Part 1 Index: Etymological & Teutonic Sources
- Derivation of the Surname RAMSDALE
- Teutonic Sources
- Viking Influence
- Danish or Norwegian Origin ?
- Topographical and Toponymic (habitation) Surnames
- Møre og Romsdal, Norway
- Romsdal to Ramsdale
Part 2 Index: Locative Sources
- Ramsdale Hamlet, Fylingdale's Parish, North Yorkshire
- Ramsdale Megalithic Standing Stones, North Yorkshire
- Lilla Howe Bronze Age Barrow, North Yorkshire
- Wade's Causeway, North Yorkshire
- Ramsdale Valley, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
- Ramsdale & Ramsdell Chapelries, Hampshire
Part 3 Index: Danish or Norwegian Origin
- Danish or Norwegian Origin (published sources)
- Danish or Norwegian Origin (table of place-names)
- Viking Society Web Publications
- Molde Wind Roses
- "On dalr and holmr in the place-names of Britain", Dr. Gillian Fellows-Jensen
- "The Place-Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire" (1979) A. H. Smith, Volume V
Part 4 Index: General
- Fylingdales: Geographical and Historical Information (1890), Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, Professions and Trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890
- Fylingdales Parish: Victoria County History (1923) A History of the County of York North Riding Volume 2, Pages 534 to 537
- Ramsdale Mill, Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire - Postcard Views (circa 1917 to 1958)
- Ramsdale Valley, Scarborough, North Yorkshire: Edwardian Postcards (1901 to 1915)
- Scarborough, North Yorkshire: Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)
- Ramsdale Megalithic Standing Stones, Bronze Age Stone Circle, Fylingdales Moor, North Yorkshire
- Ramsdale Family Register - Home Page
The area researched was originally confined to 'The Chapelry of Fylingdales' - see map above - first recorded as Figclinge in the 11th century, Figelinge and Fielinge in the 11th and 12th centuries and possibly as Saxeby in the 12th century. It was a parochial chapelry south of Whitby and contained the villages of Robin Hood's Bay and Thorpe, or Fylingthorpe (which was recorded as Prestethorpe in the 13th century) and the hamlets of Normanby, Parkgate, Ramsdale, Raw (Fyling Rawe, 16th century) and Stoupe Brow. Fylingdales Parish covers an area of 13,325 acres (53.92 km2, 20.82 miles2) of land and inland water.
The area researched was then extended beyond Fylingdales Parish to include 'The Liberty of Whitby Strand' comprising, in 1831, the parishes of Whitby, Hackness, Sneaton and the Chapelry of Fylingdales as taken from A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1923) at pages 502 to 505 (see map below) and which now includes the parishes of Aislaby (1865), Ruswarp (1870) and Hawsker (1878).
The area researched has been further extended to include (1) Pickering Lythe Wapentake, (2) Whitby Strand Wapentake and (3) Langbargh East Wapentake, described in "The Place-Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire" (1928) A. H. Smith, Volume V, at pages 74 to 157; in particular the littoral parishes comprising the North Yorkshire coast.
England 878 AD The Liberty of Whitby Strand
North Yorkshire Littoral - Parishes
Danish or Norwegian Origin ?
"Robin Hood's Bay lies in the ancient parish of Fylingdales. The name itself is believed to be derived from the Old English word 'Fygela' which meant 'marshy ground'. The first evidence of man in the area was 3000 years ago when Bronze Age burial grounds were dug on the high moorland a mile or so south of the village. These are known as Robin Hood's Butts. Some 1500 years later, Roman soldiers had a stone signal tower built at Ravenscar about the 4th century AD. The first regular settlers, however, were probably Saxon peasants, followed by the Norsemen. The main colonists of this coast were Norwegians who were probably attracted by the rich glacial soil and ample fish, and this is how they survived by a mixture of farming and fishing. The likely original settlement of the Norsemen was at Raw, a hamlet slightly inland, which helped to avoid detection by other pirates." See Robin Hood's Bay - its history and origins.
It is frequently impossible to decide whether a particular word or personal name is of Danish or Norwegian origin. However, place-names on the North Yorkshire coast ending in dale, by and thorpe are indicative of settlement by Norwegian adventurers in the 9th century AD who had joined Danish Vikings in subjugating the whole of northern England (the Danelaw) before settling there as farmers and traders and developing great mercantile cities such as York.
"It is only, I think, by comparison with other districts, and from the history of the old Danes and Norse - not merely as pirates, but as colonists - that we may hope to learn the facts and interpret the remains of the great Viking settlements." per "Norse Place-names in Wirral" (1896) W. G. Collingwood, Saga Book Vol. II at page 147
Old Norse Origins: local place-name evidence
In the Pickering Lythe, Whitby Strand and Langbargh East Wapentakes there are some 2,301 examples of local place-names containing one or more of 262 Old Norse original elements. Where a place-name has two or more Old Norse original elements it is included under both so the total number of examples includes some double and triple counting. Examples of such multiple element listings are:
- 'Crook Ness' which appears under both 'crook' (krókr) and 'ness' (nes)
- 'Murk Mire Moor' which appears under 'murk' (myrkr), 'mire' (mýrr) and 'moor' (mǫr)
- 'Marnar Dale Beck' which appears under 'mar' (marr), 'nar' (norðr), 'dale' (dalr) and 'beck' (bekkr)
In this regard see place-name element raw: hrar, bráð 'raw flesh' and rauðr 'red' with (seven) duplicate entries.
