Institute for Name-Studies

Cameron Lecture 2019

2019's lecture was on Saturday 27th April. It was given by Professor Lesley Abrams (Balliol College, Oxford), and is entitled 'Vive la Différence? Place-names and Scandinavian settlement in England and Normandy in the Viking Age'. 

 Vive la Différence?

The Historical Value of Scandinavian Place-Names
in England and Normandy

Lesley Abrams

I want to begin by thanking Nottingham for the invitation to give the Cameron Lecture. Kenneth Cameron’s articles on the Anglo-Saxon invasions and the Scandinavian Settlement of the Five Boroughs were my introduction to place-name studies when I was a graduate student,[2] and his work was very formative in my understanding of what happened in England during the Viking Age. I’m sorry that I never met him, but I’m delighted – and honoured – to be here today to participate in this event in his memory.

It is well known that both the Frankish Empire and the several kingdoms of pre-Conquest England were targeted by raids from the start of the Viking Age. It is also well known that, over the course of the period, Scandinavians settled in eastern and northern England, in what came to be called the Danelaw, and in northwestern France, in what came to be called Normandy. We know this from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which tells us that, starting in 876, viking armies defeated the various rulers of Northumbria, Mercia, and East Anglia and divided up the land; and from Continental chroniclers who describe a peace deal with the Frankish king Charles the Simple in 911 when Rollo and his vikings were given the land at the mouth of the Seine, augmented by further grants soon thereafter.

What happened next is not recorded in writing, but the place-names of both regions attest to the presence of men and women with many of the same Scandinavian names,[3] and to the adoption of the same elements of Norse language into the local onomasticon (toftþveit, þorp, bekkr, etc.). The two Scandinavian settlements are, however, understood in very different ways.

Road signs for Rollesby, Rolleston and Rouville, map showing Routot
Fig. 1. Place-names in northern England and northern France indicate Scandinavian settlements.

So, in England, Matthew Townend (for example) has written of the viking warriors, followed by Scandinavian settlers, ‘who left an indelible mark on [Yorkshire’s] history and culture’; and Tim Pestell has summed up his recent review of East Anglia’s Viking-Age archaeology by saying that the ‘Viking background is undeniably one of the region’s major building blocks, ever present in the names of our villages or the landscape they settled in and helped to create’.[4] 

In contrast, in a recent discussion Vincent Carpentier and Cyril Marcigny asserted that the Scandinavian settlement in Normandy needs to be ‘freed from the identity myth which has been peddled by generations of scholars with a penchant for romantic and racist regional history’.[5] ‘The search for a clearly differentiated Scandinavian ethnicity in Normandy is by necessity a dead end, because it is not historically founded, but rather ideologically based in the racist and ultra-nationalist tendencies of the contemporary era'.[6]

Here’s another contrast. Matthew Townend again: ‘It is place-name study that has done as much as any discipline to bring us knowledge about the Scandinavian episode in England’s past; the history of the Danelaw would be unwritable without it'.[7] In Normandy, on the other hand, according to Carpentier and Marcigny place-names have not ‘brought knowledge’, they have created a ‘historical mirage’. The place-name map ‘has served, for over half a century, to represent a historically false regional identity, built on an artificial connection between the maritime culture of the province and the so-called Nordic origins of its medieval population’; ‘this historical mirage, first established by the scholars of the nineteenth century, was supported by the philologists and folklorists of the succeeding century. Today, it still feeds the incurable idolatry of certain devotees besotted with Norman linguistics’.[8]



Fig. 2. Map of Norfolk, England including Rollesby (Full Size)
Fig. 3. Map of Seine-Maritime, France including Routot (Full Size)

There are significant differences between the origins and the subsequent development of the Scandinavian settlements in England and in Normandy, which I will not have time to discuss today – but these are not so significant that you would necessarily expect them to generate such an extreme difference of opinion. Most Norman scholars might not express themselves quite as emphatically as these two authors, but it is very much the case that, even if place-names are included, they generally play a minor role in most recent narratives of Normandy’s early history written in France: dutifully mentioned, the implications of their evidence are then often downplayed or ignored. In contrast to the importance attributed to the Scandinavian impact in northern and eastern England, most modern French scholarship on the Normans considers the Scandinavian contribution after Rollo’s takeover in 911 to have been minimal and marginal.[9] This minimalism, it seems to me, is closely connected to the dismissive attitude to place-names. So, in order to understand why current attitudes differ so profoundly, I felt I should investigate the history of place-name study in the two countries. A comprehensive comparison of their respective historiographies is beyond the scope of this lecture (and my expertise), but today I would like to pursue the question of why attitudes to their Scandinavian experiences are so different in England and France, focusing in particular on perceptions of the historical value of place-names.[10]

Medieval authors occasionally remarked on the Scandinavian influence on English place-names: in the thirteenth century, Snorri Sturluson in his ‘Saga of Hakon the Good’ commented on the many names in Northern England ‘derived from the Norse tongue’.[11] When history became crucial in the construction of a new definition of ‘Englishness’ in the sixteenth century, cartography became a useful new way of representing the past, and systematic mapping of the kingdom began – an approach which naturally drew the eye to the places on the map. William Camden, who in 1586 produced the first comprehensive topographical survey of Britain, illustrated later editions of his Britannia with historical maps.[12] Camden pioneered the investigation of place-name etymologies in Britain, but, as far as I know, he didn’t know Old Norse. In 1695 and 1722, however – and I owe this reference to David Parsons – Camden’s Britannia was significantly revised by Edmund Gibson, who included the following in his ‘Additions on Norfolk’:


This is not just recording and etymologizing, this is historical interpretation: Gibson established a chronological context (‘first settlement’), commented on the nature of the landscape (almost an island) and the choice of site (‘nearest their landing’), classified the place-names by type (-bys), and explained the origin of the foreign generic (Danish). But Gibson seems to have been ahead of his time. Most antiquaries of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries seem to have simply offered speculative etymologies and traced place-names back to Roman, British, or Saxon roots (not Norse).[14]

In 1846, however, the Danish archaeologist, Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae, came to Britain with a commission from the king of Denmark. Issues of national identity were particularly sensitive in Denmark at the time, and the Danes were feeling the need to distance themselves from Germany. The viking heritage, with its impressive accomplishments away from the homelands, enhanced Danish identity; and place-names in particular created what Worsaae described as ‘a juster and less prejudiced notion’ of his viking countrymen, because they could turn attention away from raiding and warfare to nicer things – cultural influence on laws, language, and farming practice, for example – and show the constructive contributions of Danes where they settled overseas.[15] 

Fig. 4.  Map of place-names in Flegg, Norfolk (David N. Parsons) (Full Size)


 J.J.A. Worsaae
Fig. 5. Jens Jacob Amussen Worsaae (1821 -85)

The place-name etymologies in Worsaae’s Account of the Danes and Norwegians in England, Scotland, and Ireland may not all stand the test of time, but what is noteworthy is that, long before the modern fashion for interdisciplinarity, he used the evidence of place-names along with monuments, burials, and texts to try to understand Scandinavian settlement overseas, establishing a highly influential template for subsequent research.

Two further developments greatly influenced the study of the Scandinavian past in England, the first being a craze for “the Old North”. Norse ancestry and associations were embraced with enthusiasm across the country; the Hanoverian kings were said to have descended from Ragnar Loðbrok, tours of Iceland became fashionable, the study of Old Norse blossomed, and the translation of texts, which began in the eighteenth century, accelerated in the nineteenth.[16] For the Victorians, England’s Scandinavian past, combined with earlier ideas about the Anglo-Saxon period as a golden age of Germanic freedoms,[17] was a heady mix, a potent heritage that offered ideological support for the extension of their dominion across the world.

The passion for the Old North had many ramifications within Britain, but one result in scholarly circles was the intensification of interest in the names left in the landscape by Scandinavian forebears.


W. G. Collingwood, translator, artist, professor of fine art, novelist, and local historian, was one of many writers who were alert to place-names as a cultural footprint left by Viking-Age settlers.

The short study of the Lake District that he published in the 1890s (Fig. 7), for example, took the same approach as Worsaae, bringing place-names and material evidence together with texts to analyse the nature of Scandinavian settlement there.[18]

W.G. Collingworth Portrait
Fig. 6. W.G. Collingwood (1854-1932)
The Vikings in Lakeland
Fig. 7. Excerpt from The Vikings in Lakeland (W.G. Collingworth, 1895)



The cultural flowering inspired by Old Norse literature coincided with significant developments in linguistics. In the second half of the nineteenth century in particular, scholars interested in the history of language were stimulated to build on earlier studies of Old and Middle English, a process which helped to put England’s place-names increasingly under the microscope. Until then the study of place-names may have been (in the words of Michael Lapidge) ‘the province of amateur and uncritical guess-work’, ‘largely the preserve of amateurs with far-fetched and undisciplined notions of relationships between words’; but philologists and lexicographers such as William Skeat and Henry Bradley brought the rigorous methods of their disciplines to onomastics and raised the subject to a higher level.[19] Following on from these achievements, several Swedish scholars helped to further develop strict philological procedures for the analysis of English place-names and published extensively on the place-name corpus and other aspects of English language.[20]

The formation of the English Place-Name Society (EPNS) in 1923, stimulated by the collaboration of scholars from England and Scandinavia, was a major development. From the start, the Society brought together the expertise of philologists and historians, establishing a ‘creative interfusion of history and linguistics’ which Matthew Townend has characterised as one of the defining features of place-name study in England.[21] 


The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names
Fig. 8. Swedish scholar Eilert Ekwall published The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names in 1936
The Scandinavian Settlement Map
Fig. 9. from A. H. Smith, English Place-Name Elements, 2 vols (Cambridge 1956) (Full Size)
The first volume published by the Society, an introductory survey of place-names edited by Allen Mawer and Frank Stenton, a linguist and a historian respectively, came out in 1924.[22] Since then, 91 county volumes have been published and 50 volumes of a (now annual) journal. Stenton was President of both the EPNS (1942–6) and the Royal Historical Society (1937–45), and he made Scandinavian place-names the subject of his Presidential Address to the latter.[23] Alongside many different aspects of England’s toponymy that have been examined under the aegis of the EPNS, Scandinavian names have remained a constant focus. Three of Kenneth Cameron’s papers, which set out the evidence and analysed the processes of settlement (including the relevance of drift geology and the likelihood of ongoing migration), were reissued in 1975 and were instrumental in opening up new perspectives.[24] Other important contributions include A. H. Smith’s iconic map of ‘the Scandinavian Settlement’ (Fig. 9.), Margaret Gelling’s influential chapter in Signposts to the Past, and the voluminous work of Gillian Fellows-Jensen.[25] Nottingham has been and continues to be a particular powerhouse of place-name study. 

