Associate Professor in the History of English and Director, Institute for Name-Studies, Faculty of Arts
I was educated at University College London (BA English Literature and Language), King's College London (MA English Language and Literature before 1525), and the Universities of Nottingham (PhD) and Iceland (as the recipient of the Government of Iceland Ministry of Education, Science and Culture scholarship). I held lectureships at University College Dublin and the Universities of Sheffield and Leicester before coming to Nottingham in 2009 to direct the Institute for Name-Studies.
English place-names; Old English and Old Norse language and literature; the history of the English language.
I am Honorary Secretary of the English Place-Name Society (EPNS). I am currently involved in three externally-funded research projects:
- The place-names of Shropshire: a four-year AHRC-funded project to complete the EPNS survey of Shropshire;
- Travel and communication in Anglo-Saxon England: three-year Leverhulme-funded research project (with UCL)
- Flood and Flow: place-names and the changing hydrology of river-systems (with the Universities of Leicester, Southampton, and Wales)
Outreach and public engagement
I am engaged upon a programme of outreach activities in connection with the above projects. My work on Shropshire place-names has included a series of talks in Shropshire and curating three exhibitions, in Oswestry, Ludlow, and Shropshire.
My teaching draws on my research in Old English and Old Norse language and literature, and in English place-names.
Undergraduate modules taught
Beginnings of English (level 1); English Place-Names (level 3); Dissertation (level 3)
Postgraduate modules taught
The Study of Place-Names; Old English Texts 1; Dissertation
I am principal investigator for the AHRC-funded research project, The Place-Names of Shropshire. Colleagues within the Institute for Name-Studies and the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studes… read more
I welcome students who are interesting in pursuing research on English place-names, on Old English language and / or literature, and on the history of the English language.
My current research students are working on:
Interactions of thought and action in Old English poetry;
The place-names of the Pas-de-Calais;
The language of cooking in late Middle and Early Modern English.
I am principal investigator for the AHRC-funded research project, The Place-Names of Shropshire. Colleagues within the Institute for Name-Studies and the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studes (University of Wales) are collaborating to finish the English Place-Name Society survey of Shropshire. Six volumes, authored by Margaret Gelling, were published between 1990 and 2012. The project team will produce a further five volumes, three of which I co-author.
I am a team-member of two further externally-funded projects, both funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The first, Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England, is a collaborative project which brings together archaeologists from UCL, place-name scholars from Nottingham, and historians from Winchester to investigate the routeway network of early medieval England. The second, Flood and Flow, place-names and the changing hydrology of river-systems, involves the Universities of Leicester, Southampton, and Wales, as well as Nottingham. This project draws on place-name evidence to study river flooding and water/land management during the period c.700-1100AD, the last major episode on record of rapid warming and weather extremes.
I continue to work with members of the project team from the Leverhulme programme, The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: Evidence, Memories, Inventions (2011-16). We are currently preparing a volume on Migrants in Medieval England.
My doctoral thesis, 'Poetic Discourse in Viking Age England', examined verse produced in English in the tenth and eleventh centuries in Old English, Old Norse, and Latin. Work from this thesis has appeared in the Review of English Studies and as chapters in edited volumes. I have contributed to the Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages project, as editor of Markús Skeggjason's verse (in vol. 2, published in 2009) and of Þórðr Kolbeinsson's Eiríksdrápa (vol. 1, 2012). Work on Old English heroic verse has appeared in the Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English (2010).
I was one of the four founder members of the AHRC-funded Viking Identities Network. I was co-investigator on the Leverhulme-funded project, Landscapes of Governance: Assembly Sites in England, 5th-11th centuries.
The Vikings in Britain and Ireland , co-authored with Stephen Harrison and Gareth Williams, was published by the British Museum in 2014, and timed to coincide with their exhibition, Vikings - Life and Legend.