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Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland: interests of members

Personal names

  • Liam Ó hAisibéil: Irish surnames, development of surname variants and adoptions, adjectival epithets and nicknames.

  • Richard Coates: Family Names of Britain and Ireland (FaNBI) surname project; online bibliographical tool called Names in Shakespeare Online.

  • Alice Crook: working towards a PhD at the University of Glasgow, examining personal names in Scotland, 1680–1840: the name-stock, naming practices, and influences on naming.

  • Aengus Finnegan: Irish surnames and the phenomenon of pseudo-translation in Irish surnames.

  • Ian Fraser: Continuing research on names from oral tradition in Gaelic Scotland.

  • Patrick Hanks: Origins, history, and geographical distribution of surnames in Britain and Ireland; editor, Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press; in press). Computational approaches to analysis of large anthroponomastic data files. Onomastic lexicography and comparative anthroponomastics, including evidence-based case studies such as Cabot. Editor, Dictionary of American Family Names (2003; second edition in preparation). Etymology and cultural history of given names; editor, Oxford Dictionary of First Names.

  • Kate Hardcastle: The origins, etymology, history, and geographical distribution of family names in Britain and Ireland; researcher, Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press). The origins and etymology of given names and the cultural/religious influences on naming practices, present and past.

  • Debbie Kennett: Using DNA testing to study surnames. A one-name study of the surnames Cruwys, Cruse, Cruise and variants. Publications: The Surnames Handbook (History Press, 2012) and DNA and Social Networking (History Press, 2011). blog

  • Susan Laflin: One-name studies of the surnames Preen and Laflin with a discussion of their origins.

  • Chris Lewis: The names and identities of Domesday landowners (for Profile of a Doomed Elite: The Structure of English Landed Society in 1066); personal names and cultural identity in England 900–1200; regionality and fashion in 19th-century British forenames.

  • Peter McClure: English names of all kinds, especially the origins and history of personal names and surnames. Recent and forthcoming publications include Explaining English surnames: Part Two – Interpreting the modern data in Nomina 37 (2014); co-authored with George Redmonds, The meaning of dinge in the names of buildings in Journal of the English Place-Name Society 46 (2014); English topographic surnames with fused Anglo-Norman preposition and article: myth or reality? in Nomina 38 (2015, forthcoming); Personal and Surname Dictionaries’in P. Durkin, ed., Oxford Handbook of Lexicography (OUP, 2016); co-edited with P. Hanks and R. Coates, The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (OUP, 2016).

  • Kay Muhr: In the Gaelic languages (based on Irish, but cf. Scottish Gaelic, Manx): Family names, especially those based on personal names which include saints’ names, and those found on both sides of the Irish Sea. Anglicisation of both place and personal names.

  • Harry Parkin: Origins, etymology, history, and geographical distribution of family names in Britain and Ireland; Research Associate, Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press); Middle English dialectology and onomastic data; the role of regional identity in surname continuity and change.

  • David Postles (University of Leicester): “The North through its Names” (English Surnames Series); the poetics of naming in Early Modern England; the politics of address and naming in Early Modern England. Publication: Nomina 27: “Negotiating bynames”.

  • Duncan Probert: personal names, bynames, prosopography and cultural identities in medieval Britain. Currently (2014+) studying early bynames in England; previously a researcher on the Profile of a Doomed Elite project (PDE; part of the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England) and the first phase of the FaNUK surname project. Recent papers: Algar son of Leofflæd and the earliest stratum of the fratres kalendarum of Exeter, Notes & Queries 60 (2013), 26-8; Wulfnoð, Olaf and the Domesday scribes, Nomina 35 (2012), 1-19. In preparation: Peasant names and bynames in late-eleventh-century Bury St Edmunds, Nomina; Post-Conquest guild-lists from Exeter; the name discussions associated with profiles forming part of PDE (to be published online). See also “Personal Names”.

  • John and Sheila Rowlands (Aberystwyth): Analysis of Welsh Surnames. Publications: Nomina no 29: “The distribution of surnames in Wales” Nomina 28: “The transition from patronymic names to settled surnames in Wales”.