In 2013, the EPNS published an important and illuminating review of the state of play,[26] in which, among many other interesting observations, it was pointed out by Matthew Townend that names relating to settlement had dominated the discussion of Scandinavian place-names in the twentieth century.[27] Much effort went into grouping them into different types and creating hypotheses about their potential relation to different historical processes – land-taking, fragmentation of estates, secondary migration, expansion into new areas, etc. More recently, place-name scholars have turned to regional or micro-histories of settlement,[28] creating a much more granular picture of the impact of Norse-speaking settlers. This approach shifts the focus to a ‘more nuanced localism’ (Townend’s words),[29] demonstrating how varied the experience of Scandinavian settlement could be, even within a single kingdom.  

There was a bit of a wobble in the 1990s where place-names were concerned, prompted in part by Peter Sawyer’s minimalist assessment of the Scandinavian presence in England which had been gaining force since the 1960s.[30] The wave of revisionism that followed Sawyer’s downplaying of Scandinavian impact coincided with a crisis of confidence (especially among archaeologists) about migration as an explanation of change. Sawyer’s assertion that few Scandinavians had arrived in England, and the archaeologists’ conviction that change should not necessarily be attributed to new arrivals, naturally led to the questioning of the evidence of place-names, since the toponymic evidence loomed so large in the interpretation of the Scandinavian settlement. Dawn Hadley, for example, criticized the associated place-name scholarship as ‘stale’ and its questions ‘redundant’.[31] But after the introduction of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in 1997, the revisionist position became increasingly untenable, as objects found by metal-detectorists which had been imported from Scandinavia, or copied locally from Scandinavian models, began to flood into museums from the English countryside. Brooches, strap-ends, coins, gaming pieces, weights, Thor’s hammers – literally thousands of finds have been recorded.[32] Some seem to indicate the passage of armies, others (such as the brooches discussed by Jane Kershaw or assemblages such as the metal objects from Attleborough in Norfolk illustrated by Tim Pestell) are more suggestive of settlement.[33]

Metal Assemblage
Fig. 10. Metal assemblage, including an oblate-spheroid weight, lead Thor's hammer, and Scandinavian-style brooch from Attleborough, Norfolk.

Meanwhile, new scientific methods, such as isotope analysis, began to be applied to burials, potentially pointing to origins overseas. Although these techniques are still in development, results are proving highly suggestive.[34] This very striking recent observation by the archaeologists Julian Richards and Dave Haldenby shows how place-names are regaining their standing as evidence:

Following Sawyer, there was a tendency to dismiss the place-name evidence, and to attribute the fact that almost half of place names in the former East Riding of Yorkshire are Scandinavian-influenced to linguistic fashion and later changes in naming habits, continuing up to the Norman Conquest. The metal-detecting evidence now supports a re-appraisal of this view and suggests that a radical renaming may have followed Halfdan’s land seizure [in 876].[35]

This quick (and incomplete) survey of English scholarship brings us to the situation today, and we can now turn to France. My research is far from comprehensive, but I hope that an outline of developments can help to shape a comparison.

In the eighteenth century attitudes to the Scandinavian past in England and France seem to have followed similar trajectories. There certainly was significant cross-Channel interaction.[36] France experienced its own Nordic craze, at the centre of which was the Swiss-born scholar Paul-Henri Mallet, a professor of French at the University of Copenhagen. Mallet had an enormous influence in both France and England, several of his works being translated into English by Thomas Percy.[37] 

The front pages of three works by Paul-Henri Mallet
Fig. 11. The works of Paul-Henri Mallet.

For Mallet, the Scandinavians were the quintessential barbarians, a purifying force that had brought down Rome and all its disturbing decadence. Scandinavia was the home of freedom. Mallet’s work stressed the physical and cultural vigour of ‘the North’ and argued that Norse poetry was a gift from the past which had helped to revivify French literature. The perspective was overwhelmingly literary and cultural, overshadowing whatever role actual Scandinavians had played in the history of France. Viking raids and Scandinavian settlement paled into insignificance beside the glories of Old Norse literature and mythology (although the Bayeux Tapestry was prominently displayed in 1803 by Napoleon, doubtless to highlight William of Normandy’s victory over England as a precedent for his own).[38] Learned societies proliferated in both countries throughout the nineteenth century. Increasingly after 1870 the Third Republic encouraged a balance of local and national identities, motivated to uphold the concept of France’s marvellous diversity by ideals similar to those of the Victoria History of the Counties of England, which was launched in 1899 with the ambition to make a national unity and identity out of a multiplicity of local elements.[39] In Normandy, the activities of organizations such as the Société des Antiquaires de Normandie, founded in 1834 by Arcisse de Caumont, contributed to the development of a substantial local history, its Scandinavian origins coming increasingly to be seen as the cornerstone of its identity.[40] These societies helped interested readers to keep in touch with Scandinavian scholarship; for example, only a few years after the publication in 1876 of Johannes Steenstrup’s compendious history of the Viking Age, Normannerne, the Société included a French translation of the first volume in its Bulletin.[41] 

Just as in England, enthusiastic early students of Normandy’s Scandinavian place-names produced fantastic and overoptimistic etymologies.[42] But more professional explorations began in the nineteenth century, one of the first being by the historian Georges Depping (a German who became a French citizen), whose Histoire des expéditions maritimes des Normands et de leur établissement en France au dixième siècle was translated into both Danish and Swedish soon after its publication in 1826. Scandinavian interest in Depping’s work encouraged further links with scholars in Normandy. Worsaae visited and published on Normandy’s names in 1863, comparing them with England’s, and other examinations of Normandy’s place-names, personal names, and dialect by Danish and Norwegian scholars followed.[43] The millennium, celebrated with great pomp in 1911, fostered these connections further.[44]  

At the same time, French scholars were also addressing the larger history of France’s place-names: Jules Quicherat’s De la formation française des anciens noms de lieu in 1867 and Albert Dauzat’s Les Noms de Lieux - Origine et Evolutions in 1926, to name but two examples; their country-wide studies, however, paid only passing attention to Normandy. More locally, Édélestand and Alfred Duméril published a not very good Dictionnaire du patois normand in 1849 (they are nonetheless worth mentioning, surely, if only to wonder at French parents calling their children Athelstan and Alfred in 1801 and 1825, respectively). Better dictionaries and glossaries and lists of place-names followed, some of them clearly drawing on Scandinavian scholarship. However, although there was plenty of intellectual exchange between France and Scandinavia throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many French scholars were hampered by their imperfect knowledge of Old Norse; and the Scandinavians did not always have the most accurate material to work with.[45] The work that was done therefore probably had less philological rigour than it should have.[46] The lack of commonality between Romance and Old Norse, compared with the closeness of Old English and Old Norse, may also have been a factor in discouraging more collaborative work. No comparable French (or Norman) Place-Name Society developed to match the EPNS.

A perennial preoccupation of the investigation of place-names was the question of Rollo’s identity and whether Normandy had been founded by Danes or Norwegians.[47] The Secretary of the Société des Antiquaires de Normandie, in his Introduction to Steenstrup’s contribution to the Society’s Bulletin, noted that Steenstrup disagreed with another eminent authority, Gustav Storm, on this matter without pointing out that each man favoured the cause of his own country.[48] No scholar was able to make a case that was widely accepted, and the issue has not gone away. In 2016, no doubt inspired by the Richard III roadshow, the French allowed a Norwegian scientific team to open the tombs of Dukes Richard I and Richard II (Rollo’s grandson and great-grandson), who were thought to have been buried near the altar in the abbey of Fécamp. The explicit aim of the exercise was to determine by DNA analysis whether the ducal family was Danish or Norwegian. The surprise in the headline (‘Mystery of Viking Ruler Rollo Continues – Surprising Discovery in Ancient Grave’) was that one of the bodies had been buried around 700, and the other in the third century BC.[49] So, no answers there.  

