School of English

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Ellen Chaplin

Research Student,


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (part-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

The Place-Names of Lifton Hundred, Devonshire

Research Summary Replace

My research project constitutes the first detailed study of Devon place- and field-names, focusing on the twenty-one parishes of Lifton Hundred, a historic division of Devonshire. It explores place-names in the context of linguistic, industrial, topographical, and social history to provide foundational research relevant to multiple disciplines, presented as a survey of place- and field-names alongside etymological case studies.

My overall research aims are:

  • to collect new material into a survey of place- and field-names presented with etymological analysis to inform future research

  • to present case studies on what field-names reveal about language, landscape and industry in West Devon

  • to offer a new collection of Devon field-names with detailed etymological analysis

  • to re-examine previously suggested etymologies with reference to wider scholarship and newly unearthed attestations

  • to share my research with local groups, promoting local identity and land optimisation

I am entering the second year (FT equivalent) of my research and have thus far compiled a database of place- and field-names drawn from current and historic maps, along with new name attestations gathered from primary archive material. I have used this database to compile EPNS volume-style entries for each parish with detailed onomastic analysis, supplemented with geo-referenced, hand-drawn field-name maps. During my second year I will add to these parish entries as I uncover more new name attestations. Additionally I will begin work on gathering material for the case-studies which will be presented alongside my survey.

Research Supervisors

Dr Jayne Carroll

Dr John Baker

Conferences, Papers and Talks

'Exploring Our Landscape Through Place-Names', 21st February 2023, Lewdown Past Association

'19th-Century Field-Names of Bridestowe Parish, Devon', 5th May 2022, Devonshire Association

'Revisiting Devon Place-Names', June 2021, CPRE Devon

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