School of English

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Joshua Neal

Research Student,


Teaching Summary

(Q33220) English Place-Names - Seminar Tutor, Autumn 2018.

(Q31207) Beginnings of English - Seminar Tutor, Spring 2019.

Research Summary

Research topic:

(Anglo-) Scandinavian place-names.

Thesis title:

Danelaw Boundaries: the place-name evidence in context.

Research summary:

My research investigates Scandinavian influence in the border regions of Anglo-Scandinavian England, using place-names as historical evidence where traditional textual evidence is limited.

The Alfred-Guthrum treaty of c. AD 886 (AGu), a peace between Alfred, King of Wessex, and Guthrum, a viking leader, ostensibly divided England politically: much territory in the north and east of England came under Scandinavian rule, and a large area of (north-) eastern England became socially and legally scandinavianised to such an extent that it was later referred to as the 'Danelaw'. The reality of AGu's boundary as a sociopolitical and socioethnic border has been much debated; place-name evidence indicates it was not a fixed sociolinguistic border.

My thesis will analyse Scandinavian nomenclature in eleven modern counties, ranging from Essex in the south-east to Cheshire in the north-west. These counties include those adjoined or bisected by AGu's boundary, and neighbouring counties which feature natural borders for Scandinavian linguistic influence (e.g. The Fens in Cambridgeshire). These counties' place-names, although complex evidence, provide the opportunity to assess the level of Scandinavian linguistic influence in the border regions of Anglo-Scandinavian England.

Research Supervisors:

Dr Jayne Carroll (UoN); Dr John Baker (UoN).


Midlands3Cities AHRC Doctoral Studentship

School of English

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The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

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