  • Jennifer Scherr: English female personal names c1500–1850 (with Dr Gwyneth Nair). Recent publication: Nomina 25 'Especiall vertues’: abstract qualities and women's names in England, 1540–1850.

  • Veronica Smart: Personal names, especially the names of the moneyers appearing on the Anglo-Saxon and early post-conquest coinages. Presently compiling a bibliographical commentary on Anglo-Saxon moneyers’ names.

  • Sara L. Uckelman (University of Durham): (1) A Dictionary of Tudor London Names; (2) Middle English Bynames in Early Fourteenth-Century London; (3) Index of Names in the Suffolk Poll Tax.

English place-names

  • Carole Biggam: English place-names, especially medieval, and involving plant-names or colour terms.

  • David Boulton (PhD project, University of East Anglia): Scandinavian and Anglo-Scandinavian place-names and minor names in East Anglia.

  • Keith Briggs: Suffolk place-names (A dictionary of Suffolk place-names was published by EPNS March 2016). Other current work: the medieval bounds of the liberty of Ipswich; King's Lynn place-names; the place-name Gannok; the element culvert in place-names. Recent papers: Middle English *gannoken ‘to regrate’ (Notes & Queries 63 (2016) 531-2); Felixstowe and other saint+stōw names in Suffolk (to appear); A Suffolk miscellany (JEPNS 47 (2015) 19-37); Scandinavian elements in Suffolk place-names (2014, with David Boulton, Norna 44 Caen proceedings); Boulge, Suffolk (JEPNS 45 (2013), 5), Two thirteenth-century by-names: Fukkebotere and Smalfuk (Nomina 35 (2012); 141); The two Ebbsfleets in Kent, Journal of the English Place-Name Society (JEPNS) 44 (2012), 5; Watermills called Twygrind, JEPNS 44 (2012), 10; Was Hægelisdun in Essex? A new site for the martyrdom of Edmund, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History XLII (part 3, 2011), 277–291; Bixley [Norfolk & Suffolk], JEPNS 43 (2011) 43–54; The battle-site and place-name Ringmere, Notes & Queries 58(4), December 2011, 491–492; The early English place-name suffix -ia: an expression of romanitas? (Proceedings of Power and place in Later Roman and early medieval Europe, UCL 2011); Maidenburgh, Geoffrey of Wells and Rabanus Maurus, Nomina 33 (2010), 121–128; The place-names of Foxhall in Suffolk, JEPNS 42 (2010) 31–42; Harrow, JEPNS 42 (2010) 43–62; Watermills called Curebehind, Notes & Queries (2010) 57(4) 490–491; The surname Gooch and the name Goche, Notes & Queries (2010) 57(4): 492–495; Old English snȳring, *snēring ‘steep place’, Notes & Queries (2010) 57(4): 460–461; Clare, Clere, and Clères, JEPNS 41 (2009), 7–25; OE and ME cunte in place-names, JEPNS 41 (2009), 26–39; The distribution of distance of certain place-name types to Roman roads, Nomina 32 (2009), 43–57; The Domesday Book castle LVVRE, JEPNS 40 (2008), 113–118; Freemantle, JEPNS 40 (2008), 97–111; Seven wells, JEPNS 39 (2007), 7–44; Martlesham and Newbourne  —  a note on two obscure Suffolk names, JEPNS 38 (2006), 31–36.

  • Rob Briggs: Working on a PhD at University College London, a multi-disciplinary study of the identities of social groups which bore names containing Old English -ingas. Methodologies for the better integration of place-name data with archaeology and history. The place-names and family names of medieval Surrey.

  • Jean Cameron: collecting minor names in the Thurgaton wapentake of Nottinghamshire.

  • Paul Cavill (Institute for Name Studies, University of Nottingham): publications: essay with Jean Cameron on minor names in Nottinghamshire parishes in Journal of the English Place-Name Society.

  • Richard Coates: Survey of English place-names for Hampshire.

  • Ann Cole: Directional tūns; wrestling with the whys and wherefores of these place-names. Investigating place-names that suggest early medieval cattle-rearing and droving.

  • Linda M. Corrigan: place-names of Cumbria and north Lancashire.

  • Paul Cullen: place-names of Kent (EPNS).