The table of local place-names can be found in Part 4 of "Derivation of the Surname RAMSDALE".
Old Norse is the language of Norway in the period circa 750 to 1350 (after which Norwegian changes considerably) and of Iceland from the settlement (circa 870) to the Reformation (circa 1550 - a date that sets a cultural rather than a linguistic boundary). Known in modern Icelandic as Norræna, in Norwegian as Norrønt and in English sometimes as West Norse or Old Icelandic, this type of speech is a western variety of Scandinavian.
Although Icelandic circa 870 to 1550 and Norwegian circa 750 to 1350 are here given the designation 'Old Norse', it would be wrong to think of this language as entirely uniform, without variation in time or space. The form of Scandinavian spoken in Norway around 750 differed in a number of important respects from that spoken around 1350, and by the latter date the Norwegian carried to Iceland by the original settlers had begun to diverge from the mother tongue. Nevertheless, in the period circa 1150 to 1350, when the great mediæval literature of Iceland and Norway was created, there existed an essential unity of language in the western Scandinavian world.
Old English is the name given to the language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th to 11th centuries.
Basic Pronunciation of Old Norse
Vowels á as in father ár 'year' a the same sound, but short dagr 'day' é as in été, but longer él 'storm' e as in été ben 'wound' í as in eat lítr 'looks' i the same sound, but short litr 'colour' ó as in eau, but longer sól 'sun' o as in eau hof 'temple' ú as in bouche, but longer hús 'house' u as in bouche sumar 'summer' ý as in rue, but longer kýr 'cow' y as in rue yfir 'over' æ as in pat, but longer sær 'sea' œ as in feu, but longer œrr 'mad' ø as in feu døkkr 'dark' ö as in feu björk 'birch' ǫ as in naught ǫl 'ale' Unstressed Vowels a as stressed a leysa 'release' i as in city máni 'moon' u as in wood eyru 'ears' Diphthongs aa as in awe Thorsaa 'Thor's rivulet' au as in now lauss 'loose' ei as in hay bein 'bone' ey ON e + y hey 'hay' Consonants b as in buy bíta 'bite' bb the same sound, but long gabb 'mockery' c as in keep köttr 'cat' d as in day dómr 'judgement' dd the same sound, but long oddr 'point' f (1) as in far fé 'money' f (2) as in very haf 'ocean' ff as in far, but long offr 'offering' g (1) as in goal gefa 'give' g (2) as in loch lágt 'low' g (3) as in loch, but voiced eiga 'own' gg (1) as in goal, but long egg 'edge' gg (2) as in loch gløggt 'clear' h as in have horn 'horn' j as in year jafn 'even' k as in call kǫttr 'cat' kk the same sound, but long ekki 'nothing' l as in leaf nál 'needle' ll the same sound, but long hellir 'cave' m as in home frami 'boldness' mm the same sound, but long frammi 'in front' n (1) as in sin hrinda 'push' n (2) as in sing hringr 'ring' nn as in sin, but long steinn 'stone' p as in happy œpa 'shout' pp the same sound, but long heppinn 'lucky' r rolled gøra 'do' rr the same sound, but long verri 'worse' s as in this reisa 'raise' ss the same sound, but long áss 'beam' t as in boat tǫnn 'tooth' tt the same sound, but long nótt 'night' v as in win vera 'to be' þ as in thin þing 'assembly' ð as in this jörð 'earth' x as in lochs øx 'axe' z as in bits góz 'property'
- A history of Whitby and Streonshalh Abbey (1817) George Young
- An account of the Danes and Norwegians in England, Scotland, and Ireland (1852) Jens Jakob Asmussen Worsaae
- The Norsemen in Shetland (1896) Gilbert Goudie Saga Book Vol. I at pages 289 to 318
- Norse Place-names in Wirral (1896) W. G. Collingwood
- Scandinavian Loan-Words in Middle English (1900) Eric Björkman
- The Oldest Known List of Scandinavian Names with their Bearing on Yorkshire Place-Names (1905-06) Jon Stefansson Ph.D., Saga Book IV at pages 296 to 311
- Words and Places (1911) Isaac Taylor and J. M. Dent
- Middle-English Place-names of Scandinavian origin (1912) Harald Lindkvist
- Early Yorkshire Charters (1914) William Farrer
- The Dialects of Hackness (north east Yorkshire) with original specimens, and a word-list (1915) George Herbert Cowling
- Introduction to the Survey of English Place Names (1924) A. Mawer and F. M. Stenton
- Danes and Norwegians in Yorkshire (1925) A. H. Smith, Saga Book Vol. X at pages 188 to 215
- Travels with a Sketch Book: the Ouse at Lewes (1931) Donald Maxwell
- Robin Hood in the North: a Theory of a Norse Origin to the Legends (1934) Lewis Spence
- Saga Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research (1945) "Anglo-Saxon England" reviewed by F. M. Stenton
- The Proportion of Scandinavian Settlers in the Danelaw (1945) Eilert Ekwall, Saga Book Vol. XII at pages 19 to 35
- The Origin of English Place Names (1960) P. H. Reaney