Place-names were on the university curriculum in France in the late nineteenth century. Auguste Longnon, who held the chair of historical geography at the Collège de France, lectured on them at the Sorbonne in the 1890s. His work turns up unexpectedly in fiction: Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu includes a remarkable amount of place-name information, including a very long set-piece where a somewhat pedantic academic called Brichot holds forth on the Norse elements of the local place-names as he travels through the Norman countryside on a train with friends.[50] The information, it has been claimed, came from Longnon’s lectures.[51]

On the basis of the toponymic evidence, Longnon drew some general conclusions: the place-names showed that there had been substantial numbers of settlers in Normandy; their language did not disappear for several generations; and some Norse words were borrowed into Romance speech.[52

Photograph of Auguste Longnon
Fig. 12. Auguste Longnon (1844-1911)


Marcel Proust
Fig. 13. Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

This interpretation of Normandy’s place-names would not surprise if it had been applied to England. In fact, apart from the preoccupation with identifying as Danish or Norwegian, you’ll have noticed that, so far, although France lacked the discipline and energy of the EPNS and the associated advanced research culture, the trajectory at least of the approach to place-names in the two countries has to this point been quite similar – which leaves the contrast that I began with unexplained. The answer, I think, lies in darker territory, to which Proust, surprisingly perhaps, can introduce us. Another of the characters in À la recherche du temps perdu, the curé of Cambray, is mocked for his faulty etymologies, a forgivable weakness, perhaps. But the curé was not just a harmless amateur, he was something more, a type whose enthusiasm for history was driven by an ideological nostalgia that was not exactly innocent. Typically, his kind of passion for Normandy’s past was exclusionist and pseudo-historical, fixated on the viking origin at the heart of its identity. This way of thinking – ahistorical and populist, dazzled by Nordic glamour – insisted that an unbroken and uncorrupted continuity linked Normandy’s present population directly to the Scandinavian conquerors.[53] There was no room for the real complexities of the tenth century, the continuities of local populations and the mixed origins of immigrants from around the Scandinavian diaspora, not to mention the many changes and complicating developments of subsequent times. From this perspective, modern-day Normans were vikings, men of freedom and poetry.

Then things got worse.


In the 1930s, the Nazis idealised vikings; they were perfect Aryans. Perhaps inevitably, the Bayeux Tapestry attracted interest as the Ahnenerbe, the organisation tasked with promoting the Nazis’ racial ideology, turned its attention to the material culture of the Germanic past. A letter from its director to Heinrich Himmler claimed that ‘the Tapestry proves that the Viking heritage and Viking customs lived on in Normandy in a relatively pure form’; in 1941 a delegation of experts, led by the archaeologist Herbert Jankuhn, then an SS officer, travelled to Normandy and made an extensive study of the Tapestry, with a view to its publication as a ‘case-study of exemplary Aryanism’, in the words of Carola Hicks.[54] Supporting evidence that the Normans were vikings – and thus Germans, not French – was important to the next conquerors of England. As Jankuhn put it, ‘the Bayeux Tapestry is not only a king’s saga of purely Germanic imprint, but also constitutes the documentary justification of William’s claim to England’.[55]

Unlike William, the Nazis did not conquer England. But this kind of thing did not stop with the end of the war. In the 1950s and 1960s, right-wing nationalist intellectuals such as Jean Mabire were equally admiring of and obsessed with Normandy’s Scandinavian heritage. In 1949 Mabire founded a journal entitled Viking. Cahiers de la jeunesse des pays normands, which was dedicated to the study of Nordic culture; he was closely associated with another journal, Heimdal, produced in the 1970s by Georges Bernage.

Fig. 14. The works of Jean Mabire.  



Educated men like Mabire and Bernage were naturally interested in dialect and in place-names. A map of the Cotentin entitled ‘Vikland’, with the place-names – whatever their origin – rendered in Norse, appeared in the supplement to no. 36 of Heimdal.[59] Place-name maps and illustrations of Norse vocabulary were used to illustrate a history of the vikings in Normandy by Mabire and Bernage, alongside statistics of hair and eye colour and other physical attributes.[60] Pursuing a particular political agenda, this scholarship further shaped the traditional vision of Normandy’s special exclusionist past. Naturally focused on the land, where the timeless and authentic Nordic values were imagined to be rooted, it deployed Normandy’s folk customs and ancient place-names to tie the industrialised Norman landscape of modern times to a romanticised peasant culture. The far-right Mouvement Normand founded by Didier Patte in the late 1960s similarly stressed the ethnic purity of its people and reiterated their direct connection to viking ancestors.


Qu'ailleurs le Normand romanise! 

La race, à Bayeux, s'éternise

Du Scandinave et du Germain

Et qu'un géant roux d'une toise

Dans nos vieux chemins me croise


Ah ! dans la splendeur de son torse

Je salue, amant de la force,

L'ancêtre héroïque et brutal.


Mabire (under his own name and numerous pseudonyms) was a prolific contributor to the journals Viking and Heimdal, as well as the author of many right-wing editorials and numerous books on folklore, literature, and German military history. According to Bernard Marpeau, the journals Viking and Heimdal helped to disseminate a vision of Normandy’s debt to its Scandinavian past which was underpinned by an obsession with racial purity, virility, and violence.[56] Such a tendency is manifest in verses printed in Heimdal 10 (left).

It is beyond my skill-set to translate this into suitable English, poetry or prose. But a paraphrase should include the idea that while elsewhere, vikings were romanised (i.e. civilised), in Bayeux the Scandinavian and German race remained eternally true to its roots; that the poet admired their splendid physicality (giant red-haired men); and that, a lover of force, he saluted Normandy’s heroic and brutal ancestors.[58]



Some post-war French-language scholarship was happily more scholarly and less tendentious, most notably that of Jean Adigard des Gautries, a Norman aristocrat who had taught at the Universities of Oslo and Copenhagen.[61] The great Norman historian Lucien Musset, so prolific after the Second World War, was largely concerned with texts, but he frequently cited toponymic evidence, stressing that the absence of archaeological remains meant that the Scandinavian presence in Normandy could only be identified through place-names.[62] He noted, however, that while there had been a ‘bouleversement totale de la toponymie’ in the countryside, a radical renaming, this major change in place-names could seriously mislead if it was taken to mean that all pre-existing settlements had been swept away in the Scandinavian takeover.[63] In the 1970s and 1980s François de Beaurepaire made the corpus more accessible with his gazetteers of the commune-names of three of Normandy’s five départements: these are useful but also problematic, because while the entries generally cite the early forms of names, the sources of the attestations are not identified, and the dates given are ambiguous. Do they refer to the date of the first written witness, or to the date it claims for the transaction?[64] In the 1990s Gillian Fellows-Jensen provided a compendious synthesis in French of post-war scholarship on Normandy’s Scandinavian place-names, and several etymological and toponymic dictionaries have appeared since 2000.[65] On the Scandinavian side, after a long gap since 1946, there has been a revival of interest,[66] and in 2014, the Nordiska samarbetskommittén för namnforskning (Scandinavian Place-Name Society) held a meeting in Normandy, only its second outside Scandinavia or the North Atlantic since its establishment in 1971. Only four of the eighteen speakers at the conference were French (just three of whose papers were published).[67] My guess is that, in the French academic context, the previous deployment of place-names in the service of an unsavoury racist ideology has tainted their evidence and alienated many. Serious damage has been done and it will take an effort to restore credibility to the discipline.

Unfortunately, there are other good reasons why Normandy’s names remain understudied and underdeveloped as evidence today. In comparison with England, the Norman data is in a very raw state; a lot of it has not even been collected (the ducal charters are well known but others are unpublished, for example).[68] Relatively early forms are available (the first surviving original charter is from 1006), but many more place-names first occur in documents of the sixteenth century and later, or, worse still, only on the modern map. With some exceptions, minor names are neither well recorded nor adequately analysed,[69] nor have lost names been systematically collected. Another complication is that place-names were heavily “frankified” in the process of their recording, and their modern forms are therefore more difficult to interpret.[70] Much of the name-stock has not been reanalysed to modern standards, and the popularity and wide circulation of material published by the underqualified, with its many dubious etymologies, creates further problems.
Fig. 15. Indicative map of names in -tot; based on data provided by Peder Gammeltoft (David N. Parsons) (Full Size)

A recent article by Stéphane Laîné, a linguist based at the University of Caen, sets out the traps into which the unwary have fallen; the discipline of place-name study, he says, is academically unfashionable in France.[71] So, overall, the material has been insufficiently processed, and it is difficult to proceed with either small-scale studies or authoritative syntheses. More preliminary work is needed before the place-names can be used to their full potential.

Peder Gammeltoft’s recent study of toft-names, however, makes a start and shows what can be done.[72] Gammeltoft was able to approach Normandy’s corpus in a more than regional context, having examined toft-names in Scandinavia and the overseas settlements of England, Scotland,[73] and the Faroes. His research has revealed that -toft is not just the most widely used place-name element across the Scandinavian diaspora, but that Normandy has the highest concentration of toft-names of all the overseas settlements: at least 305 examples (and probably more). Many of these lack early forms, and so there is no textual evidence of when they were first used. Some were obviously coined late, and it is difficult to tell whether the presence of -toft in a name was due to Norse influence or to English, because it had already been borrowed from Norse into English by the mid-tenth century.[74] But Gammeltoft has argued that many of Normandy’s toft-names indicate the presence of Norse-speakers. Most of the specifics of the compounded toft-names are Norse: almost 86%. Old High German and Frankish specifics make only a very small contribution (under 6%), and they are all personal names. Previous studies tended to categorise many first elements as unattested Norse personal names, but Gammeltoft has reanalysed the corpus, drawing on place-names in Scandinavia, to reclassify them, and in his view 41% of Normandy’s toft-names are not compounded with personal names but with appellatives. Furthermore, most of these relate to the management of agricultural resources – soil quality, animals, vegetation (crops and other plants) and so on – with an accompanying emphasis on the management of woodland; no less than 44% of the appellatives refer to plant-growth.[75] 

Indicative map of names in -tuit; based on data provided by Peder Gammeltoft and Ase Kari Hansen Wagner..tif
Fig. 16.  Indicative map of names in -tuit; based on data provided by Peder Gammeltoft and Åse Kari Hansen Wagner (David N. Parsons) (Full Size)

Gammeltoft also found some evidence of inflections. So, for example, although French-speakers struggled with the /s/ of some Norse genitives, one is still visible in Heldestot (Héritot) in Calvados. Furthermore, the toft-names follow normal Scandinavian word-order and morphology. All these features suggested to Gammeltoft that toft-names, with their overwhelmingly Norse word stock and word order, were ‘coined in a purely Scandinavian linguistic context’.[76] The many names in -tuit (ON þveit) studied by Åse Kari Hansen Wagner also conform to Scandinavian naming-patterns (Fig. 17).[77] Names with both elements in Norse, such as Caldebec or Fulebec (ON kaldr, ‘cold’, and fúll, ‘foul, dirty’, + bekkr, ‘stream’),[78] are also likely to have been formed by Norse-speakers.



