Institute for Name-Studies
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Welcome to the INS

The Institute for Name‑Studies (INS) is the home of research into place‑names and personal names at the University of Nottingham.

The English Place‑Name Society (EPNS) is the established national body for the subject; its offices and library are housed in the Institute.




The INS was established as an umbrella organisation for the research activities of the EPNS and name-studies scholars at the University of Nottingham.

The INS conducts numerous research projects into the origins and meanings of names and place-names, derived from English, Norse, British Celtic, French, and Latin languages. It also provides high-quality resources for both the study and analysis of place-names, which are used by historians, linguists, and geographers alike.

There are many study opportunities relating to the INS for higher education students of all levels

Current Research

Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England

The Travel and Communications project is a three-year interdisciplinary research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust investigating travel and communications in Anglo-Saxon England.

The project, a collaborative venture between the Institute of Archaeology at University College London and the Institute for Name-Studies at the University of Nottingham, runs from November 2014 and teams archaeologists, historians, and place-name scholars.  The project team are working to reconstruct Anglo-Saxon England’s overland route-system (and its intersections with the riverine route-system) using textual, landscape archaeological, and onomastic evidence.

Despite its evident importance for understanding several aspects of Anglo-Saxon society, including warfare, commerce and polity formation and extent, the Anglo-Saxon routeway network has not previously been investigated in detail at the national level. There is therefore much that is uncertain about the routeway network during the period.

It has often been assumed that the Roman road network remained in use throughout the Anglo-Saxon period; consequently, travel in Anglo-Saxon England is often discussed in relation to the Roman road network. However, as the majority of the known Roman roads did not survive into use in the early modern period, it is highly likely that some of these roads went out of use during the Anglo-Saxon period. Conversely, some of the non-Roman roads in use by the early modern period may have come into usage during the Anglo-Saxon period.

By combining archaeological, place-name and charter evidence, the project will shed light on the routeways that were in use during the Anglo-Saxon period. This will be made publicly available in a GIS-generated Online Atlas of the Anglo-Saxon route-system.


The Staffordshire Place-Name Project

Work has recently begun to restart the county place-name survey for Staffordshire. The first volume of the English Place-Name Society survey was published in 1984 but its editor, J. P. Oakden, unfortunately passed away before any further volumes were completed.

The INS is now running a volunteer study group, based at the Staffordshire Record Office, which is collecting historic place-name forms from documents held in Stafford.

The project has been running since February 2017, with a regular group of volunteers meeting on a weekly basis at the Staffordshire Record Office. The project was launched with a study day on 4 February, and a second study day is planned in July. Data collected during the project will be used in the completion of the EPNS survey of Staffordshire.

The project has a website, Twitter feed and Facebook page which are regularly updated with news and information.


Study With Us

Interested in name-studies? The INS at the University of Nottingham is a leading specialist in the study of place-names and personal names.

Students can specialise in name-studies at undergraduate,
masters, and doctoral level


Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland Spring Conference

06 - 09/04/2018
The Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland will hold its annual spring conference in Blackwaterfoot, Arran, from 6–9 April 2018.
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Last Year

Journal 46 published

The 46th volume of the Journal of the English Place-Name Society is now available, and has been distributed to EPNS members. It contains peer-reviewed articles and reviews of publications which may be of interest to the society's members.

Norfolk Slip Collection Report

Thanks to the kind support of Jim and Mary Ann Wilkes we have been able to undertake research to investigate if the collection of material in the library of the English Place-Name Society relating to Norfolk will support the writing-up of a dictionary of Norfolk place-names. This generous donation has enabled Ellen Fisher to spend a month working through the archive, assessing its scope and coverage, under the supervision of Dr Paul Cavill, and we are delighted to be able to report on the results.

Leeds IMC

The INS had a session at this year's International Medieval Congress, entitled 'Productive Ground: place-names and the landscapes of food provision'. It was chaired by Jayne Carroll and featured papers by Rebecca Gregory, Eleanor Rye and John Baker.

Congratulations to Dr Eleanor Rye!

Ellie Rye graduated with a PhD in English Studies on 12 July.

Appointment of Peter McClure as Honorary Professor of Name-Studies

The INS is delighted to announce the forthcoming appointment of Dr Peter McClure as Honorary Professor within the Institute for Name-Studies.

EPNS Council and Editors' Meetings

On 23rd March 2016, the Institute for Name-Studies hosted the spring meetings of the Council and Editors of the English Place-Name Society.

Members of the INS attend the SNSBI Spring Conference

Members of the Institute for Name-Studies attended the 25th Spring Conference of the SNSBI (Society for Name-Studies in Britain and Ireland) at Maynooth University, Ireland. Three members of the INS gave papers at the conference.

Travel and Communication team attend the SNSBI Spring Conference

Members of the Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England team attended the 25th Spring Conference of the Society for Name-Studies in Britain and Ireland at Maynooth University, Ireland.

Rebecca Gregory elected member of the SNSBI Committee

Congratulations to Rebecca Gregory, who was nominated and accepted as an Ordinary Member of the committee of the Society for Name-Studies in Britain and Ireland

Network X

Jayne Carroll represented the Institute for Name-Studies at the Centre for Spatial and Textual Analysis, Stanford University, at its second annual Text Technologies Collegium.

Norse in the North

Kat Whitehouse gave a paper entitled 'The Viking translation of place in South Yorkshire major names' at the annual Norse in the North conference.

Fieldwork on Offa's Dyke

Fieldwork on Offa's Dyke
Members of the Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England project carried out fieldwork on Offa's Dyke (Herefordshire, Powys, Shropshire) between 31st May and 4th June 2016.

First meeting of Flood and Flow

Ahead of its official launch in August 2016, the research team attached to the project Flood and Flow: Place-Names and the Changing Hydrology of River-Systems met on 20th June 2016 to discuss the project's terms of reference and the hypotheses which will be tested.

MA field-trip to Appleby Magna, Leicestershire

Students of place-names following the MA in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies completed a place-names walk, taking in the four counties of Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire.

Place-Names Talk in Cambridge

John Baker spoke to an enthusiastic and welcoming meeting of Rotarians and their partners. Giving them an introduction to the work of the English Place-Name Society and a whistle-stop tour of Cambridgeshire place-names, emphasising their historical significance.

BBC Radio Shropshire interview

Dr Jayne Carroll, Principal Investigator on the Place-Names of Shropshire project, was interviewed on BBC Radio Shropshire's Jim Hawkins morning programme.

Architectures of Power

Architectures of Power
John Baker was invited to contribute to the second of three workshops in the Early Medieval Royal Residences Network, held at Durham University on 8th-9th June 2016.

Shropshire Star features place-names project

Dr John Baker was interviewed by Toby Neal (Features Editor, Shropshire Star) about the Place-Names of Shropshire project and travelling exhibition.

Welsh legal seminar

Dr David Parsons gave a talk (in Welsh) to the Seminar Cyfraith Hywel, a group dedicated to the study of medieval Welsh law.

The Weird and Wonderful Sounds of Place-Names

A podcast on the pronunciation of place-names.
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School of English

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5919
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 7526