- The Domesday Geography of Northern England (1962) H.C. Darby and I. S. Maxwell
- Anglo Saxon England (1971) Sir Frank Stenton
- Scandinavian Settlement Names in Yorkshire (1972) Gillian Fellows Jensen
- Scandinavian Settlement Names in Yorkshire (1972) Gillian Fellows Jensen - Review by John McN. Dodgson, (1974-7) Saga Book Vol. XIX at pages 339 to 343
- Scandinavian Settlement Names in the East Midlands (1978) Gillian Fellows Jensen - Review by A. M. J. Perrott, (1978-81) Saga Book Vol. XX at pages 325 to 328
- English Place-Names (1977) Kenneth Cameron
- The Place-Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire (1979) A. H. Smith
- Viking Revaluations: "Norway (800-1200)" (1992) Knut Helle
- Viking Revaluations: "Norse in the British Isles" (1992) Michael Barnes
- The Vikings and their Victims: the Verdict of the Names (1994) Gillian Fellows-Jensen at page 31
- Language and History in Viking Age England: Linguistic relations between speakers of Old Norse and Old English (2002) Matthew Townend
- Domesday Book - A Complete Translation (2003)
- Farm-derived units of measurement
Appendix No 1 Extracts from Domesday with the modern names and etymological notes
Land of Earl Hugh
IIII. In Witebi and Sneton, Whitby and Sneaton, (White-bi, see page 242 of this History, Sneton from sned, sloping, and ton) a berewick, there are to be taxed 15 carucates and there may be 15 ploughs. Earl Siward held this for one manor. Earl Hugh has it now, and William de Percy of him. In the demesne 2 ploughs and 10 villans and 3 bordars having 1 plough. Woodland pasture 7 leagues long and 3 leagues broad. The whole plain 3 leagues long and 2 broad. Value T.R.E. £112 now 60s.
To this manor belongs the soke of these places: Figelinge, Fyling (fugel, fowl and ing, a wet place) 1 carucate. Nortfigelin, North Fyling, 5 carucates. Ghinipe, Gnipe-houe, (knipa, to pinch, or a waterfowl; or knippe a bunch?) 3 carucates. Prestebi, Priestby (see page 242 of this History) 2 carucates. Ugleberdesbi, Ugglebarnby (Ugglebert personal name and bi) 3 carucates. Sourebi, Sourby, now called Sneaton-thorpe (sour, an epithet applied to boggy or spungy land, and bi) 4 carucates. Brecca, probably the farm of Brackenrigg beside Ewecote (brake or braken, fern) 1 carucate. Baldebi, Baldby Fields between Whitby and Ruswarp (bald, personal name or bare and bi) 1 carucate. Florun, Flora or Flore, the ancient name of some fields between Whitby and Upgang; hence the name Floregate now Flowergate (see page 480 of this History) 2 carucates. Staxebi, Stakesby (stake or stakes and bi) 6 carucates and 6 oxgangs. Neucha, Newholm (new and ham, the final 'm', as well as 'n', is often omitted in Domesday) 4 carucates.
In all to be taxed 28 carucates and 6 oxgangs and there may be 24 ploughs. Earl Hugh has it, and William of him. It is in a manner all waste; only in Prestebi and Sourebi, which the abbot of York has of William. There are 2 ploughs in the demesne and 8 sokemen with 1 plough and 30 villans with 3 ploughs and 1 mill of 10s and 26 acres of meadow here and there.
Danish-Norwegian Names of Places
… The greater number of names of places in the south of England end in -ton, -ham, -bury, or -borough, -forth or -ford, -worth, &c. These, which are of Anglo-Saxon origin, and which also serve still further to prove the preponderating influence of the Anglo-Saxons in that part, are, it is true, also spread over the whole of the north of England. But, even in the districts about the Thames (in Kent, Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk) they already begin to be mixed with previously unknown names ending in -by (Old Northern, bỳr, first a single farm, afterwards a town in general), -thorpe (Old Northern þorp, a collection of houses separated from some principal estate, a village), -thwaite, in the old Scandinavian language þveit, tved, an isolated piece of land, -næs, a promontory, and ey, or öe, an isle; as in Kirby, or Kirkby, Risby, Upthorpe and others. As we approach from the south the districts west of the Wash, such as Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, the number of such names constantly increases, and we find, among others, Ashby, Rugby, and Naseby. As we proceed farther north, we find still more numerous names of towns and villages having in like manner new terminations; such as, -with (i.e. forest), -toft, -beck, -tarn (Scandinavian, tjörn, or tjarn, a small lake, water), -dale, -fell (rocky mountain), -force (waterfall), -haugh, or, how (Scandinavian haugr, a hill), -garth (Scandinavian garðr, a large farm); together with many others. The inhabitants of the north will at once acknowledge these endings to be pure Norwegian or Danish; which is, moreover, placed beyond all doubt by the compound words in which they appear.
