Bailey, as if he actually believed it, gives the etymology of
this word Dun's stable; adding Duns or “Dunus was a robber in
the reign of Henry I., who made it dangerous for travellers to pass
that way.” (Dunes or duns tavell, our table —i.e.
the table-land or flat of the hills.)
Downright.) Plain as the road to Dunstable,
as Shakespeare says, “Plain as way to parish church.” The road leading
to Dunstable is the confluence of many leading to London, but the play
is on the word dunce
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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