School of English

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Image of Kathryn Bullen

Kathryn Bullen

Research Student,


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Assess the impact of language, history and landscape on place-names on the Isle of Axholme.

Research Summary

My research aims to discover what place-names in the Isle of Axholme can tell us about the historical change to society and culture in North Lincolnshire, which lies within the area historically known as the Danelaw. It will collect historical forms of place-names in order to build a strong foundation for further investigation. The project will benefit the local community and environmental agencies by promoting a greater appreciation for the landscape and an awareness of possible changes in the future which connect with its more watery past. It will also provide material for a publishable volume of the English Place-Name Society, contributing to the survey for Lincolnshire.

Living in North Lincolnshire, I am familiar with the project area's landscape and historical context, as well as the relationship of the local people with their inland island environment, which is defined by natural and man-made waterways and is still known locally as 'The Isle'. Substantial alterations to the landscape occurred due to drainage and land reclamation in the 1620s, changing from a predominantly marshy area liable to flooding into productive agricultural land. Consequently contemporary place-names may not now reflect their original meanings at the time of place-name coinage, but meanings may well become more relevant in the future following likely environmental changes.

Research Interests


Viking and Anglo-Saxon history

Wetland habitats

Research Supervisors

Dr Jayne Carroll

Dr John Baker

Dr Richard Jones

Academic History

MA English Studies (Distinction) - University of Nottingham, 2016-2018

Diploma in Teaching English (literacy) in the Lifelong Learning Sector - University of Hull, 2010

PGCE - University of Huddersfield, 2007

BA (Hons) English Literature/German Language and Contemporary Studies - Oxford Brookes University

Scholarships, Funding & Prizes

University of Nottingham, School of English PGR Community Prize - for working tirelessly to communicate research to the Axholme community - 07/2021

Midlands4Cities full-time award - from 10/2020 - 6/2023

Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London: London International Palaeography Summer School 2020 - Institutional Bursary

The Christine Fell Award - 10/2019

Conference Papers & Presentations

'Discovering Axholme place-names' - Crowle and Ealand Heritage Society - 9/3/2023

'Axholme Place-Names: Community Engagement' - Institute for Name-Studies, Nottingham, online seminar - 31/10/2022

'Digging up the evidence of Axholme place-names' - Owston Ferry Heritage Society - 12/10/2022

'Axholme: Place-Names in the Museum - manorial documents and more' poster presentation, Manorial Documents Register Conference 2022, co-hosted by The National Archives and University of Nottingham's Manuscripts and Special Collection, The University of Nottingham - 6/9/2022

'Dykes, Ditches, and Drains: Borders and Place-Names on the Isle of Axholme', International Medieval Congress, Leeds - 7/7/2022

'Working with Communities - Axholme place-names', Lincoln Record Society Research Network - 22/6/2022

'Digging up the evidence of Axholme place-names: language, history, and landscape', North Lincolnshire Museum - 18/5/2022

'Place-Names on the Map', Virtual Gallery e-Stack, Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival - 7/6-10/6/2021

'The Lincolnshire Isle: Place-Names in a Watery Landscape', Digital Museum - 4/6/2021

'Place-Names on the Map', North Lincolnshire Museum - 26/5/2021

'The Scandinavian Influence on Place-Names and Artefacts in the Isle of Axholme', University of Nottingham School of English PGR Symposium - 22/1/2021

'Axholme: Place-Names in the Marsh', University of Nottingham History PGR Work in Progress presentation - 25/11/2020

'Ten-Minute Talk - Axholme: Place-Names in the Marsh', British Association for Local History - 17/11/2020

'Axholme: Place-Names in the Marsh - a journey into bog and moor', SNSBI online autumn conference - 17/10/2020 - review in SNSBI newsletter

'Crowle Bogland' - poetry performance at Words on the Wall, poetry and spoken word online event - 21/6/2020

'Axholme: Place-Names in the Marsh - past, present and future', Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership - 23/4/2020: Sway overview

'Axholme: Place-Names in the Marsh - public engagement', East Midlands Doctoral Network Postgraduate Research Conference (Public Engagement), University of Derby - 11/9/2019

'Place-Names in North Lincolnshire', University Campus North Lincolnshire (part of University of Lincoln) - 6/6/2019