Gammeltoft’s recording and mapping of all the toft-names has allowed him to make a very interesting observation about their physical context: tofts may have been smaller land units than the average Norman commune (6.8 km² as opposed to 8.8 km²).[79] In the 1960s Cameron pioneered the application of drift geology to consideration of Scandinavian place-names in England. More recently, on the basis of the geographical relationships between units of local administration, Stuart Wrathmell has raised questions about how exactly the ‘dividing-up’ of the land might have been achieved in eastern Yorkshire.[80] Tools like the GIS employed by Gammeltoft will help to provide further information about land use and, combined with the place-name data, develop a better picture of (among other things) the ways in which new communities were fitted into the landscape. Wagner’s map of tuit-names shows quite a different distribution from the names in ‑tof; and place-names formed from Norse personal names and the Romance element -villa also map very differently onto the landscape (Fig. 18).[81]
Fig. 17. Indicative map of names in -tot-tuitand -ville; based on data provided by Peder Gammeltoft and Åse Kari Hansen Wagner (David. N. Parsons) (Full Size)

Why would that be? Whether the answer lies in the soil, or lordship, or chronology, or any one of the many other possible factors affecting the sharing out and development of lands by newcomers, the contrast reminds us not to extrapolate simply from dots on the map to create an overgeneralised model of settlement. A more complete knowledge of both the corpus and its physical setting is needed for appropriately subtle interpretations to be developed.

You will remember that Carpentier’s accusations were not simply that giving credence to place-names was racist; he also argued that linguists have produced a misleading picture of the Scandinavian impact, a myth of migration and colonization.[82] One of the starting-points of this argument is the nature of borrowings from Norse into French, which are described as mainly specialist terms of maritime or commercial relevance, such as fiskigarðr, ‘fishery’, or snekkja, a kind of ship; this is taken to demonstrate that incoming Scandinavians made only a niche contribution, restricted to trade and activity on the coasts (fishing, sailing, etc.).[83] The limited amount of recognised borrowing has also been deemed to show that numbers of settlers were small.[84] I will leave it to the linguists to say whether it is possible to judge what level of borrowing would reliably indicate a large (or small) number of speakers. Comparison with England muddies the waters somewhat, as there the two languages were similar, with many cognates to enhance communication, and Norse words could be more easily assimilated into English than French. Frequently repeated, the generalisation that the French language attests to only a minor and marginal Scandinavian impact has been very influential. Yet Élisabeth Ridel has also drawn attention to other ways in which Norse influenced local speech: Romance verbs and nouns were created from Norse (i.e. guinder ‘to hoist’, guindeau ‘windlass’, from ON vinda/vindáss ‘to wind’/‘windlass’); and Romance prefixes or suffixes were attached to Norse words to create new vernacular vocabulary. Some of these new terms are explicitly related to farming: dellage, for example, a technical term for a kind of land under the plough,from ON deild ‘portion, share’. Deild was itself a prolific borrowing, widely found as regional French delle ‘portion of workable land’.[85] Other rural borrowings seem to be indicated by dialect terms such as béquerel ‘a year-old sheep’ (ON bekri ‘ram’).[86] Stenton, writing with his comparative hat on, judged that in contrast to England ‘there is no sign anywhere in Normandy of the wholesale incorporation of Scandinavian loan-words into the local agricultural vocabulary’; he recognized the existence of a Scandinavian element in Norman place-names, which he attributed to the presence of ‘a considerable number of followers of lower rank’, but, ‘regarded as a whole, the place-names of Normandy give the impression that the Scandinavian colonization was a process essentially aristocratic’, and ‘colonization in village settlements was far less common in Normandy than in England’.[87] Stenton was attempting to explain why Normandy lacked names in -by – a question that remains to be answered. But he didn’t cite the delles and bequereaux; and I wonder what he would think about Gammeltoft’s evidence of modestly-sized Norman tofts, apparently populated by people speaking about farming matters in Old Norse.

Not all of Normandy’s place-names with Scandinavian elements are evidence of Norse-speakers and Scandinavian settlers, however. The many names in which -ville is compounded with a Scandinavian personal name – Ecretteville (Skrauti) and Tocqueville (Toki), for example – look as though they may have had their origin in a Latinate administrative context.[88] Also to be considered are the many hundreds of minor names containing Norse words for woods, streams, valleys, hills, and mounds, etc. (ON lundr, bekkr, dalr, haugr, holmr).[89] While Caldebec and Fulebec (ON adj. + ON noun) would appear to be Norse coinings, a significant proportion of the minor names that make use of this topographical vocabulary are in simplex form, with a definite article (La Londe, Le Bec, Les Dalles, La Hogue, Le Hommet); these are more likely to have been formed by Romance-speakers, as words in daily use, descriptive of the landscape, moved into the indigenous vernacular. Some are even combined with Romance adjectives such as in Clairlonde (Cléronde à Blay) and Claro becco (Clarbec) (Latin clarus/French clair + ON lundr and bekkr).[90] Simplex tofts and þveits with a definite article (Le Tot, Le Thuit) are also suggestive.[91] That some Norse habitative and topographical words continued to be used by French-speakers to form new names even after the Norse language had died out (and in areas where settlement may not have taken place) seems to indicate more borrowing than is commonly acknowledged.[92]

It is worth reminding ourselves of factors which might have led to the disappearance of Old Norse agricultural vocabulary from French. It’s not just that people stopped speaking the language (which of course they did, although probably at different rates across the province, and when exactly we don’t know): there is also the impact of intensive industrialisation to factor in in some parts of the province, and the decline of regional speech, as well as phonetic influence from French (which has obliterated many morphological traits).

According to Carpentier and Marcigny, the linguists’ Normannist myth can be overturned by archaeology.[93] Their insistence on the material perspective is important: it draws attention to the undeniable fact that almost no distinctively Scandinavian material evidence has been found in Normandy, no rural settlements with buildings of a Nordic type, no runic inscriptions, only one traditional viking burial, and one classic coin hoard. It is this absence of visible, physical, marks in the rural landscape that has led many to conclude that the Scandinavians appear to have had no impact on ‘the dynamic of settlement’[94] (an observation, we might note in passing, that can only be made if place-names are discounted). On the other hand, French scholars who support this view of Normandy are happy to see the English Danelaw as densely populated by immigrants – and yet, outside the towns, it is just as difficult to find diagnostically Scandinavian settlement sites in England, and identifiably Scandinavian burials are very few.[95] 


What is different in England (again, apart from the towns) are those metal assemblages flooding in to the PAS, assemblages which have recently led two English archaeologists to suggest that, at least in one part of the Danelaw, they bear witness to a significant disruption, including ‘the abandonment of farmsteads, traditional market places, and estate centres’, and another to argue for ‘significant levels of Scandinavian migration to, and settlement in, England’.[96] Who knows whether metal-detecting would uncover similar finds in the Norman countryside. Until this category of material is available in France, where metal-detecting is currently illegal, conclusions based on the absence of material evidence seem unwise. A recent map of French metal finds (Fig. 19) is highly suggestive: they cluster on the rivers, especially the Seine, where they have been brought up by dredging.[97] These finds look to represent ninth-century viking activity more than tenth-century settlement. But they suggest that the absence of finds on land is not to be trusted as indicative of an absence of Scandinavians.

Fig. 18. Corpus of metal finds in France (as of 2014). For numbered sites, see Les Vikings dans l’Empire franc. Impact, héritage, imaginaire, ed. É. Ridel, p. 130. Map by Michel Daeffler, courtesy of Élisabeth Ridel (Full Size)

While never denying the existence of Scandinavian settlers in Normandy, some scholars seem particularly resistant to the idea of significant numbers. This may be because migration can be imagined as threatening the integrity of a region’s identity, and, in this case, challenging the young Norman duchy’s identification with Frankish norms. There is no need for place-names to question the Norman achievement, however: if anything, should a more complete corpus, properly analysed, point in the direction of a diverse and substantial influx of newcomers, it would make the dukes’ unification of a fractious province and their consolidation of political power all the more impressive. However, given the history of Normandy’s sentiment régionaliste (its regional feeling or sense of place), I now understand why it has been important to oppose it; but Carpentier’s and Marcigny’s next step, the insistence that Normandy’s inhabitants, before and after the territory was granted to Rollo, were all simply Europeans, ‘par essence européenne’ (‘in essence European’),[98] without significant ethnic distinction, seems to me to be exchanging one unwelcome political spin for another.