… The name of the village of Thingwall (Wall, Dan., Vold, a bank or rampart) in Cheshire affords a remarkable memorial of the assizes, or Thing, which the Northmen generally held in conjunction with their sacrifices to the gods; it lies, surrounded with several other villages with Scandinavian names, on the small tongue of land that projects between the mouths of the rivers Dee and Mersey. At that time they generally chose for the holding of the thing, or assizes, a place in some degree safe from surprise. The chief ancient thing place for Iceland was called like this Thingwall, namely Thingvalla (originally "þingvöllr", "þingvellir" or the thing-fields).
… The same table still further shows that the names ending in by, thorpe, toft, beck, næs, and ey, appear chiefly in the flat midland counties of England; whereas, farther towards the north, in the more mountainous districts, these terminations mostly give place to those in thwaite, and more particularly to those in dale, force, tarn, fell, and haugh. This difference, however, is scarcely founded on the natural character of the country alone; it may also have arisen from the different descent of the inhabitants. For although in ancient times Danish and Norwegian were one language, with unimportant variations, so that it would scarcely be possible to decide with certainty in every single case whether the name of a place be derived from the Danes or from the Norwegians; yet it may reasonably be supposed that part at least of the last-mentioned names are Norwegian; namely, those ending in -dale (as Kirk-dale, Lang-dale, Wast-dale, Bishops-dale); in -force (as Aysgarth-force in Yorkshire, High-force, and Low-force, in the river Tees, and in the stream called "Seamer Water"); in -fell (old Norwegian, fjall; Mickle-fell, Cam-fell, Kirk-fell, Middle-fell, Cross-fell); in -tarn (Old Nor., tjorn, or tjarn, a small lake); and in -haugh (as in Northumberland, Red-haugh, Kirk-haugh, Green-haugh, Windy-haugh). Exactly similar names are met with to this day in the mountains of Norway; whilst they are less common, or altogether wanting, in the flat country of Denmark. That Norwegians also immigrated into England, even in considerable numbers, both history and the frequently occurring name of Normanby in the north of England, clearly show; but they appear to have betaken themselves chiefly to the most northern and mountainous districts, which not only lay nearest to them, but which in character most resembled their own country. In this respect it deserves to be noticed, that places whose names end in tarn, and are consequently pure Norwegian, are found only in the most northern counties; and that those in haugh - although there are names of places in Denmark ending in hoi (hill) - must also, from the form, be Norwegian. They are found exclusively in the present Northumberland, and within the Scotch border.
… That they should have been preserved in such numbers for more than eight centuries after the fall of the Danish dominion in England, and that they should have retained, as it has been shown, the original Scandinavian forms, and that often in a highly striking degree, completely disproves the opinion that the old Danish-Norwegian inhabitants of the country north of Watlinga-Straet were supplanted or expelled after the cessation of the Danish dominion (1042), first by the Anglo-Saxons, and afterwards by the Normans from Normandy; for if such had been the case, the names of places would naturally have become altogether changed and impossible to recognise. As the matter stands it is sufficiently proved that Danes as well as Norwegians must have continued to reside in great numbers in the districts previously conquered by them, and particularly in the north; and consequently that a very considerable part of the present population in the midland and northern counties of England may with certainty trace their origin to the Northmen, and especially to the Danes.
… In this connection … concerning the question whether any of the Scandinavian loan-words in English can be distinguished as being of West-Scandinavian (Norwegian-Icelandic) or of East-Scandinavian (Danish-Swedish) origin …
§ 4. The aim of this treatise will be to give an account of the borrowed Scandinavian words in Middle English - within the limitations mentioned in the preceding paragraph. It will, consequently, deal with loan-words in the proper sense of the word … As there are reasons for believing that many Norwegians settled among the Danes, I prefer to use the word Scandinavians.
§ 6. As for the dates of the borrowings, it has already been pointed out (p. 7) that we have probably to discriminate between different strata of loan-words. The main part of the loan-words, nevertheless, seems to have been introduced daring the times when the Scandinavian settlers began to give up their original language and nationality, and seems to be a result of the amalgamation of the Scandinavian and English languages, which probably took place in the 11th century and which was, in some parts, perhaps not fully completed until the beginning of the 12th century.
§ 7 … As for the question from which parts of Scandinavia the settlers came … It is well known that Norwegians as well as Danes took part in the invasion. As for their local distribution, it is to be remembered that the settlers in East Anglia and Lincolnshire were, to a great extent, Danes, who seem to have been paramount in these districts, and that the main body of the Norwegians seems to have settled in Northumbria and in the North-West parts of England. That a considerable part of the Scandinavian population North of the Humber was Norwegian, is also rendered probable by the loyalty with which the Scandinavians of Northumbria kept to the Norwegian dynasty of the kingdom of York …
§ 8. The Scandinavian languages are, as is well known, to be divided into two groups: West-Scandinavian (Norwegian, Icelandic, Færoish) and East-Scandinavian (Danish, Swedish) …
… Old Norwegian and Icelandic words are generally quoted as 'West-Scandinavian', as it is unnecessary and generally very difficult to discriminate between Old Norwegian and Old Icelandic words, and as both languages were as to their vocabulary and general appearance in old times much the same. As for East-Scandinavian, it will be more convenient to describe the words as 'Danish' or 'Swedish' than as 'East-Scandinavian' …
Click here to view the text online.
