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Place-names and assembly sites

The study of local toponymy and of place-names within the wider district can considerably add to our understanding of the local landscape of assembly sites, their topography and functional arrangements, and their wider context. A variety of place-name elements make reference to places of congregation for a number of different purposes: judicial, political, commercial, religious and social. Sometimes these names coincide with known meeting-places, perhaps an indication of the range of functions that could take place there. Natural or man-made features may have been used to mark and identify meeting-places, or as integral parts of the procedures associated with assembly: mounds or platforms, pillars or trees may have provided focal points for speakers; ridges or depressions in the landscape may have served as natural auditoriums; and in some cases man-made benches may have been provided.

Sources

The names of the Hundreds themselves were discussed by Anderson in the 1930s (see bibliography). For a large part of England, detailed place-name surveys are available, bringing together a large amount of local material. The most authoritative of these have been published over the last eighty years by the English Place-Name Society (EPNS). These do not yet cover the whole of England, but can be supplemented by other works – for example, place-name dictionaries by Ekwall, Mills and Watts provide excellent treatment of individual parish and settlement names (see also the Key to English Place-Names on the Institute for Name-Studies website). It is also worth noting that the early EPNS publications (in common with more popular volumes on county place-names) do not provide much analysis of minor place-names such as field-names. If your county suffers in this way, you may find treatment of local field-names in other EPNS publications, such as the Jourrnal of the English Place-Name Society (see for example see recent work by Jean Cameron and others on Nottinghamshire) or the various EPNS Supplementary series, or in the pages of the journal Nomina. Alternatively, you may wish to undertake your own investigation into field-names by looking at early parish documents such as tithe and estate maps. Two works by John Field may be of use: A History of English Field-Names (1993) and English Field-Names: a Dictionary (1972).

General works

  • O.S. Anderson, English Hundred-Names, Lunds Universitets Arsskrift, 30.1, Lunds Universitet, Lund (1934).
  • O.S. Anderson, The English Hundred-Names: The South-Western Counties, Lunds Universitets Arsskrift, 35.5, Lunds Universitet, Lund (1939).
  • O.S. Anderson, The English Hundred-Names: The South-Eastern Counties, Lunds Universitets Arsskrift, 37.1, Hakan Ohlsson, Lund (1939).
  • E. Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, Fourth Edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford (1960)
  • V. Watts, The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2004)
  • A.D. Mills, Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names, OUP, Oxford (2003)
  • Key to English Place-Names
  • J. Field, A History of English Field-Names, Longman (1993).
  • J. Field, English Field-Names: a Dictionary, Newton Abbot: David and Charles (1972)

Counties

The following is a catalogue of relevant material arranged by historic county. The depth and reliability of coverage varies greatly and no attempt is made here to provide a full bibliography for each county.

* No published EPNS county survey so far.

