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.


Flood and Flow Project

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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


Please visit us again soon for more upcoming events.


Last Year

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.

Programme for The Viking World: Diversity and Change Now Available

Check out the programme for our conference The Viking World: Diversity and Change.

New 'Key' Website Launched

This is a guide to the interpretation of the names of England's cities, towns and villages.
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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
email us