Students of England’s past have hardly been innocent of politics. Antiquaries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were politically inspired when they chose what documents to transcribe, for example, looking for authorities to address contemporary issues. But in Britain the historical pursuit of the Viking Age seems largely to have escaped the worst of this ideological taint. We should not be complacent, mind you. As most of you know, there has been a very significant rise in the appropriation of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ history and culture by white supremacists across the English-speaking world, and Norse mythology has been similarly co-opted by hate-groups. In Britain, the extreme right has for some time rooted its identity in a national fantasy of imperial glory, drawing on blunt and inaccurate understandings of the past. But as far as I am aware, regional self-definition in areas of Scandinavian settlement has bypassed the Aryan-viking narrative, and attitudes to Scandinavian origins like those we have seen in Normandy have had little or no impact on the formation of English local identities – or the perception of place-names. Marc Scully’s research in connection with DNA testing in northern England in 2012–13 showed that while people were keen to discover viking roots, they associated Scandinavian origins with an affinity for the sea and ‘feeling at home’ in Sweden; Scully noted that although participants were attracted by the idea of belonging through their genes to an imagined community of vikings, identification with the ‘hypermasculine warrior lineage’ side of it was relatively rare.[99] This is not the place to assess the current fashion for ‘recreational genomics’ (the term is Scully’s) and ‘biohistory kitsch’ and to judge its viability as evidence; but it is interesting to see how this science gives modern populations a new way of constructing an identification with the past.[100] While Scandinavian identity in England as mediated by DNA testing naturally reflects wider identity politics, so far it has been ‘low stakes’,[101] perhaps thanks to the impact of the counter-narrative of Britain as a ‘mongrel nation’, where ‘we are all immigrants’. Although popular (as opposed to academic) enthusiasm for viking identity in Normandy seems undimmed, it is difficult to compare attitudes to the identification of ethnic origins through DNA testing in England and France, due to legal differences in the two countries. Article 1 of the latter’s Constitution states that ‘France shall be an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic. It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion’; as a result, while genetic research is allowed, individual results must be anonymised.[102]

Understanding Normandy’s Scandinavian heritage is not easy. There are so many things that we don’t know, especially about the crucial early stages of takeover and integration.[103] Its first century is almost entirely undocumented. When charters do appear, after 1006, they encourage a focus on Rouen and the ducal regime; and the retrospective chronicle it sponsored around the same time has muddied the waters ever since.[104] Charters and chronicles concentrate on the activities of the vikings who became dukes, but Normandy’s place-names have the potential to open out the lens, broadening the focus to encompass the entire settlement and taking us back to the first stages of contact and co-existence, before Norse-speakers were fully assimilated, and before Rollo’s family had laid its stamp on all of what became their duchy. Broad regional contrasts have long been acknowledged,[105] but it is possible that, as in England, Normandy’s Scandinavian experience was much more localised. More targeted place-name study has the potential to capture that variety and help to reveal the dynamics of transition and assimilation. While in some places there was doubtless little change, elsewhere (as we have seen) the presence of new lords and men and women of lesser status can be detected in place-names. Some established places were given new names in Norse, while on other existing estates Scandinavian personal names flagged up the arrival of new lords;[106] elsewhere, new sites inserted into or carved out of existing land-units also needed recognizable designations. Although some of the most basic parameters are obscure – numbers, notoriously, as we have seen, and chronology – we can profit from considering the range of circumstances that could have affected the process of settlement and, thereby, the formation of names: the survival (or not) of native elites; the stability (or not) of the pre-viking workforce; the state of rural infrastructure (robust, or shattered after years of conflict); the size and resources of holdings; and the social, economic, and political dynamics of the incomers (with or without large followings, wealthy or economically pinched, hostile to the locals or keen to join the family). These variables could have changed the game from one village to the next. It is probably best not to look for one principal mechanism by which names were coined.

A century ago, scholarship on place-names in England and France was more or less on the same page, migration and settlement ‘on a large scale’ (‘sur une grande échelle’) being a reasonable interpretation on both sides of the Channel.[107] But Normandy’s Scandinavian past was increasingly caught up in regional myth-making, the evidence of place-names was tainted by association, and their contribution to the understanding of Normandy was marginalised or rejected. Given the role that place-name evidence has played in England over the past century, it’s hard not to connect the downplaying of the Scandinavian contribution to Normandy with the sidelining of its place-name evidence. As we have seen, new research, drawing on a broader Scandinavian perspective, questions some of the assumptions of the minimalist view. Gammeltoft’s preliminary study of toft-names, for example, offers solid evidence that at least some place-names were not late formations, that Norse was widely spoken, and that the Scandinavians were active in the rural sphere. The many Norse words taken into the local vernacular to make minor names attest to the vitality of the language in a different way. These are very broad-brush observations, and there is evidently more work to do to develop a reliable corpus before firmer conclusions can be drawn. The premises of both sides of the argument are also ripe for re-evaluation. In the meantime, however, if discussions of Normandy’s origins relegate place-names to the sidelines, there is a risk that the early history of this extraordinarily interesting and successful polity will be misconstrued. Furthermore, disregarding their evidence would further isolate Normandy from the rest of the Scandinavian world, with two very unfortunate results: a widening gap between our scholarly communities, and a highly undesirable hole in our understanding of the Viking Age.

[1] This lecture, given in Nottingham on April 27, 2019, is published here in expanded form by the Institute for Name-Studies with accompanying references and in two formats: as a booklet, and online, where some of the illustrations from the powerpoint presentation are also included. It is a more informal version, with somewhat different content, of a paper forthcoming as ‘The Study of Scandinavian Settlement in the Viking Age: Historiographical Perspectives on the Application of Place-Names in England and Normandy’ in an issue of Archivio Normanno-Svevo, Testi e studi sul mondo euromediterraneo dei secoli XI-XIII del Centro Europeo di Studi Normanni, ed. P. Bauduin and E. d’Angelo. A much fuller selection of references will be found there, especially on the French side. I should like to thank David Parsons and Oliver Padel for comments on different aspects of this lecture, Jayne Carroll and John Baker for getting in into print and online, Jacqueline Elton for advice on translation from French, and Dan Smith for trips to Flegg. Mistakes and misunderstandings are my own. [↵]

[2] K. Cameron (ed.), Place-Name Evidence for the Anglo-Saxon Invasion and Scandinavian Settlements (Nottingham 1975); for a later, magisterial, round-up of his arguments, see his ‘Viking Settlement in the East Midlands’, in R. Schützeichel (ed.), Giessener Flurnamen-Kolloquium. Beiträge zur Namenforschung, n.f. 23 (Heidelberg 1985), pp. 129-53. [↵]

[3] Hrólfr, for example: Rotholfuesby and Rovestone (Rollesby (Norfolk) and Rolleston (Leics)) and Rol villa and Rodulftot (Rouville (Eure, Seine Maritime) and Routot (Eure, Seine Maritime)); E. Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Place-Names, 4th edn (Oxford 1990), p. 391, J. Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personnes scandinaves en Normandie de 911 à 1066 (Lund 1954), pp. 114 and 213–14, and F. de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Seine-Maritime (Paris 1979), p. 69. On the difficulty of distinguishing between ON Hrólfr and Frankish Radulfus see Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personnes, p. 214. [↵]

[4] M. Townend, Viking Age Yorkshire (Pickering 2014), p. 5; T. Pestell, Viking East Anglia (Norwich 2019), p. 84. [↵]

[5] ‘Débarrassée du mythe identitaire véhiculé par une lignée de savants acquis aux penchants romantiques, mais parfois aussi racistes de l’histoire régionale’: V. Carpentier and C. Marcigny, ‘Traces et absence de traces. L’archéologie moderne face au paradoxe de l’implantation des Vikings en Normandie’, Nordiques 29 (Spring 2015), 25–43, at 39. [↵]

[6] ‘Assurément, la quête en Normandie d’une ethnicité nordique clairement différenciée ne peut-elle déboucher que sur une impasse car elle n’est pas historiquement fondée, mais elle trouve en revanche une assise idéologique dans les dérives racistes et ultranationalistes de l’ère contemporaine’: V. Carpentier, ‘Du mythe colonisateur à l’histoire environnementale des côtes de la Normandie à l’époque viking: l’exemple de l’estuaire de la Dives (France, Calvados)’, in Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident. Regards croisés sur les dynamiques et les transferts culturels des Vikings à la Rous ancienne. Eastwards and Westwards. Multiple Perspectives on the Dynamics and Cultural Transfers from the Vikings to the Early Rus’, ed. P. Bauduin and A. E. Musin (Caen 2014), pp. 199–213, at 212. [↵]

[7] M. Townend, ‘Scandinavian Place-Names in England’, in Perceptions of Place. Twenty-First-Century Interpretations of English Place-Names, ed. J. Carroll and D. N. Parsons (Nottingham 2013), pp. 103–26, at 105–6. [↵]

[8] The map ‘sert d’assise, depuis bientôt un demi-siècle, à une représentation identitaire régionaliste, historiquement fausse, construite sur un rapprochement artificiel opéré entre l’identité culturelle maritime de la province et les soi-disant origines nordiques de son peuplement medieval’: Carpentier, ‘Du mythe colonisateur’, p. 199; ‘Ce mirage historique, d’abord forgé par les érudits du XIXe siècle, s’est trouvé étayé par les philologues et folkloristes du siècle suivant. Aujourd’hui encore, il nourrit l’incurable idolâtrie de quelques adeptes férus de linguistique normande’: Carpentier and Marcigny, ‘Traces et absence de traces’, p. 26. [↵]