The most valuable and important of these test-words is byr or by. This word originally meant a dwelling, or a single farm, and hence it afterwards came to denote a village. [Note: a by-law is the local law enacted by the township.] … We find this word as a suffix in the village-names of Denmark, and of all countries colonised by the Danes [Note: it denotes Danish colonisation. In places visited only for purposes of trade or plunder no dwellings would be required]. In … England it is usually contracted into by. In the Danish district of England - between Watling Street and the River Tees - the suffix by frequently takes the place of the Anglo-Saxon -ham or -ton. In this region there are numerous names like Grimsby, Whitby, Derby [Note: in a few cases we have documentary evidence of a change of name consequent upon the Danish conquest. Thus we know that the Norse name of Deoraby or Derby took the place of the former Saxon name of Northweorthig, or Norworth as it would now be written. So the Saxon Streoneshalch became the Norse Whitby] … To the north of Watling Street there are some six hundred instances of its occurrence - to the south of it, scarcely one … The suffix is common both to the Norwegian and Danish districts of England, though it is more frequent in the latter.
Another useful test-word is thorpe, throp, or trop, which we find in Althorpe, Copmansthorpe, and Wilstrop, near York. It means an aggregation of men or houses - a village. This suffix is very useful in enabling us to discriminate between the settlements of the Danes and those of the Norwegians, being confined almost exclusively to the former. It is very common in Denmark and East Anglia, it is very rare in Norway, it does not occur in Lancashire, only once in Cumberland, and very seldom in Westmoreland.
The word toft, which in Normandy takes the form tot, is also distinctly Danish and East Anglian. It is very scarce in Norway … It signifies a homestead or inclosure, and, like by and thorpe, it is an indication of permanent colonisation.
Thwaite, on the other hand, is the distinctive Norwegian suffix. The meaning is nearly the same as the Saxon field, a forest clearing. It is very common in Norway, it occurs forty-three times in Cumberland, and not once in Lincolnshire, while thorpe, the chief Danish test-word, which occurs sixty-three times in Lincolnshire, is found only once in Cumberland.
The Norse garth, an inclosure, which corresponds to the Anglo-Saxon yard, has already been discussed [Note: the Anglo-Saxon yard, and the Norse equivalent garth, contain nearly the same idea as ton. Both denote some place girded round, or guarded. The word tains, a twig, stands in the same etymological relation to ton as the old English word yerde, a switch or rod, does to yard, garth, and garden. The inclosure is named from the nature of the surrounding fence.]
The word beck, a brook, is more frequent in the Norwegian than in the Danish region, and this also is the case with the suffixes -haugh, -with, -tarn, and -dale. The word force, which is the ordinary name for a waterfall in the lake district, is exclusively Norwegian, and corresponds to the Icelandic and Norwegian foss. The word fell is also derived from Norway, where it takes the form field (pronounced fi-ell). It is the usual name for a hill in the north-west of England [Note: the Anglo-Saxon field or feld is from the same root as the Norse fell. A fell is a place where the ground is on the fall; a field or feld is where the trees have been felled. In old writers wood and feld are continually contrasted … the word field bore witness to the great extent of unfelled timber which still remained. With the progress of cultivation the word has lost its primitive force. The word fold is from the same source].
We now come to the words which do not necessarily imply any permanent colonisation by the Northmen. The suffix ford occurs both in Anglo-Saxon and in Norse names, but with characteristic difference of meaning. In either case ford is a derivative of faran or fara, to go. The fords of the Anglo-Saxon husbandmen, which are scattered so abundantly over the south of England, are passages across rivers for men or cattle; the fords of the Scandinavian sea-rovers are passages for ships up arms of the sea, as in the case of the fjords of Norway and Iceland, and the firths of Scotland [Note: while many of our agricultural terms, as basket, crook, kiln, fieam, barrow, ashlar, gavelock, rasher, and mattock, are of Celtic origin, seafaring words, such as cockswain, boatswain, and skipper, are mostly Norse]. These Norse fords are found on the coasts which were frequented for purposes of trade or plunder …
Wick is also found in both Anglo-Saxon and Norse names, but here also there is a difference in the application, analogous to that which we have just considered. The primary meaning in either case seems to have been a station. With the Anglo-Saxons it was a station or abode on land - hence a house or a village: with the Northmen it was a station for ships - hence a small creek or bay. The sea-rovers derived their name of vikings, or "creekers", from the wics or creeks in which they anchored. The inland wicks, therefore, are mostly Saxon, while the Norse wicks fringe our coasts, and usually indicate the stations of pirates, rather than those of colonists …
We may also detect the visits of the Northmen by the word scar, a face of rock or cliff - from skera, to shear, or cut asunder. Instances are to be found in the names of Scarborough, the Skerries, and Skerryvore. A holm means an island, almost always an island in a lake or river … An island in the sea is denoted by the suffix oe, a, ay, or ey, as in the case of the Faroe Islands; Mageroe, in Norway; Staffa, Iona, and Cumbray, on the western coast of Scotland; and Lambay on the Irish coast.
