English Place-Name Society

Alfred Oscroft Essay Prize

The English Place-Name Society is delighted to introduce the Alfred Oscroft Essay Prize for undergraduate work on place-names. Details of how to enter a student's work for the prize, along with information about Alfred Oscroft, can be found below.

Please note that submissions should be made by tutors rather than students.

Any queries should be addressed to name-studies@nottingham.ac.uk.


Information about the Essay Prize

  1. Entries are invited of work on place-names which has been submitted as part of an undergraduate module or course.
  2. Submissions should not exceed 5,000 words (excluding bibliography).
  3. Submissions should be made by tutors, rather than students, by 1st August each year. The winner will be announced by 31st October of the same year.
  4. Entries should be submitted electronically, as a Word document or PDF.
  5. Entries will be judged by the Honorary Director of the Survey of English Place-Names and a panel appointed by the Honorary Director (excluding tutors who have made submissions on behalf of their students).
  6. A prize of £250 will be awarded annually for the best submission, and £100 for the runner-up. Winners will be listed on the EPNS website and in the Society's journal, and both the winner and runner-up will also receive a copy of Oscroft's book Place-Names of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Entries should be sent electronically to:

Alfred Oscroft (1867–1939) was born in
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but was
unable to accept a scholarship to
Nottingham University because his family
was too poor. He spent a lifetime working
for the Ordnance Survey, first in the field
and then at the Southampton office as a
map examiner. He had a remarkable range
of hobbies, the foremost of which was
toponymy. He wrote a 1,000-page
manuscript (beautifully illustrated with his
own pen-and-ink drawings and water-
colours) – Place-Names of Hampshire and
the Isle of Wight. 
The work was eventually transcribed, edited, typeset, and published
in 2015 by his grandson, James Wilkes
(a retired chemical engineering faculty
member, first at the University of Cambridge
and then at the University of Michigan), as
a 624-page hardcover book with 200
illustrations. It is very fitting that Alfred
Oscroft's memory be perpetuated in the
Essay Prize that bears his name.

Prize Winners

2018 Winner:

Jasmin Higgs (Nottingham), for her project on Essex place-names.

2018 Runner Up:

Katie Wilson (University of the West of England), for work on street-names in south Gloucestershire.

2017 Winner:

Ruut Korpinen (Nottingham), for her project on Suffolk place-names.

2017 Runner Up:

Alex Lori (Salford), for his blog on Kingston upon Hull.

English Place-Name Society

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5919
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924
email: name-studies@nottingham.ac.uk