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Owslebury – the origins of the name

Ring Ousel

Ring Ousel

Owslebury – or in the days of King Edward the Peaceful – OSELBYRIG.

A tongue twisting name for our village!  Folk today pronounce it Osselbury, but if you are fortunate enough to talk to – rare these days – a ‘native’, they will tell you ‘it ain’t OSSELBURY – it should be UZZLEBURY,  and sounds as it should, purest Hampshire.

Whether it takes its name from Shakespear’s OUSEL cock, or from the Anglo Saxon gentleman by the name of OSLA, is still unsolved.

The ring Ousel – an April to October visitor – is similar to a blackbird with a white crescent breast.  Owslebury, high on the hills and surrounded by ancient woodland, with an old barrow (ancient burial site) just across the hill, is an ideal habitat.

 A letter from the English Place Name Society dated 1961 has told us that Owslebury is from OSLE – Old English – and OUZEL, a blackbird.

“Owslebury is a fortification or stronghold infested or frequented by the OUSEL.  It probably refers to some deserted earthwork in the vicinity”.

 Indeed, Iron Age and Roman settlements were discovered here in the 1960’s.

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