Furnished with these test-words we may endeavour to trace the various settlements of the Danes and of the Norwegians …
The Isle of Man, which at one time formed a portion of the kingdom of Norway, must have contained a considerable Norwegian population, as appears from the Norse names of the villages, such as Colby, Greenaby, Dalby, Baleby, Kirby, Sulby, and Jurby.
Editor's note: these Norse place names share the suffix by which the author states above "denotes Danish colonisation" and "is common both to the Norwegian and Danish districts of England, though it is more frequent in the latter".
On the coast we find the bays of Perwick, Fleswick, Greenwick, Sandwick, Aldrich, Soderick, Garwick, and Dreswick, the capes of Langness and Littleness and the islands of Eye, Holm, the Calf, and Ronaldsay; while Sneefell (snow hill), the highest mountain in the island, bears a pure Norwegian name …
In the same way that the Danish names in England are seen to radiate from the Wash, so the Norwegian immigration seems to have proceeded from Morcambe Bay and that part of the coast which lies opposite to the Isle of Man. Cumberland, Westmoreland, Lancashire, and Dumfriesshire contain a very considerable number of Scandinavian names, but comparatively few of a distinctively Danish cast. The Lake District seems to have been almost exclusively peopled by Celts and Norwegians. The Norwegian suffixes, -gill, -garth, -haugh, -thwaite, -force, and -fell, are abundant; while the Danish forms, -thorpe and -toft, are almost unknown; and the Anglo-Saxon test-words, -ham, -ford, -worth, and -ton, are comparatively rare …
The Norse haugr, a sepulchral mound, is often found in the names of mountains crowned by conspicuous tumuli. The name of the old Viking who lies buried here is often preserved in the first portion of such local names. Thus, Silver How, Bull How, Scale How, and Butterlip How, are, probably, the burial-places of the forgotten heroes, Solvar, Boll, Skall, and Buthar Lipr.
In Cheshire, with one remarkable local exception, we find no vestiges of Norse colonists. But the spit of land called the Wirral, between the Dee and the Mersey, seems to have allured them by its excellent harbours, and the protection afforded by its almost insular character. Here, in fact, we find geographical conditions similar to those which gave rise to the two isolated Norse colonies at the mouths of the Stour and the Yare, and the result is no less remarkable. In this space of about twelve miles by six there is scarcely a single Anglo-Saxon name, while we find the Norse villages of Raby, Pensby, Irby, Frankby, Kirby, Whitby, and Greasby.
Editor's note: again, these Norse colony place names bear the suffix by which the author states (above) denotes "Danish colonisation" …
A short survey of the distribution of the Scandinavian place-names in the various counties of Scandinavian England.
In Chapters I - II the extent of the Scandinavian settlement in England east and north of Watling Street was outlined, as far as this is possible from the imperfect historical materials at our command. Attention was called to the fact that, broadly speaking, this settlement was started successively, although at short intervals, in four separate quarters: in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, East Anglia, and the North-West. It is needless to emphasize that due allowance has to be made for the possibility that, in each case, also the neighbouring counties were involved in this process of colonization at its earliest stages. The following paragraphs will contain an exposition of the distribution and relative frequency of the Scandinavian place-nomenclature enclosed within the boundaries of all the territory in question. In order to render the material better surveyable, from such a point of view, it has proved advisable to examine it under the heads of four divisions: The East Anglian, the Midland, the North-Western, and the North-Eastern. The arrangement suggests itself from the situation and special historical development of each of these divisons, as well as from the general character and distribution of the place-names contained in each of them.
3) The North-Eastern division embraces Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland. It need hardly be said that the first-named county constitutes the nucleus, whereas the two others are of minor importance from our point of view, and may be passed over more rapidly. As was shown in Chapter I, Yorkshire was the scene of the earliest permanent Scandinavian settlement in England, as far as we can trust the evidence of our sources. Together with Lincolnshire it formed the heart of Scandinavian England; like this county it must have remained for centuries an essentially Scandinavian country, where the Scandinavians, being in most parts probably even in numerical superiority, formed the predominant element of the population. [A]
[A] We are told as much by the Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson ( 1241), who says in one of his sagas … 'the country of the Northumbrians was mostly inhabited by Northmen since Loðbrok's sons acquired the country … Many place-names are given there in the Scandinavian tongue: Grimsby (in Li.), and Hauksfljot (not identifiable; as I suppose, a subsequently lost town on the Humber), and many others'. See Heimskringla I p.170, ed. F. Jónsson, Kobenhavn 1893-1901.
Editor's note: Ragnar Loðbrók or Lothbrók (Old Norse: Ragnarr Loðbrók, "Ragnar Hairy Breeches") was a legendary Norse ruler, king, and hero from the Viking Age described in Old Norse poetry and several sagas.
