School of English

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Image of Jessica Treacher

Jessica Treacher

Research Student,


Teaching Summary

Q31207 Beginnings of English (Autumn and Spring Semester), seminar tutor

Research Summary

Research Topic:

Early medieval place-names

Thesis Title:

The Arboreal Toponym: place-name evidence for the exploitation and management of trees in early medieval England

Thesis Description:

My research explores onomastic evidence for the social, cultural, environmental and economic importance of trees within the physical and ideological landscape of early medieval England. It considers their use as monuments and resources, and their role in landscape management.

I am entering my second year of research and have thus far compiled a database of major names that reference a tree species or woodland management technique, and which are first attested by the end of the twelfth century. The data will be mapped and analysed in conjunction with regional case-studies that allow for the consideration of geological and climatic influences on tree growth and species prevalence. This comprehensive approach to the material will contribute to our understanding of early medieval perceptions and uses of trees and their place within the medieval landscape.

My thesis will consider:

  • The environmental and cultural role of trees in early medieval society.
  • The types of tree that gave rise to place-names and what can we learn from these names about tree vocabulary.
  • The strengths and limitations of place-name evidence in answering questions about the early medieval environment and ecology.


Dr John Baker (University of Nottingham)

Dr Jayne Carroll (University of Nottingham)

Dr Richard Jones (University of Leicester)

Funding Body:

Midlands3Cities AHRC Doctoral Studentship (2018)

School of English

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