Winter Seminar 2015


University of Nottingham, 12 December 2015

11am – 4.30pm

This year we have a range of papers exploring how place-name evidence can illuminate not only processes of settlement, land-use and local administration, but also how people might have thought and felt about places, history and society.

Conference fee £16 (with lunch), £8 (without lunch). Please make cheques payable to ‘University of Nottingham’. For bookings contact Dr Paul Cavill, School of English, University of Nottingham NG7 2RD, email, on or before 4 December. There will also be a poster session over lunch. If you would like to present a poster, please contact Paul Cavill.


11.00am Registration (tea/coffee available)
11.30am Annual General Meeting
12.00pm Lunch, with poster session*

*If you would like to present a poster, please contact Paul Cavill.

1pm Session 1 – Names and people, chaired by Bob Silvester

Stephen Mileson, University of Oxford
‘By-names and field-names as a source for later-medieval peasant perceptions and village social space’
This paper will consider how ordinary medieval people shaped their sense of identity in relation to the places where they lived. Particular attention will be paid to the development of a popular sense of the past at a local level.

Susan Kilby, University of Leicester
‘Knowing your place: contrasting peasant landscapes within medieval manors’
Assessing medieval peasant mentalities has been acknowledged as a difficult pursuit. Nevertheless, an important set of peasant data exists within the written records of the late medieval manor: the names they bestowed upon each other, and on the landscape they occupied. Using a sociological framework, and case studies from the Midlands, East Anglia and the North West, this paper examines and seeks to explain the phenomenon that topographical by-names were largely bestowed on servile peasants.

2.00pm Tea and coffee

2.30pm Session 2: Names and places, chaired by Jayne Carroll

Richard Jones, University of Leicester
‘Early medieval settlements and place-names at the water’s edge’
This paper will consider how place-names were deployed to map out the presence, characteristics, and behaviour of water across the early medieval English landscape and how these informed the choice of settlement location enabling people to live successfully and safely at the water’s edge during a period of significant climate change.

David Parsons, Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth
‘Place-names and the Welsh Church in Shropshire’
Welsh place-names in llan, betws and the like creep over the border into western Shropshire. This paper will ask what they imply about the nature and chronology of local church organisation.

Simon Draper, VCH Oxfordshire
‘Place-names and Anglo-Saxon estates’
This paper will examine the linguistic evidence for the organisation and inter-relationship of settlements within Anglo-Saxon estates, drawing particularly on examples from Wessex and Mercia.

A map and directions are available at:

Download full programme here.