"Ragnarr Lothbrók and his sons" (1909) Professor Allen Mawer, Saga Book VI at pages 68, 69 and 75
… materials for reconstructing the life of Ragnar Lothbrók and his sons are as follows:
- Ragnar Loðbróks Saga and the Tháttr af Ragnarssonum …
- The poem known commonly as "Krákumál" …
- The story as found in the ninth book of Saxo's history …
- … Sven Aggeson's Danish history of the 12th century, the lost Skjöldunga Saga … and occasional references in other sagas
- English, Irish, and Continental annals are full of references to the activities of the sons of Ragnar Lothbrók …
… Before proceeding to discuss these stories we may note that in these three traditions, while Ragnar Lothbrók is represented as king in Denmark, he and his family are very closely connected with Norway. According to Saxo, Regnerus was brought up in Norway, while the Ragnarr of the Saga has many relatives and friends in Norway, and in the Tháttr his realm is made to extend as far as the Dovrefield and the Naze, while his son rules in all Víkinn as well as in Agthir, both of which are in South Norway.
The original stock of Scandinavian settlers here in the late 9th century, must have been considerably reinforced through additional immigration of their countrymen during the next two centuries. It seems fairly certain that also other parts of Scandinavian England then received larger or smaller numbers of such later immigrants, but the main stream must have gone to Yorkshire. Many of these may have come direct from Scandinavia, others frpm the Norwegian colonies in the West, or, more especially, from Ireland, with whose Viking colonies Yorkshire appears to have had a lively intercourse, at all events during the 10th century. That the north-west portion of the county was partly populated and settled from the west, from Lancashire and Westmoreland, is likely enough, even to judge from the distribution of the place-names over the region in question.
The great gateway of the Scandinavians to northern England was the Humber. From the Humber they would be able to proceed by water in two main directions: southwards down the Trent through Lincolnshire, and northwards up the Ouse to York. Or they might prefer going by land, southwards from Barton or Ferriby along the Roman Ermine Street to Lincoln, Huntingdon and further on; northwards by the likewise Roman (?) road that led from the opposite shore to York and as far as to Hadrian's Wall. This accessibility, together with its situation in one of the widest and most fertile plains in England, must from the very beginning have rendered York, and then the surrounding district, particularly desirable in the eyes of the Scandinavians. Throughout the Scandinavian period we find the city of York - the Eoforwic of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, the Jorvik of the O.Icel. sagas - as the most important administrative, ecclesiastical, and commercial centre in the north. As the seat of the Scandinavian kings and earls of Northumbria it must have sheltered within its walls a large proportion of people of Scandinavian descent. This is well illustrated by the numerous Scandinavian personal names that occur in early M.E. records connected with the city; see e.g. the early 11th century list of ÆIfric's bondsmen, whereabout two thirds of the names recorded are Scandinavian in form, most of the bearers being apparently residents of York or its vicinity.
Further testimony to the same effect is borne by the many street-names of the same orimn to be found in mediaeval York for which see in Chapter V. Even long after northern England had been brought under the sceptre of the Norman kings there seems to have been a brisk trade between York and Scandinavia. Such being the state and position of the capital, we cannot wonder that the local nomenclature of the surrounding county should be greatly influenced by the Scandinavians and, accordingly, reflect a Scandinavian settlement the proportions of which are not equalled anywhere else in England. [B]
[B] This Scandinavian local nomenclature is parallelled in Yo. by a personal one of the same nationality which is more numerous and varied than that of any other county. Only in Yo. have I met with instances of the well-known very usual O.Scand. type consisting of a prænenomen + a patronymic compound ending in -son, -sun, as, e.g. Arngrimr Gudmundarsun in La. I have noted the following partly anglicized instances: Arne Grimsune 12th century Whitby Chartulary; Gamel Grimessuna, Ulf Fornessuna, Uctred Ulfessuna 1189 (letter of Inspeximus 1308) Calendar of the Charter Rolls. Compare also þoreð Gunneres sunu (p. xxxiv) and þurforð Rolfes sune (p.171).
This is true, above all, with regard to the North Riding, of whose M.E. place-nomenclature much has been preserved, even in detail, in the valuable, or rather invaluable, monastic chartularies of Whitby, Guisbrough, and Rievaulx. Scandinavian names abound all over this Riding, being in a great majority especially in the wapentakes of Langbaurgh with Whitby Strand (on this see Ch. V, at the end), Birdforth and Hang. But even the East Riding teems with such names, which in the wapentake of Buckrose amount to more than 50% of the total number; in the wapentakes of Dickering, Harthill, and Howden, too, their percentage is very great, as may be seen from the Nomina Villarum (1316) and the returns of the Poll tax 1378. Of less importance, in this respect, is the West Riding, more particularly the southmost portion, whereas in the wapentake of Ewcross, along the pre-eminently Scandinavian hundred of Lonsdale in Lancashire, and the adjoining Staincliffe, besides in Osgoldcross, along the southern side of the river Air, the Scandinavian place-nomenclature is anything but inconsiderable.