  • Bedfordshire – A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, Cambridge (1926).
  • Berkshire – M. Gelling, The Place-Names of Berkshire, 3 volumes, English Place-Name Society, 49-51, Cambridge (1973-6)
  • Buckinghamshire – A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire, Cambridge (1925)
  • Cambridgeshire – P.H. Reaney, The Place-Names of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, Cambridge (1943)
  • Cheshire – J. McNeal Dodgson, The Place-Names of Cheshire, multiple volumes, Cambridge and Nottingham 1970-
  • * Cornwall – O. Padel, A Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-Names, Penzance (1988); see also O. Padel, Cornish Place-Name Elements, Nottingham (1985).
  • O. Svensson, Saxon Place-Names in East Cornwall, Lund (1987).
  • Cumberland – A.M. Armstrong, A. Mawer, F.M. Stenton and B. Dickins, The Place-Names of Cumberland, Parts I, II and III, Cambridge (1950-2)
  • Derbyshire – K. Cameron, The Place-Names of Derbyshire, 3 volumes, Cambridge (1959)
  • Devon – J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Devon, 2 volumes, Cambridge (1931-2)
  • Dorset – detailed place-name analysis covers only part of the county, but major names are dealt with in Mills 1986.
  • A.D. Mills, The Place-Names of Dorset Parts I to III, 3 volumes, Cambridge (1977-89)
  • A.D. Mills, Dorset Place-Names, their Origins and Meanings, English Place-Name Society, Nottingham (1986)
  • Durham – publication of the EPNS survey of Durham is in its early stages.
  • V. Watts and P. Cavill (ed.), The Place-Names of County Durham Part I, Nottingham (2008);
  • A. Mawer, The Place-Names of Northumberland and Durham, Cambridge University Press (1920)
  • V. Watts, A Dictionary of County Durham Place-Names, Nottingham (2002)
  • East Yorkshire – A.H. Smith, The Place-Names of the East Riding of Yorkshire and York, Cambridge (1937)
  • Essex – P.H. Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, Cambridge (1935)
  • Gloucestershire – A.H. Smith, The Place-Names of Gloucestershire, 4 volumes, Cambridge (1964-5)
  • *Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – R. Coates, The Place-Names of Hampshire, London (1989)
  • H. Kökeritz, The Place-Names of the Isle of Wight, Nomina Germanica, 6, Uppsala (1940)
  • A.D. Mills, The Place-Names of the Isle of Wight, Stamford (1996)
  • *Herefordshire – B. Coplestone-Crow, Herefordshire Place-Names, British Archaeological Reports (British Series), 214, BAR, Oxford (1989)
  • Hertfordshire – J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Hertfordshire, Cambridge (1938)
  • Huntingdonshire – A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, Cambridge (1926).
  • * Isle of Wight – see Hampshire
  • * Kent – a detailed study of Kentish place-names was carried out 80 years ago: Johannes K. Wallenberg, Kentish Place-Names, Uppsala (1931) and Johannes K. Wallenberg, The Place-Names of Kent, Uppsala (1934). These are still the best published sources for the place-names of Kent, but Paul Cullen’s PhD thesis The Place-Names of the Lathes of St Augustine and Shipway, Kent, University of Sussex (1997) provides a more detailed and authoritative coverage of parts of Kent.
  • *Lancashire – E. Ekwall, The Place-Names of Lancashire, Manchester University Press (1922)
  • D. Mills, The Place-Names of Lancashire, London (1976)
  • Leicestershire – The EPNS coverage is not yet complete, but is extremely detailed for the areas so-far treated.
  • B. Cox, The Place-Names of Leicestershire: Parts I to IV, Nottingham (1998-2009)
  • B. Cox, A Dictionary of Leicestershire and Rutland Place-Names, Nottingham (2005)
  • Lincolnshire – K. Cameron, The Place-Names of Lincolnshire Parts I to VI, Cambridge and Nottingham (1985-2001) – NB part VII is in preparation.
  • K. Cameron with a contribution from J. Insley, A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names, Nottingham (1998)
  • Middlesex – J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Middlesex, Cambridge (1942)
  • Norfolk – Sandred’s volumes cover only part of the county. Rye’s volume at least provides early forms for a large number of Norfolk names.
  • K.I. Sandred et al, The Place-Names of Norfolk Parts I to III, Nottingham (1989-2002);
  • J. Rye, A Popular Guide to Norfolk Place-Names, Dereham (1991)
  • Northamptonshire
  • J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Northamptonshire, Cambridge (1933)
  • *Northumberland – A. Mawer, The Place-Names of Northumberland and Durham, Cambridge University Press (1920)
  • North Yorkshire – A.H. Smith, The Place-Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire, Cambridge (1928)
  • Nottinghamshire – J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire, Cambridge (1940)
  • Oxfordshire – M. Gelling and D.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Oxfordshire, 2 volumes, Cambridge (1953-4).
  • Rutland – B. Cox, The Place-Names of Rutland, English Place-Name Society, Nottingham (1994)
  • Shropshire – M. Gelling, The Place-Names of Shropshire Parts I to V, Nottingham (1990-2006). Although these volumes only provide detailed coverage of part of Shropshire, Volume 1 deals with all major names across the county.
  • *Somerset – very little coverage at all. Neither J.S. Hill, The Place-Names of Somerset, Bristol (1914) nor S. Robinson, Somerset Place-Names, Stanbridge, Wimborne (1992) is very authoritative. A.G.C. Turner’s PhD thesis, The Place-Names of North Somerset , University of Cambridge (1951), and note also Turner’s ‘A selection of north Somerset place-names’, in Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society 96 (1951), 152-9
  • Staffordshire – Oakden’s volume covers only part of the county, but Horovitz gives a thorough discussion of the whole county
  • J.P. Oakden, The Place-Names of Staffordshire Part I, Cambridge (1984)
  • D. Horovitz, The Place-Names of Staffordshire, Horovitz, Brewood, Stafford (2005)
  • * Suffolk – W.W. Skeat, The Place-Names of Suffolk, Cambridge Antiquarian Society, Cambridge (1913)
  • Surrey – J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer, F.M. Stenton and A. Bonner, The Place-Names of Surrey, Cambridge (1934)
  • Sussex – A. Mawer, F.M. Stenton and J.E.B. Gover, The Place-Names of Sussex, 2 volumes, Cambridge (1929-30)
  • Warwickshire – J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton with F.T.S. Houghton, The Place-Names of Warwickshire, Cambridge (1936)
  • West Yorkshire – A.H. Smith, The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 7 volumes, Cambridge (1961-2)
  • Westmorland – A.H. Smith, The Place-Names of Westmorland, English Place-Name Society, 2 volumes, Cambridge (1967)
  • Wiltshire – J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Wiltshire, Cambridge (1939)
  • Worcestershire – A. Mawer and F.M. Stenton in collaboration with F.T.S. Houghton, The Place-Names of Worcestershire, English Place-Name Society, 4, EPNS, Cambridge (1927)


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