  • Chris Dyer: place-names of all kinds, but especially ‘minor’ names of fields, roads etc., as evidence for medieval landscape, agrarian and social history (mainly from Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire).

  • Gillian Fellows-Jensen: currently interested in the Scandinavian influence on place-names in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Suffolk in England, and also on those in Normandy.

  • John Freeman: place-names of Herefordshire (EPNS), A Dictionary of Herefordshire place-names (EPNS).

  • Jillian Hawkins: My main interest is English place-names, especially those of early date. My PhD thesis, now published by BAR, is entitled “The significance of the place-name element *funta in the early middle ages”.

  • Della Hooke: names and terms in pre-Conquest charters; settlement names; place-names and landscape; woodland terms. Recent works include: ‘Early medieval woodland and the place-name term lēah’, in A Commodity of Good Names: essays in honour of Margaret Gelling, ed. O. J. Padel and D. Parsons (Shaun Tyas, Donington, 2008), 365‒76. ‘The woodland landscape of early medieval England’, in Place-Names, Language and the Anglo-Saxon Landscape, ed. N. Higham & M. Ryan (Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2011), 143‒74. ‘Place-name hierarchies and interpretations in parts of Mercia’, in Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. R. Jones & S. Semple (Shaun Tyas, Donington, 2012), 180‒95; ‘Wealdbære and swina mæst: wood-pasture in early medieval England’, in Life in medieval landscapes: people and places in the Middle Ages, ed. S. Turner & B. Silvester (Windgather Press, Oxford, 2012), 32‒49; ‘Old English wald, weald in place-names’, Landscape History, 34(1) (2013), 33‒49; ‘Beasts, birds and other creatures in pre-Conquest charters and place-names in England’, in Representing beasts in early medieval England and Scandinavia, ed. M. D. J. Bintley and T. J. T. Williams (Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2015), 253‒82. Recent book Trees in Anglo-Saxon England - literature, lore and landscape (Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2010).

  • Carole Hough: Staffordshire place-names (popular dictionary in preparation for EPNS).

  • Alan G. James: see below under Scottish place-names.

  • Susan Laflin: Shropshire place-names, especially those ending in -ford.

  • Chris Lewis: Place-names in the 1686 War Office billeting list of places with inns provided lodging and stabling.

  • David Mills: The place-names of Dorset, volume 4 (the SW of the county, EPNS); and A Dictionary of London place-names, new edition (OUP).

  • Richard Morgan: Welsh and English place-names in Wales and English Marches (particularly Shropshire); continuing work on Glamorgan place-names and Welsh place-names in Shropshire.

  • Oliver Padel: Cornish place-names and Surnames (Cornish language and medieval history and literature); Survey of Cornish place-names.

  • Duncan Probert: early medieval British and English place-name and landscape studies, especially in south-west England. Slowly working on a dictionary of Devon place-names for the Popular series of the EPNS. Recent papers: Two Devonshire Cheritons, in The church in English place-names, ed. Quinton (EPNS, 2009), 15-22; Towards a reassessment of ‘Kingston’ names, JEPNS 40 (2008), 7-22; Mapping early medieval language change in south-west England, Britons in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Higham (Boydell, 2007), 231–44.

  • Eleanor Rye (Nottingham): Place-name evidence for early medieval travel and communication; Scandinavian influence on English naming.

  • Jennifer Scherr: Working on a popular dictionary of Somerset (with Dr Colin Turner, for the EPNS); spring and well-names (including comparative European examples); Surrey (especially N.E., and particularly minor and field names of Croydon and neighbouring parishes).

  • Will Swales: Place-names including settlements, fields, hills, and watercourses of Swaledale, Yorkshire.

  • Frank Thorn: Domesday Book and related documents; the identification of Domesday places; administrative topography; Anglo-Saxon charters; medieval latinity. The Electronic edition of Domesday Book (Translation, Databases and Scholarly Commentary, 1086; second edition) is available online at the UK Data Service (SN 5964). Current work includes a new translation of Domesday Book; an edition of Exeter Domesday Book (part of a team based at King's College London); and a series of articles on the earliest royal estates in Somerset which are appearing in Proceedings of the SANHS.

