INS
Institute for Name-Studies
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Sarah Beach

Research Librarian, Faculty of Registrars

Contact

Biography

Following a BA and MPhil at King's College, Cambridge, I worked for the European Commission and for an Oxford-based global analysis and advisory firm. I joined the Institute for Name-Studies (INS) in 2012, initially working on DEEP, a JISC-funded project to digitise the 80+ county survey volumes of the English Place-Name Society (EPNS), and subsequently on the Place-Names of Shropshire, a four-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Research Summary

I am currently a Research Fellow on Flood and Flow: Place-Names and the Changing Hydrology of River Systems, a two-year interdisciplinary project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This is a… read more

Current Research

I am currently a Research Fellow on Flood and Flow: Place-Names and the Changing Hydrology of River Systems, a two-year interdisciplinary project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This is a collaboration between the INS at Nottingham, the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (University of Wales), the School of History at the University of Leicester, and the School of Geography at the University of Southampton. Drawing on place-name evidence, the project will study river-flooding and water/land management in the medieval period and assess how names, archaeology and paleoenvironmental evidence might effectively be marshalled to map riverine landscapes during periods of rapid climate change.

My role is to create a full corpus of major place-names in England containing direct references to water by extracting these place-names and their current etymologies from the printed and digitized volumes of the English Place-Name Survey. Our bespoke relational database will allow quantitative and qualitative analysis of both generic elements (e.g. bæce/bece 'stream', lacu 'small stream, watercourse', pull/pyll 'pool, tidal creek, small stream', rīð/rīðig 'small stream', wæsse 'land by a meandering river prone to rapid flooding and draining') and their associated qualifiers. Analyses will be conducted on the basis of linguistic affinities, regional distributions and temporal range. The database will also facilitate the simultaneous examination of multiple place-name elements to establish concordances and variation in naming practices.

Past Research

From January 2013 to July 2016, I worked on the Place-Names of Shropshire. The objective of this four-year collaboration between the INS and the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (University of Wales) was to complete the long-term survey of Shropshire place-names begun by the late Dr Margaret Gelling. In addition to research tasks (which included use of a geographic information system to collect data and to map historic parish/township boundaries onto modern Ordnance Survey maps), I also co-organised a travelling exhibition in Shropshire in 2015-16. The exhibition was a key part of the project's public engagement and outreach programme, visiting libraries, museums and archives across the county.

From 2012-13, I worked on DEEP, a JISC-funded project to scan and render into machine-readable format the 80+ county survey volumes of the English Place-Name Society. My role was to undertake quality control of the OCR scans, XML tagging and HTML visualisations.

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