[9] For a different perspective, see L. Abrams, ‘Early Normandy’, Anglo-Norman Studies 35 (2012), 45–64, where a fuller picture of the background scholarship can be found. This general devaluing is in contrast to popular perceptions of the Norman heritage, reflected in viking ships (evidently a much-loved symbol) on camembert labels, restaurant signs, and bank logos; for some examples see Dragons et drakkars. Le mythe viking de la Scandinavie à la Normandie, XVIIIe – XXe siècles [ed. J. Levesque] (Caen 1996), p. 114. [↵]

[10] See also Abrams, forthcoming. Jayne Carroll’s ‘Perceiving Place through Time. English Place-Name Studies, 1924–2013’, in Perceptions of Place, pp. xiii–xxvii, provides a very useful introduction to the English side of things; see also M. J. Ryan, ‘Place-Names, Language and the Anglo-Saxon Landscape: an Introduction’, in Place-Names, Language, and the Anglo-Saxon Landscape, ed. N. J. Higham and M. J. Ryan (Woodbridge 2011), pp. 1–21, esp. 10–19. For France, the best that I have found are Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personnes, pp. 1–8, R.P. de Gorog, ‘A History of the Research on Scandinavian Influence on French’, Studies in Philology 59 (1959), 459–70, and G. Fellows-Jensen, ‘Les noms de lieux d’origine scandinave et la colonisation viking en Normandie. Examen critique de la question’, Proxima Thulé 1 (1994), 63–103. [↵]

[11] Hákonar saga góða, in Heimskringla, ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson, 3 vols, Íslensk fornrit 26-8 (Reykjavík 2002), I, 152–3 ; Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, I: The Beginnings to Óláfr Tryggvason, trans. A. Finlay and A. Faulkes (London 2011), p. 89. [↵]

[12] R. C. Richardson, ‘William Camden and the Re-Discovery of England’, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society 78 (2004), 108-23; S. Keynes, ‘Mapping the Anglo-Saxon Past’, in Towns and Topography. Essays in Memory of David H. Hill, ed. G. R. Owen-Crocker and S. D. Thompson (Oxford 2014), pp. 148–70. [↵]

[13] W. Camden, Camden’s Britannia. Newly Translated into English with Large Additions and Improvements, ed. E. Gibson (London 1695), cols 395–8, at 397. [↵]

[14] For an earlier antiquary with an interest in Scandinavian place-names, see John Denton’s History of Cumberland, Surtees Society and Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, ed. A. J. L. Winchester (Woodbridge 2010), esp. p. 143. My research is far from exhaustive, and further examples would be most welcome. [↵]

[15] J. J. A. Worsaae, An Account of the Danes and Norwegians in England, Scotland, and Ireland (London 1852); see especially section VII of his discussion of England (pp. 65–76, ‘Danish-Norwegian Names of Places’). [↵]

[16] A. Wawn, The Vikings and the Victorians. Inventing the Old North in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Woodbridge 2000), pp. 6 and 19–33; H. O’Donoghue, Old Norse-Icelandic Literature. A Short Introduction (Oxford 2004), pp. 110–24. [↵]

[17] R. Horsman, ‘The Origins of Racial Anglo-Saxonism in Great Britain before 1850’, Journal of the History of Ideas 37 (1976), 387–410. [↵]

[18] W. G. Collingwood, ‘The Vikings in Lakeland. Their Place-Names, Remains, History’, Saga-Book of the Viking Club 1 (1892–6), 182–96. [↵]

[19] M. Lapidge (ed.), Interpreters of Early Medieval Britain (Oxford 2002), pp. 18 and 66 (for quotations) and 70–1. [↵]

[20] Such as H. Lindkvist, Middle-English Place-Names of Scandinavian Origin: Part I (Uppsala 1912); Eilert Ekwall (see O. von Feilitzen, The Published Writings of Eilert Ekwall (Lund 1961)); and O. S. Anderson, The English Hundred-Names, 3 vols (Lund 1934–9). [↵]

[21] Townend, ‘Scandinavian Place-Names in England’, pp. 115–16. [↵]

[22] A. Mawer and F. M. Stenton(ed.), Introduction to the Survey of English Place-Names (Cambridge 1924); Ekwall contributed the chapter entitled ‘The Scandinavian Element’, pp. 55–92. [↵]

[23] F. M. Stenton, ‘The Historical Bearing of Place-Name Studies: the Danish Settlement of Eastern England’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 24 (1942), 1–24, reprinted in Preparatory to Anglo-Saxon England, ed. D. M. Stenton (Oxford 1970), pp. 298–313. [↵]

[24] Cameron, Place-Name Evidence[↵]

[25] A. H. Smith, English Place-Name Elements, 2 vols(Cambridge 1956) (separate insert in vol. 1); M. Gelling, Signposts to the Past (Chichester 1978), pp. 215–36. For a list of Fellows-Jensen’s publications, see Names through the Looking-Glass. Festschrift in Honour of Gillian Fellows-Jensen, ed. P. Gammeltoft and B. Jørgensen (Copenhagen 2006), pp. 322–50. [↵]

[26] Carroll and Parsons (ed.), Perceptions of Place[↵]

[27] Townend, ‘Scandinavian Place-Names in England’, pp. 121–2. [↵]

[28] See, for example, Townend’s Viking Age Yorkshire and two PhDs completed at the University of Nottingham: E. Rye, Dialect in the Viking-Age Scandinavian Diaspora. The Evidence of Medieval Minor Names (2015), and R. Gregory, Minor and Field-names of Thurgarton Wapentake, Nottinghamshire (2017). [↵]

[29] Townend, ‘Scandinavian Place-Names in England’, p. 123. [↵]

[30] P. H. Sawyer, The Age of the Vikings (London 1962; 2nd edn 1971). [↵]

[31] D. M. Hadley, The Northern Danelaw. Its Social Structure, c. 800-1100 (London 2000), esp. pp. 329–41. [↵]

[32] See <>. [↵]

[33] J. F. Kershaw, Viking Identities. Scandinavian Jewellery in England (Oxford 2013); T. Pestell, Landscapes of Monastic Foundation. The Establishment of Religious Houses in East Anglia, c. 650-1200 (Woodbridge 2004), pp. 70-1. [↵]

[34] See, for example, ‘Given to the Ground’. A Viking Age Mass Grave on Ridgeway Hill, Dorset, ed. L. Loe et al., Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Monograph 22 (2014), pp. 259–84, and J. Buckberry et al., ‘Finding Vikings in the Danelaw’, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 33(4) (2014), 413–34. [↵]

[35] J. D. Richards and D. Haldenby, ‘The Scale and Impact of Viking Settlement in Northumbria’, Medieval Archaeology 62(2) (2018), 322–50 (quotation on p. 345). [↵]

[36] R. Boyer, ‘Vikings, Sagas, and Wasa Bread’, in Northern Antiquity. The Post-Medieval Reception of Edda and Saga, ed. A. Wawn (Enfield Lock 1994), pp. 69-81, esp. pp. 71–3 ; T. J. Beck, Northern Antiquities in French Learning and Literature (1755–1855). A Study in Pre-Romantic Ideas, I (New York 1934), pp. 9–24. [↵]

[37] T. Percy, Northern Antiquities: or, A Description of the Manners, Customs, Religion and Laws of the Ancient Danes, and Other Northern Nations; including Those of Our Own Saxon Ancestors. With a Translation of the Edda, or System of Runic Mythology, and Other Pieces, from the Ancient Icelandic Tongue (London 1770). [↵]

[38] F. Guillet, ‘Le Nord mythique de la Normandie: des Normands aux Vikings de la fin du XVIIIe siècle jusqu’à la Grande Guerre’, Revue du Nord 87 (2005), 459–71, at 461. [↵]

[39] S. Gerson, The Pride of Place. Local Memories and Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca 2003), esp. pp. 1–12; The Little Big RedBook. A Celebration of 75 Years of the Victoria County History at the Institute of Historical Research, ed. M. Hackett and K. Whitston (Woodbridge 2008). [↵]

[40] F. Guillet, ‘Entre stratégie sociale et quête érudite: les notables normands et la fabrication de la Normandie au XIXe siècle’, Le Mouvement social 203 (2003), 89–111. [↵]

[41] J. Steenstrup, ‘Etudes préliminaires pour servir à l’histoire des Normands et de leurs invasions’, Bulletin de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 10 (1882), 185–418. [↵]

[42] Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personnes, p. 2; he cited Pierre-Daniel Huet’s study of place-names in the vicinity of Caen, published in Rouen in 1702, as typical of the earliest authors’ ‘hypothèses de pure fantaisie’.  [↵]

[43] For further details, see Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personnes, pp. 6-18. Worsaae’s list of thirteen place-names shared by the name-stock of Denmark, England, and Normandy from Den danske erobring af England og Normandiet was reproduced by H. Prentout in his Essai sur les origines et la fondation du duché de Normandie (Paris 1911), p. 289. [↵]

[44] Delegations from the three Scandinavian countries attended the festivities. (According to Guillet, ‘Le Nord mythique’, p. 469, Fargo, North Dakota, was also represented. Rouen gave Fargo a replica of their statue of Rollo, which was raised with great fanfare in the American town in 1912.) For publications between 1911 and 1959, see de Gorog, ‘A History’, pp. 465–9. [↵]

[45] Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personnes, p. 18; de Gorog, ‘A History’, p. 470. [↵]

[46] F. M. Stenton, ‘The Scandinavian Colonies in England and Normandy’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 27 (1945), 1–12, reprinted in Preparatory to Anglo-Saxon England, ed. D. M. Stenton (Oxford 1970), pp. 335–45, at 337–8; Adigard des Gautries was also unimpressed: Les noms de personnes, p. 2. [↵]

[47] D. Douglas, ‘Rollo of Normandy’, English Historical Review 57 (1942), 417–36, runs through the ‘rival and contradictory accounts’ of his life. [↵]

