The name was assumed by some in the 1700s to derive from a corruption of the words 'burnt' and 'wood', with the name Burntwood still visible on some 18th-century maps. However, brent was the middle English for "burnt". The name describes the presumed reason for settlement in the part of the Forest of Essex (later Epping Forest) that would have covered the area, where a major occupation was charcoal burning.
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