'Place-Names in North Lincolnshire', U3A History Group Scunthorpe - 26/3/2019

Other publications

The Career Mentoring Scheme - My Journey - blog for University of Nottingham - 20/4/2023 (forthcoming)

'Working with Communities - Axholme place-names' - article outlining presentation given to Lincoln Records Research Network - Lincoln Record Society - Newsletter Issue 20 - Autumn 2022

'Placement at the Museum - the Final Update' - Discover article/blog for the North Lincolnshire Museum website - 9/2022

'Placement at the Museum: Researcher's Update', Discover article/blog for the North Lincolnshire Museum website - 8/4/2022

'Isle of Axholme Place-Names: Discovering the landscape through the language of place-names' - website with resources, designed to complement the 2022 Isle of Axholme Exhibition at the North Lincolnshire Museum, showcasing place-name research alongside a celebration of the work of the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership, which aims to reconnect the local community with their unique landscape and heritage - 18/3/2022 (over 1,350 visitors and 280 downloads of educational material)

'Vikings in Axholme? Evidence from place-names and archaeological finds at Haxey and Crowle in the Isle of Axholme' - contribution to Project Wildscape booklet Discovering Hatfield Chase and the Isle of Axholme, ed. by N. J. Whitehouse and J. Karhapaa (North Lincolnshire Council, 2022, pp. 82-92), designed to complement the Isle of Axholme Exhibition at the North Lincolnshire Museum - 18/3/2022

Placement at the Museum - Place-Names on the Isle of Axholme' - article discussing what it is like to work behind the scenes at a museum - Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland - Newsletter 24 - Spring 2022

'Placement at the Museum - Place-Names on the Isle of Axholme' - Discover article/blog for the North Lincolnshire Museum website - 1/2/2022

'Digging up the origins of "road"' - Viae Regiae blog and wiki - 25/2/2021

Additional Information

Research Assistant, University of Nottingham - transcription from electronic images of nineteenth-century literary texts of British India - 7/2022

Chair - SNSBI online spring conference - Session 4: Churches and Houses - 9/4/2022

Co-organiser - Natural Horizons Conference - Midlands4Cities-funded online interdisciplinary symposium exploring the themes of landscape, space and environment - ​24/2/2022

PRINCE2 Foundation project management course passed - 2/12/2021

Isle of Axholme Exhibition 2022 project team member (Midlands4Cities placement) - North Lincolnshire Museum - 10/2021-10/2022. Main tasks: designing exhibition, developing learning resources and delivering outreach events; sharing research findings relating to the impact of language, history and landscape on place-names on the Isle of Axholme; reconnecting the local community with their unique local landscape and heritage. Interview with BBC Radio Humberside at Living History Family Fun day, CBA Festival of Archaeology - 29/7/22 (over 800 visitors engaged with activities at museum).

Chair - Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival - Research Relay Four: Performance and Practice - 8/6/2021

Team Member - Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival - 7/6-10/6/2021

Volunteer Associate - Viae Regiae 'Mapping the ​​Transport Network of England and Wales, 1530-1680'. Specific task: geotagging place-names on Saxton's 1576 map of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire to contribute to the creation of the first digital edition of the Saxton atlas - 2-6/2021

Research Affiliate, University of Nottingham - assisting in the completion and indexing of Research Excellence Framework publications for the Institute for Name-Studies - 11/2020 to 6/2021. Specific task: index proofing 'An Index to personal names in English place-names' by Keith Briggs (English Place-Name Society, 2021).

Pod User Tester, University of Nottingham - testing and providing feedback on two new pods for Applied English MA - 6-7/2020

Research Assistant, University of Nottingham - organising, checking and compiling abstracts for the British Association for Romantic Studies 16th International Conference 2019 - 6-7/2019

Research Assistant, University of Nottingham - transcription of poetry from 19th century Indian newspapers - 6-7/2019

Previous experience

Adult Education and Community Learning Tutor - GCSE English, Functional Skills (English), Creative Writing - 3/2004-8/2019

Research Institutes, Centres and/or Research Clusters Memberships

Institute for Name-Studies

English Place-Name Society

Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland - Ordinary Committee Member and Outreach (Resources) Sub-Committee Member - 4/2021-4/2024

Royal Historical Society - Early Career Member - elected 30/9/2021

Association for Project Management - Student Member

British Association for Local History

Centre for the Study of the Viking Age

Viking Society for Northern Research

Regia Anglorum

School of English

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