[48] F. de Beaurepaire, ‘Introduction’, Bulletin 10, 189–90. [↵]

[49] <>.   [↵]

[50] M. Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, trans. S. Moncrieff and T. Kilmartin, II (Harmondsworth 1981), pp. 917–21; M. Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu, ed. J.-Y. Tadié et al., III, Paris 1988, pp. 280–4. My thanks to Ros Faith for reading Proust and pointing these passages out to me. [↵]

[51] Longnon’s lectures were published posthumously as Les noms de lieu de la France, leur origine, leur signification, leurs transformations, ed. P. Marichal and L. Mirot (Paris 1920–9); the discussion of Scandinavian elements is on pp. 276–300. Although they were published after Proust’s novel, V. E. Graham has argued that Proust relied on Longnon’s research: ‘Proust’s Etymologies’, French Studies 29 (1975), 300–12, at 301–2. [↵]

[52] Longnon, Les noms de lieu, pp. 277–8. [↵]

[53] Guillet, ‘Le Nord mythique’, and ‘Entre stratégie sociale’. [↵]

[54] C. Hicks, The Bayeux Tapestry. The Life Story of a Masterpiece (London 2006), pp. 210–47, quotations at 212 and 216. [↵]

[55] Quoted by S. A. Brown in a review of Hicks’ book: ‘Why the Nazis Fell in Love with the Bayeux Tapestry’, BBC History Magazine (July 2018), 46–50, at 50; although it had an extraordinarily exciting war (Hicks, The Bayeux Tapestry, pp. 205–31), the Tapestry survived the Occupation without falling into Nazi hands. See also S. Lemagnen, ‘The Bayeux Tapestry under German Occupation. New Light on the Mission Led by Herbert Jankuhn during the Second World War’, in The Bayeux Tapestry : Embroidering the Facts of History, ed. P. Bouet et al. (Caen 2004), pp. 49–64. [↵]

[56] B. Marpeau, ‘Le rêve nordique de Jean Mabire’, Annales de Normandie 43 (1993), 215–41. Unfortunately I have not been able to consult these journals, but I would like to thank Peter Kitson for sending me a copy of the first issue of Heimdal. It (and Heimdal 2, whose contents-list I have also seen thanks to Peter Kitson) includes only typical local history material. [↵]

[57] Quoted in Marpeau, ‘Le rêve nordique’, p. 226. I have been unable to see the journal; Marpeau gives no reference but seems to attribute these verses to the Norman poet Charles Théophile Féret (d. 1928). [↵]

[58] Alternatively, the lover of force could be the viking ancestor, to whom Féret gives a voice in the poem ‘Pour les fils des vikings’, which opens his collection La Normandie Exaltée: ‘tous nos fiefs de la mer, toutes les Normandies’,  ‘partout … le viol sous les torches brandies sema ma Race aux reins des pucelles raidies’; 5th edn (Paris 1928), pp. 7–11, at 11. Again, this defies easy translation, but it invokes an image (positive in the eyes of the narrator and, it seems, the poet) of the rape by vikings of Normandy’s virgins, through which the seeds of its identity are sown. [↵]

[59] Reproduced by Stéphane Laîné: ‘L’onomastique scandinave en Normandie: mythes et réalités’, in Scandinavian Names and Naming in the Medieval North-Atlantic Area, Proceedings of the 44th symposium of NORNA, ed. G. Akselberg and I. Særheim (Uppsala 2017), pp. 171–95, at 190. [↵]

[60] J. Mabire, G. Bernage, P. Fichet, Les vikings en Normandie (Paris 1979), pp. 20–33. A subsequent rewriting by Georges Bernage, Les vikings en Normandie 911–1066 (Bayeux 2011), retained the map but lost most of the original illustrations. [↵]

[61] Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personne; for his place-name studies, see <>. [↵]

[62] His observations on place-names are too numerous to catalogue here; see his ‘Essai sur le peuplement de la Normandie (VIe–XIIe siècle)’, reprinted in Nordica et Normannica. Recueil d’études sur la Scandinavie ancienne et médiévale, les expéditions des vikings, et la fondation de la Normandie (Paris 1997), pp. 389–402, esp. 392–9, for a representative sample. [↵]

[63] Musset,Essai sur le peuplement’, p. 392. [↵]

[64] F. de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Seine-Maritime; Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de l’Eure (Paris 1981); Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Manche (Paris 1986). See, for example, his comment in Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Seine-Maritime, pp. 68–70. [↵]

[65] Fellows-Jensen, ‘Les noms de lieux’, and a shorter version in English, ‘Scandinavian Place-Names and Viking Settlement in Normandy: A Review’, Namn och bygd 76 (1988), 113–37. For more references on French publications, see Abrams, ‘Early Normandy’, pp. 51–4, and forthcoming. See also (in English) J. Insley, ‘Normandie’, in J. Hoops, Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, 2nd edn ed. R. Müller (Berlin 2002), pp. 340–53. [↵]

[66] B. Holmberg, Tomt och toft som appellativ och ortnamnselement (Uppsala 1946); Å. K. Wagner, ‘Les noms de lieux issus de l’implantation scandinave en Normandie. Le cas des noms en -tuit’, in Les fondations scandinaves en Occident et les débuts du duché de Normandie, ed. P. Bauduin (Caen 2005), pp. 241–52. Jean-Pierre Mabire, originally from Normandy but a long-time Danish resident, recently published a short compilation, Nordiske stednavne i Normandiet, Lemvig Gymnasiums Skriftserie 8 (Lemvig 2016); I am most grateful to the author for a copy. When the Bayeux Tapestry left the city for safety in 1941, it was driven by Jean-Pierre’s father in a lorry owned by his grandfather: <>; Hicks, The Bayeux Tapestry, p. 220.  [↵]

[67] Akselberg and Særheim (ed.), Scandinavian Names and Naming in the Medieval North-Atlantic Area[↵]

[68] On the positive side, the database Scripta provides easy access to a large corpus of charters, many from old editions but others (unedited or newly re-edited) as well; see <>. [↵]

[69] See, however, the work of the local historian Guy Chartier, for example his ‘La microtoponymie anglo-scandinave du département de l’Orne’, Annales de Normandie 55 (2005), 125–34, and ‘Les représentants de bekkr dans la toponymie normande’, Nouvelle Revue d’Onomastique 56 (2014), 137–62; I am grateful to the author for a copy of his unpublished L’héritage ornais des vikings. [↵]

[70] S. Laîné, ‘Influence de la langue savante sur la graphie et la prononciation des toponymes du Nord-Cotentin (Manche, France)’, in I nomi nel tempo e nello spazio. Actes du XXIIe Congrès international des sciences onomastiques, Pisa 2005, V, ed. M. G. Arcamone et al. (Pisa 2012), pp. 625–42. [↵]

[71] Laîné,‘L’onomastique scandinave’, p. 192. [↵]

[72] P. Gammeltoft, ‘The Place-Name Element Toft in Normandy’, in Scandinavian Names and Naming in the Medieval North-Atlantic Area, pp. 113–58. I would like to thank Peder for sending me a copy of his text before its publication, for providing the data for Figs 16, 17, and 18, and for other friendly assistance. Thanks, too, to David Parsons for making the maps. [↵]

[73] P. Gammeltoft, ‘“I Sauh a Tour on a Toft, Tryelyche-i-maket”, Part One: on Place-Names in -toft, -tote and -tobhta from Shetland to the Isle of Man’, Nomina  24 (2001), 17–32; ‘“I Sauh a Tour on a Toft, Tryelyche-i-maket”, Part Two: on Place-Names in ‑toft in England’, Nomina 26 (2003), 43–63. [↵]

[74] Gammeltoft, ‘I Sauh a Tour...: on Place-Names in England’, pp. 46–7. [↵]

[75] Gammeltoft, ‘The Place-Name Element Toft in Normandy, pp. 117–21; see also R. P. de Gorog, The Scandinavian Element in French and Norman. A Study of the Influence of the Scandinavian Languages on French from the Tenth Century to the Present (New York 1958), pp. 90–116, for ON vocabulary relating to animals, plants, buildings, and landscape features. [↵]

[76] Gammeltoft, ‘The Place-Name Element Toft in Normandy, p. 120. [↵]

[77] Wagner, ‘Les noms de lieux’, pp. 248–52. For her thesis, with more maps, see Å. K. Hansen, Språkkontakt i gammelt koloniområde: en studie av normannerbosetningens stedsnavn, med særlig vekt på navnegruppa -tuit (University of Bergen, 1998). I would like to thank Åse Kari for providing the data for Figures 17 and 18. [↵]

[78] Both in Seine-Maritime; De Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Seine-Maritime, p. 57; Chartier, ‘Les représentants de bekkr’, p. 140. [↵]

[79] Gammeltoft, ‘The Place-Name Element Toft in Normandy’, p. 121. [↵]

[80] S. Wrathmell, ‘Lordship, Local Administration and Ecclesiastical Provision in the Late Saxon Period’, in A History of Wharram Percy and its Neighbours. Wharram. A Study of Settlement on the Yorkshire Wolds XIII, ed. S. Wrathmell (York 2012), pp. 180–96; I would like to thank Stuart for sending me an early draft of his 'Sharing out the Land of the Northumbrians: Exploring Scandinavian Settlement in Eastern Yorkshire through - Place-Names and Township Boundaries (Part One)’, Medieval Settlement Research 35 (2020), 16-25, in which he argues for very local solutions. [↵]

[81] Fellows-Jensen, ‘Les noms de lieux’, pp. 77–80. My thanks to Peder Gammeltoft for the data and David Parsons who made the map. [↵]

