1) Although used of the wild rose this word had the more general meaning ‘prickly, thorny bush’ and it is particularly common in minor place-names.

1253 breretwisel

1275 Brereforlong. The headword spelling used here developed from ‘brere’ and it became more usual from the sixteenth century, although the two existed side by side and ‘brere’ or ‘brear’ persisted at the local level: c.1580 tent shepe upon dry ground In woods and brears let them not stay, Woodsome

1600 All Bryers, in English, furres [furze] & whinnes, Settrington. The surnames Brearley and Brierley share the same family origin.

spellings briar
dates 1253 1275 1580 1600

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