INS
Institute for Name-Studies
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Welcome to the INS

The Institute for Name‑Studies (INS) is the home of research into place‑names and personal names at the University of Nottingham.

The English Place‑Name Society (EPNS) is the established national body for the subject; its offices and library are housed in the Institute.

 

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Overview

The INS was established as an umbrella organisation for the research activities of the EPNS and name-studies scholars at the University of Nottingham.

The INS conducts numerous research projects into the origins and meanings of names and place-names, derived from English, Norse, British Celtic, French, and Latin languages. It also provides high-quality resources for both the study and analysis of place-names, which are used by historians, linguists, and geographers alike.

There are many study opportunities relating to the INS for higher education students of all levels
 

Current Research

Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England

The Travel and Communications project is a three-year interdisciplinary research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust investigating travel and communications in Anglo-Saxon England.

The project, a collaborative venture between the Institute of Archaeology at University College London and the Institute for Name-Studies at the University of Nottingham, runs from November 2014 and teams archaeologists, historians, and place-name scholars.  The project team are working to reconstruct Anglo-Saxon England’s overland route-system (and its intersections with the riverine route-system) using textual, landscape archaeological, and onomastic evidence.

Despite its evident importance for understanding several aspects of Anglo-Saxon society, including warfare, commerce and polity formation and extent, the Anglo-Saxon routeway network has not previously been investigated in detail at the national level. There is therefore much that is uncertain about the routeway network during the period.

It has often been assumed that the Roman road network remained in use throughout the Anglo-Saxon period; consequently, travel in Anglo-Saxon England is often discussed in relation to the Roman road network. However, as the majority of the known Roman roads did not survive into use in the early modern period, it is highly likely that some of these roads went out of use during the Anglo-Saxon period. Conversely, some of the non-Roman roads in use by the early modern period may have come into usage during the Anglo-Saxon period.

By combining archaeological, place-name and charter evidence, the project will shed light on the routeways that were in use during the Anglo-Saxon period. This will be made publicly available in a GIS-generated Online Atlas of the Anglo-Saxon route-system.

 

The Staffordshire Place-Name Project

Work has recently begun to restart the county place-name survey for Staffordshire. The first volume of the English Place-Name Society survey was published in 1984 but its editor, J. P. Oakden, unfortunately passed away before any further volumes were completed.

The INS is now running a volunteer study group, based at the Staffordshire Record Office, which is collecting historic place-name forms from documents held in Stafford.

The project has been running since February 2017, with a regular group of volunteers meeting on a weekly basis at the Staffordshire Record Office. The project was launched with a study day on 4 February, and a second study day is planned in July. Data collected during the project will be used in the completion of the EPNS survey of Staffordshire.

The project has a website, Twitter feed and Facebook page which are regularly updated with news and information.

 

Study With Us

Interested in name-studies? The INS at the University of Nottingham is a leading specialist in the study of place-names and personal names.

Students can specialise in name-studies at undergraduate,
masters, and doctoral level

Events

Holme from Home? East Midland Place-Names and the Story of Viking Settlement

Holme from Home? East Midland Place-Names and the Story of Viking Settlement
Date
20/12/2017
Description
What can place-names tell us about Vikings in the East Midlands?

American Name Society annual meeting

Date
04 - 07/01/2018
Description
The American Name Society will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America from 4–7 January 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Vikings in your Vocabulary

Vikings in your Vocabulary
Date
10/01/2018
Description
Find out how the Vikings influenced the English language.

Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland Spring Conference

Date
06 - 09/04/2018
Description
The Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland will hold its annual spring conference in Blackwaterfoot, Arran, from 6–9 April 2018.
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News

Last Year

Appointment of Peter McClure as Honorary Professor of Name-Studies

Description
The INS is delighted to announce the forthcoming appointment of Dr Peter McClure as Honorary Professor within the Institute for Name-Studies.

Congratulations to Dr Eleanor Rye!

Description
Ellie Rye graduated with a PhD in English Studies on 12 July.

Leeds IMC

Description
The INS had a session at this year's International Medieval Congress, entitled 'Productive Ground: place-names and the landscapes of food provision'. It was chaired by Jayne Carroll and featured papers by Rebecca Gregory, Eleanor Rye and John Baker.

EPNS Council and Editors' Meetings

Description
On 23rd March 2016, the Institute for Name-Studies hosted the spring meetings of the Council and Editors of the English Place-Name Society.

Members of the INS attend the SNSBI Spring Conference

Description
Members of the Institute for Name-Studies attended the 25th Spring Conference of the SNSBI (Society for Name-Studies in Britain and Ireland) at Maynooth University, Ireland. Three members of the INS gave papers at the conference.

Travel and Communication team attend the SNSBI Spring Conference

Description
Members of the Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England team attended the 25th Spring Conference of the Society for Name-Studies in Britain and Ireland at Maynooth University, Ireland.

Rebecca Gregory elected member of the SNSBI Committee

Description
Congratulations to Rebecca Gregory, who was nominated and accepted as an Ordinary Member of the committee of the Society for Name-Studies in Britain and Ireland

Network X

Description
Jayne Carroll represented the Institute for Name-Studies at the Centre for Spatial and Textual Analysis, Stanford University, at its second annual Text Technologies Collegium.

Norse in the North

Description
Kat Whitehouse gave a paper entitled 'The Viking translation of place in South Yorkshire major names' at the annual Norse in the North conference.

Fieldwork on Offa's Dyke

Fieldwork on Offa's Dyke
Description
Members of the Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England project carried out fieldwork on Offa's Dyke (Herefordshire, Powys, Shropshire) between 31st May and 4th June 2016.

MA field-trip to Appleby Magna, Leicestershire

Description
Students of place-names following the MA in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies completed a place-names walk, taking in the four counties of Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire.

First meeting of Flood and Flow

Description
Ahead of its official launch in August 2016, the research team attached to the project Flood and Flow: Place-Names and the Changing Hydrology of River-Systems met on 20th June 2016 to discuss the project's terms of reference and the hypotheses which will be tested.

Place-Names Talk in Cambridge

Description
John Baker spoke to an enthusiastic and welcoming meeting of Rotarians and their partners. Giving them an introduction to the work of the English Place-Name Society and a whistle-stop tour of Cambridgeshire place-names, emphasising their historical significance.

BBC Radio Shropshire interview

Description
Dr Jayne Carroll, Principal Investigator on the Place-Names of Shropshire project, was interviewed on BBC Radio Shropshire's Jim Hawkins morning programme.

Architectures of Power

Architectures of Power
Description
John Baker was invited to contribute to the second of three workshops in the Early Medieval Royal Residences Network, held at Durham University on 8th-9th June 2016.

Shropshire Star features place-names project

Description
Dr John Baker was interviewed by Toby Neal (Features Editor, Shropshire Star) about the Place-Names of Shropshire project and travelling exhibition.

Welsh legal seminar

Description
Dr David Parsons gave a talk (in Welsh) to the Seminar Cyfraith Hywel, a group dedicated to the study of medieval Welsh law.

The Weird and Wonderful Sounds of Place-Names

Description
A podcast on the pronunciation of place-names.

Programme for The Viking World: Diversity and Change Now Available

Description
Check out the programme for our conference The Viking World: Diversity and Change.

New 'Key' Website Launched

Description
This is a guide to the interpretation of the names of England's cities, towns and villages.
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School of English

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5919
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 7526
email: name-studies@nottingham.ac.uk