[82] Above, nn 5 and 8, and passim, i.e.: ‘On aurait tort cependant de persévérer dans la thèse d’une colonisation massive, encore trop souvent ravivée par certains linguistes entichés de normannisme’: V. Carpentier, ‘Les Vikings en Normandie. Archéologie d’un paradoxe identitaire’, Les dossiers d’archéologie 344 (March/April 2011), 72–7, at 76. [↵]

[83] É. Ridel, Les vikings et les mots. L’apport de l’ancien scandinave à la langue française (Caen 2009), passim, and more recently in ‘Toponymie “viking” et cadres politiques à travers l’exemple de la Normandie’, in Scandinavian Names and Naming in the Medieval North-Atlantic Area, pp. 197–209. For an earlier study of the influence of Norse on French, see de Gorog, The Scandinavian Element, which includes a lexicon of borrowings on pp. 61–131. [↵]

[84] For example, Carpentier and Marcigny, ‘Traces et absence de traces’, p. 39. [↵]

[85] Ridel, Les vikings et les mots,pp. 114, 220, 119–20, 192–3. [↵]

[86] Ibid.,p. 175. [↵]

[87] Stenton, ‘The Scandinavian Colonies in England and Normandy’, pp. 339–40. []

[88] Abrams, ‘Early Normandy’, p. 56. [↵]

[89] F. de Beaurepaire, ‘La diffusion de la toponymie scandinave dans la Normandie ducale’, Tabularia  2 (2002), 47–56, at 52; Ridel, Les vikings et les mots, pp. 92–8 and passim[↵]

[90] Both in Calvados; de Beaurepaire, ‘La diffusion’, p. 52; Chartier, ‘Les représentants’, p. 151. [↵]

[91] Over 10% of recorded names in -tot are simplex forms; Gammeltoft, ‘The Place-Name Element Toft in Normandy’, p. 118. Wagner reported 24 simplex forms in her corpus of 88 names in -tuit: ‘Les noms de lieux’, p. 242. These numbers, however, are probably very incomplete. [↵]

[92] I have discussed this elsewhere: Abrams, ‘Early Normandy’, pp. 53–4. [↵]

[93] Carpentier and Marcigny, ‘Traces et absence de traces’, p. 43, for example. [↵]

[94] ‘L’épisode viking n’a, à ce jour, laissé aucune trace perceptible dans les fouilles d’habitat rural et ne paraît pas avoir eu d’impact sur les dynamiques de peuplement alors observable’: P. Bauduin and E. Melnikova, ‘L’acculturation des Scandinaves en Europe orientale: quelques jalons pour une comparaison’, in Russie viking, vers une autre Normandie? Novgorod et la Russie du Nord, des migrations scandinaves à la fin du Moyen Âge (VIIIe-XVe s.), ed. S. Berthelot and A. Musin (Caen 2011), pp. 27–9, at 29; Carpentier and Marcigny, ‘Traces et absence de traces’. [↵]

[95] I would see the presence or absence of Christian sculpture with a Scandinavian flavour as more likely to reflect the policies of the regional Churches than the numbers of settlers. [↵]

[96] Richards and Haldenby, ‘The Scale and Impact’, p. 345; J. Kershaw and E. C. Røyrvik, ‘The “People of the British Isles” Project and Viking Settlement in England’, Antiquity 90 (2016), 1670–80, at 1679. [↵]

[97] L. Tarrou, ‘Les Vikings en Bretagne et en Loire-Atlantique à la lumière des vestiges matériels’, and Annexe I, ‘Corpus des objets vikings découverts en France’, in Les Vikings dans l’Empire franc. Impact, héritage, imaginaire, ed. É. Ridel (Bayeux 2014), pp. 34–9 and 130–5 (map on p. 130). [↵]

[98] ‘Traces et absence de traces’, pp. 41 and 43 (‘une construction politique, territoriale et culturelle hybride, à dimension européenne’). [↵]

[99] His research was undertaken in connection with the Leverhulme Trust-funded project, ‘The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: Evidence, Memories, Inventions’, which ran from 2011 to 2015 at the University of Leicester. I would like to thank Marc Scully for his help, and for sending me his powerpoint presentation from the conference ‘The Impact of Diasporas’ in London on September 17, 2015. [↵]

[100] M. Scully et al.,‘Becoming a Viking: DNA Testing, Genetic Ancestry and Placeholder Identity’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 39 (2) (2016), 162–80, at 166; M. Scully, ‘Constructing Masculinity through Genetic Legacies: Family Histories, Y-Chromosomes, and “Viking Identities”’, Genealogy 2 (8) (2018), 1–17, at 2 and 11; for ‘biohistory kitsch’, see M. Sommer, ‘“Do You Have Celtic, Jewish or Germanic Roots?” Applied Swiss History before and after DNA’, Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re-Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging, ed. K. Schramm et al. (New York 2012), pp. 116–40, at 135. [↵]

[101] Scully et al., ‘Becoming a Viking’, p. 164; R. Jones, ‘The Viking Diaspora. Historical Genetics and the Perpetuation of National Historiographical Traditions’, forthcoming. I am grateful to Richard for sending me his paper before publication. [↵]

[102] <>; after his experience of DNA fieldwork into viking origins in France, Jones concluded that differences in laws and attitudes could serve to reinforce ‘divergent national narratives of long standing’: ‘The Viking Diaspora’. [↵]

[103] Abrams, ‘Early Normandy’. [↵]

[104] De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum, ed. J. Lair (Caen 1865); Dudo of St Quentin. History of the Normans, trans. E. Christiansen (Woodbridge 1998). [↵]

[105] Musset, for example, emphasised the difference between Upper and Lower Normandy and saw them as having different settlement histories on the basis of their place-names: ‘Les apports anglais en Normandie de Rollon à Guillaume le Conquérant’, reprinted in Nordica et Normannica,pp. 447–71, at 459. [↵]

[106] A monastic house trying to reclaim lost possessions in the middle of the eleventh century complained of the confusion generated by name changes: Quorum si forte aliqua tibi tuisque fuerint incognita, non tamen credas hec omnino non esse, sed potius nomina perdidisse (‘if by chance any of these [places] should be unknown to you or yours, you should not suppose that they have ceased to exist, but rather that they have lost their names’): P. Marchegay, ‘Chartes normandes de l’abbaye de Saint-Florent’, Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 30 (1880), 666–8, no. 2. Thanks are due to Richard Sharpe for his comments on this passage. [↵]

[107] Longnon, ‘Les noms de lieu’, pp. 277–8. [↵]


Fig. 1. Four settlements in England and France that show Scandinavian influence in their names:

Rollesby Village Sign, 2011, Paul Shreeve, via Geograph, CC BY-SA 2.0

Routot, 2020, via Google Maps [screenshot 07/09/20]

Rolleston, J. Jesch, reproduced with permission

Rouville (Seine-Mar.) entree, 2019, Havang(nl), via Wikimedia CommonsCC0[↵]

Fig. 2. Ordnance Survey Revised New Series, Sheet 148 - North Walsham (Hills), 1898 via National Library of Scotland  CC BY 4.0 [↵]

Fig 3. Cassini Map, 1793 via Géoportail, CC0[↵]

Fig. 4.  Map of West and East Flegg with names in - indicated, David Parsons reproduced with permission [↵]

Fig. 5. Portrait of Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae, Edward Skill, 1885, Svenska Familj-Journalen, CC0[↵]

Fig. 6.  Portrait of W. G. Collingwood, J.A.P. Severn; the Ruskin Museum via Art UK  CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 [↵]

Fig. 7. The Vikings in Lakeland, W. G. Collingworth, 1896, via Saga-Book 1, CC0[↵]

Fig. 8. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, Eilert Ekwall, 1936, courtesy of Lesley Abrams, reproduced with permission. [↵]

Fig. 9. A. H. Smith, English Place-Name Elements, courtesy of The English Place-Name Society [↵]

Fig. 10. Metal Assemblage, Tim Pestell, reproduced with permission. [↵]

Fig. 11. Three works by Paul-Henri Mallet:

Monumens de la mythologie et de la poésie des celtes et particulièrement des anciens Scandinaves, Paul-Henri Mallet (1756), via archive.orgCC0

Histoire de Dannemarc, Paul-Henri Mallet (1773), via archive.orgCC0

Northern Antiquities, Paul-Henri Mallet, translated into English by Dr. Thomas Percy (1770), via archive.orgCC0 [↵]

Fig. 12. Photograph of Auguste Longnon, Pierre Petit (1899), CC0 [↵]

Fig. 13.  Photograph of Marcel Proust, Otto Wegener (1900), CC0 [↵]

Fig. 14.  The covers of Jean Mabire's work are used as an educational reference and are from the following editions:

Des poètes normands, Dualpha (2005)

La brigade Frankreich, Fayard (1973)

La division Wiking, Fayard (1980)

Viking (Spring 1954 edition), Veilleur (1954) [↵]

Fig. 15. Indicative map of names in -tot (based on data provided by Peder Gammeltoft), David Parsons, reproduced with permission.[↵]

Fig. 16. Indicative map of names in -tuit (based on data provided by Peder Gammeltoft and Åse Kari Hansen Wagner), David Parsons, reproduced with permission. [↵]

Fig. 17.  Indicative map of names in -tot-tuitand -ville (based on data provided by Peder Gammeltoft and Åse Kari Hansen Wagner), David Parsons, reproduced with permission. [↵]

Fig. 18. A recent map of French metal finds, Elisabeth Ridel, reproduced with permission. [↵]

School of English

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

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