The History of Church Preen: In the County of Salop, England
This little book has been written at intervals of leisure during a busy life, and I am quite aware how very incomplete it is, in every way, especially as to the early history of Preen; but I have done my best to be accurate, and to secure this I have made many searches in the Record Office, the British Museum, the Bodleian, the Diocesan Records of Hereford, the Hundred Rolls of Edward I, and other available sources of information. But, above all, I owe most to Evton, especially as to the early history of Preen, and I cannot help expressing my sense of the herculean labour he undertook when he commenced to write The Antiquities of Shropshire, a work that must always stand by itself among the records of the county.
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Various derivations have been applied to the name of Preen or Prene. In the Blakeway MSS., now in the Bodleian, Blakeway says Prene probably received its name from being a place where the Gospel was preached in very early times, from the Saxon pregan, to preach; and Egbert Pren, King of Kent, was so called from having been a preacher. No doubt the fact of Preen having been the site of an early Christian church is in favour of this solution, but Professor Rhys says the Anglo-Saxon word preon, which would now be pronounced exactly "preen," means "a pin or brooch", so that I think we can hardly accept Mr. Blakeway's view. The Rev. John Earle, LL.D., of Oxford, the well-known Anglo-Saxon scholar and Professor, from whom I have received many interesting letters upon the subject, says that he has come to the conclusion that the name Preen is the extant relic of a phrase which once ran in the Anglo- Saxon of the tenth century aet thcere pirian, "at the pear-tree", or, rather, "at the pear", for the last word only has survived, and has become Preen; the word "tree" not being at all represented in the phrase.