many pre-1858 wills, extracts from parish registers, occurences of the name in Australia, Canada, the USA and other countries. There are references from the thirteenth century onwards, my particular interest being in Chancery records.

I hold similiar records for the name Butteriss and its variants, with examples of that name and Buttery variants occurring in the same family.