Institute for Name-Studies

The Cameron Lecture

The biennial Cameron lecture is held in memory of Professor Kenneth Cameron.

Members of the INS, the English Place-Name Society (EPNS) and the general public are all warmly invited to attend this free event.

Professor Cameron was a scholar of English place-names, specialising in names of Danish origin. He was a key figure in the history of the EPNS.

Professor Cameron taught at the University of Nottingham from 1963 to 1987, serving as Honorary Director of the English Place-Name Society and General Editor of the English Place-Name Survey from 1966 to 1993. He was also editor of the Society's Journal from 1972 to 1990.

These biennial lectures honour his many impressive contributions while providing a platform to explore more recent developements within the field.

Black and white photograph of an older white man wearing glasses, a suit and smoking a pipe.
Professor Kenneth Cameron CBE, FBA (1922–2001)

Previous Cameron Lectures


Prof. Lesley Abrams (Balliol College, Oxford), delivered the Cameron lecture entitled 'Vive la Différence? Place-names and Scandinavian settlement in England and Normandy in the Viking Age'. This lecture was organised by the Institute for Name-Studies.

Prof. Abrams' lecture can be viewed here.  


2017’s lecture celebrated 50 years of the English Place-Name Society (EPNS) in Nottingham, and featured additional events around the main lecture. 

The event was introduced by Prof. John Insley of the University of Heidelberg, who gave an introduction to the work of the late Prof. Cameron.

Prof. Gillian Fellows-Jensen of the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen. delivered the Cameron Lecture, entitled 'Highways and byways to the English Place-Name Society through more than fifty years'.

Prof. Fellows-Jensen's lecture can be viewed here.

There were also posters and displays featuring the ongoing research of the EPNS and the Institute for Name-Studies.


Prof. Diana Whaley (Newcastle University), 'The other millennium: English place-naming after the Norman conquest'. This lecture was organised by the Institute for Name-Studies and supported by the Institute for Medieval Research.

Prof. Whaley's lecture can be viewed here.


Prof. Peter McClure, 'Explaining English surnames'.

Two articles, based on Professor McClure's lecture, were published in volume 36 and volume 37 of Nomina.


Dr David Parsons (Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, University of Wales), 'Alfred at Athelney and other stories: some reflections on place-names and the early history of England'.

A revised version of this lecture was published as chapter 2 of Perceptions of Place, ed. J. Carroll and D. N. Parsons (EPNS, 2013). 


Dr Chris Lewis, 'The place-name user’s code of conduct'.


Dr Margaret Gelling, 'English place-name studies: some reflections'.

An article based on Dr Gelling’s lecture was published in Volume 43 of the Journal of the English Place-Name Society.

Brief biography

Ken’s contribution to place-name studies is twofold: his directorship of the English Place-Name Survey for 25 years, and a distinguished series of publications of his own. He took over as Director on the death of Hugh Smith in 1967 and saw the transfer of the Society's library from London to Nottingham where he obtained permanent premises. He instituted the Society’s Journal in 1969 and saw 20 county volumes through the press.

His own publications include an impeccable three-volume survey of The Place-Names of Derbyshire (1959), the Lincolnshire volumes [...] and a general book on English Place-Names (1961) which rapidly became the best and most comprehensive introduction to the subject, making it available to a wide readership. It ran through four editions and was finally revised with characteristic lucidity and reissued in 1996.

[His publications] brilliantly developed the technique of relating names to the drift geology of a region in order to demonstrate the secondary character of the Scandinavian names of the East Midlands and to establish the hitherto much disputed theory of a substantial Danish colonising immigration in the wake of the victorious Danish army of 876–7.

Ken’s work received national and international recognition in his Fellowship of the British Academy, his Honorary Doctorate of the University of Uppsala and his CBE in 1987.

Members of the Society will deeply miss the dedicated and discerning scholarship of a man who devoted himself to its well-being and will long cherish the memory of a wise and humane friend.


Extracts from Prof. Cameron’s obituary, written by Victor Watts and published in the Journal of the English Place-Name Society 33 (2000–2001), pp. 147–48.



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