  • Diana Whaley: English place-names, especially Cumbria (A Dictionary of Lake District Place-Names, EPNS 2006); Northumberland (Dictionary in planning stages); and principles of interpretation.

Irish place-names

  • Liam Ó hAisibéil: Irish place-names, especially north Connacht names, townland names, hill/mountain names, soil-type analysis and topographical elements.

  • Michael Ansell: compilation of database of Gaelic place-name elements with special reference to woodland/hunting indicators.

  • Dónall Mac Giolla Easpaig: Irish place-names.

  • Aengus Finnegan: the place-names of Co. Westmeath, common elements in Irish townland names, minor island names, place-names as evidence of former dialects of Irish in the Irish midlands.

  • Kay Muhr: In the Gaelic languages (based on Irish, but cf. Scottish Gaelic, Manx): the use of place-names in medieval Irish literature; Ulster place-names; comparative place-names; archaeological place-names, 'religious’ place-names; place-names containing family names and why.

  • Nollaig Ó Muraíle: Sligo surnames in the Calendar of Patent Rolls of 1603. Sligo place-names in the 1603 Pardon list, CPR. Two books in preparation: 1) Popular Guide to Irish Placenames and 2) Placenames and the Local Historian (Maynooth Guides for Local History).

  • Paul Tempan: PhD in Irish and Celtic Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast; thesis entitled ‘A study of topographical elements in Irish place-names based on observation in the field’ under the supervision of Dr. Mícheál Ó Mainnín. Research interests: Irish and British hill and mountain names; Topographical names on early maps of Ireland and regions of Ireland (mainly 16th and 17th century); Close compound place-names in Irish and other Celtic languages; Kerry place-names; Street-names and road-names.

Scottish place-names

  • Alison Burns: Recently completed a PhD at the University of Glasgow on Scottish Field-names. Research focused on field-names in north-east Scotland. A socio-onomastic approach to data collection was taken using oral interviews to collect a corpus of names. The data is available here.

  • Peter Drummond: Names of hills and mountains; all place-names of the Clyde valley; Scots place-names. Publications include Scottish Hill Names and Pentland Place-names. Unpublished PhD (Glasgow University, 2014) on names in 8 parishes north-east of Glasgow.

  • Leonie Dunlop: completed a Glasgow PhD as part of the “Scottish Toponymy in Transition” project. Researched the parishes of Abbey St Bathen, Bunkle and Preston, Cackburnspath, and Coldingham in Berwickshire.

  • Ian Fraser: research on names from oral tradition in Gaelic Scotland.

  • Carole Hough: Borders place-names (3-year Leverhulme-funded project Recovering the earliest English language in Scotland: evidence from place-names, 2016-2018 project website).

  • Alan G. James: place-name evidence for the linguistic history of Northumbria and the Old North. P-Celtic toponymic vocabulary in N. England and S. Scotland.

  • Peter McNiven: Working on the “Scottish Toponymy in Transition” project at Glasgow University. Interaction of History, Folklore and Archaeology with Place-names.

  • Bill Patterson: place-names of south-east Scotland.

  • Maggie Scott: recent publications include “Capitalising on the City: Edinburgh's Linguistic Identities” (2013) in a special volume of Collegium (13): “Language, Space and Power: Urban Entanglements”, edited by Jani Vuolteenaho, Lieven Ameel, Andrew Newby and Maggie Scott. This collection of papers arose from a symposium on “Urban Symbolic Landscapes: Power, Language, Memory” organised at the University of Helsinki in May 2011, and is available online.

  • Simon Taylor: Five volumes on The place-names of Fife.

  • John Garth Wilkinson: continuing research on Romano-British and Brythonic place-names, particularly in northern Britain. Publications: “Cairnpapple: The Middle Sanctuary? A Quest Through the Sacred Landscapes of Our Islands” (2-volumes, place-name-based, interdisciplinary study); Nomina 27: “*Lanum and Lugudunum: full lune, and light on an unkempt wraith” .

Welsh place-names

  • Deric John: place-names in South Wales.

  • Chris Lewis: English place-names in north-east Wales; place-names in the 1686 War Office billeting list of places with inns provided lodging and stabling.

  • Richard Morgan: Welsh and English place-names in Wales and English Marches (particularly Shropshire); Welsh medieval and early modern history; Welsh historical records; Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales (AHRB-sponsored) with Prof. Hywel Wyn Owen; county-based studies of place-names of Breconshire, Monmouthshire (Gwent), Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire. Continuing work on place-names in south and mid Wales.

  • Hywel Wyn Owen: study of Flintshire place-names (in progress 2008). Publications: Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales with Richard Morgan (AHRB-sponsored, 2007); Database of the place-names of Wales (computerization of the Melville Richards Archive; AHRB-sponsored, 2005). Nomina 29: Archif Melville Richards: a place-name resource database for Wales.

  • Rhian Parry: Farm- and field-names in Ardudwy.

Manx place-names

  • George Broderick (former project Manx Place-Names 7 volumes (1994-2005)).

General and other interests

  • Stefan Brink (University of Aberdeen): An Introduction to Toponymy: Place-Name Studies.

  • George Broderick: Manx song-texts; older names from antiquity in the area of the Roman Empire.

  • James Butler: Thesis examined the role of terrapsychology in naming strategies, both real and artistic, and is currently interested in exploring videogames as a unique source of fantastic naming. Also researching automated extraction of names from digital texts.

  • Jean Cameron: collecting botanical place-names (main collection deposited with EPNS).

  • Scott Catledge: collecting instances of Norse þveit in medieval Norman place-names in Normandy and Britain.

  • Paul Cavill: place-names in Old English poetry, especially The Battle of Brunanburgh. Publications: essays on Brunanburgh in A Commodity of Good Names, and Leeds Studies in English.

  • Fiona Edmonds: Medieval Britain and Ireland; personal names and place-names, especially in northern England and southern Scotland.

  • Carole Hough: Name Studies (book in preparation for Palgrave MacMillan); Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming (edited volume in preparation for Oxford UP).

  • Jeff Hynds: my main academic involvement has been in the area of literacy in education. My longtime interest in names, particularly surnames, stems from meeting Dr Basil Cottle in the late 1940s. My interest has, however, always been on an amateur basis, but over the years I have continued to find onomastics a fascinating subject. I have written occasional pieces for private circulation and given occasional talks to interested groups.

  • Tom Ikins: interested in place-names of the Roman occupation of Britain.

  • Joy Jenkyns: The Language of Landscape: Reading the Anglo-Saxon Countryside (3-year AHRB-funded project to make accessible over the web an electronic corpus of Anglo-Saxon charter boundaries).

  • Peter Kitson: OE linguistic material, including AS charter-boundaries.

  • Chris Lewis: Domesday Book; Exon Domesday (contributing to a new online edition and printed Companion, due 2017–18); cultural interactions on the Anglo-Welsh border in the Early and Central Middle Ages; house names and social history, especially between the First and Second World Wars.

  • Jenny Lewin-Jones (University of Worcester): wide-ranging interest in personal names, place-names and naming, including metonyms and eponyms. Publication: Lewin-Jones, J. & Webb, M. (2013) 'Ideology in Disguise: Place Name Metonyms and the Discourse of Newspaper Headlines’, Sociological Research Online, 4 (18).

  • Bill Patterson: place-names world-wide but area of greatest fascination focused on Scotland (especially south-east), Ireland, Wales and northern England, and with lesser intensity other North Sea and Atlantic countries of western Europe.

  • Duncan Probert: Bee-keeping and its terminology, place-names and bynames; maps old and new (and including drawing them for others).

  • Alexander Rumble: editing the 220 Anglo-Saxon charters of the Old Minster, Winchester, archive including commentary on estate-boundaries in several counties.

  • Gavin Smith: interests include the application of social and geographical theory to early place-names, with particular focus on ceaster, wīc, stede, ingas, hamm, hām, tūn and stōw.

  • Shaun Tyas: collecting modern business names with a medieval affectation.

  • Len Watson: the archaeology and history of the pre 1974 counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and the Furness District of Lancashire. Connected to that are an interest in the names of people and places and their origins via past and present language(s) and dialect.