A few remarks may be added about the general features of the Scandinavian place-nomenclature in the county. In almost every part of it we find numerous compounds with the Scandinavian býr (cf. p.3 n.), fors (p.60 n.3), skáli (p.189), wrá (p.197); also compounds with þorp (p.4 n. 3), and toft (p. 208) are frequently met with, especially in the East Riding. Characteristic of the woody, mountainous regions of the North and West Ridings are the many names terminating in þveit (see p.96 f.), gil (p.19 n.), viðr (p.179 n. 2). With regard to the abundance and variety of its Scandinavian nature- and cultivation-names Yorkshire is not surpassed by any other county in England, though it is true the most Scandinavian districts of Lancashire, Cumberland, and Lincolnshire vie with it in this respect.
Passing on to Durham and Northumberland we find a place-nomenclature that exhibits comparatively few traces of the Scandinavians. Here the Scandinavian names do not occur in patches, as was often the case south of the Tees, but are scattered all over the two counties, and are, generally speaking, of little interest. As was to be expected they are most frequent in the southern half of Durham, near the Yorkshire border. Conspicuous are the many instances of the M.E. name Newebiggyng (N.E. Newbigging), from O.W.Scand bygging 'building', which name is certainly found in most northern English counties but nowhere so frequently as here. Judging by the place-names, the Scandinavian settlement in the two counties seems to have been only sporadic in character. Much of it was probably swept away through the incessant ravages of the Scots that these parts had to endure in early M.E. times.
4) The North-Western division includes the present counties of Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumberland and Westmoreland.
If we take a general view of the three north-western counties (Lancashire, Cumberland, Westmoreland) with regard to their Scandinavian place-nomenclature, it cannot fail to strike us how many features they possess in common with Yorkshire. It goes without saying that this similarity of place-names was conditioned, to a very large extent, by that of the natural scenery. But not only the many name-elements that refer to natural characteristics correspond. There are, besides, not a few names which preserve elements of other kinds, for instance pers. names and words relating to religious worship, social customs and institutions, which are to be found only here and nowhere else in Scandinavian England. In several cases these names are of a distinctively O.W.Scand shape. These points will be discussed more fully in Part II of the present work.
Some general remarks on the Scandinavian place-nomenclature in England in Old and Middle English times
The influence of the Scandinavians on the place-nomenclature of England (within the territorial limits before indicated) exhibits itself first of all in the production or introduction of names entirely Scandinavian in form, as well as in the coining of names embodying native and Scand. elements - in other words hybrid formations. But also the native names that existed in the country when the new settlers arrived, or may have come into existence during the succeeding period of amalgamation, were not seldom subject to more or less radical changes and alterations. Occasionally a place with a native name was re-named by the Scandinavians, as, e.g., when the ancient Northworthige of the Anglo-Saxons was changed to Deoraby (now Derby), the spelling of the Ags. Chron., A.D. 917 onwards. Another similar case is represented by the O.E. place-name Streanæshalch, Strenæshalc, recorded under those forms in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica (see ed. Plummer), but subsequently superseded by the Scand. Prestebi and Witebi (now Whitby), if we may trust a passage in the opening 12th cent. document of the Whitby Chartulary, which describes the newly-founded abbey there as situated 'in loco qui olim Streoneshalc vocabatur, deinde Prestebi appellabatur, nunc vero Witebi vocatur'. Of incomparably more frequent occurrence is the phenomenon that a native name was, wholly or in part, Scandinavianized. The best-known example of this kind is the name of the city of York, the O.E. form of which was Eoforwic; this became Jorvik in the tongue of the new settlers, and the latter form soon took precedence (cf. Zachrisson p. 63). Other striking instances which deserve attention here, are Skyrack (see p. 78), perhaps Snaith (p. 80), and, especially, many of the M.E. names apparently containing O.W.Scand. steinn (see p. 83) and hieimr (p. 62 f.).
When speaking above of the introduction of Scand. place-names into England I had in my mind the possibility that complete names, perhaps sometimes of a type that was no longer productive in Scandinavia, were transplanted to English soil in their fixed traditional Scand. form by immigrants to whom they were familiar of old. It is very likely that such an assumption is sound in the case of many of the Scand. names in England to which exact parallels may be adduced from Scandinavia; see, e.g. Beckermonds p.6, Borrowdale p.7, Litherland p.12, Aigburth p. 37, Raby p. 188, many names terminating in -þveit pp. 96-128, &c. Whether at the time of the Scand. settlement in England O.W.Scand. heimr was productive as a place-name element has been disputed (see p.58). Judging by the M.E. heim-names it did survive at that time though it was very rare. Under such circumstances it would seem that the most remarkable M.E. heim-names, such as the present Fosham, Hollym, Askham, each of which had several doubles in ancient Norway, were imported stereotyped name-material of the kind now under consideration. That a Scand. importation of names, in this sense, may have taken place appears all the more probable when we turn for parallels to other countries, e. g. England and its colonies, and consider how many English names were directly transplanted into North America by the English immigrants in the 17th century and onwards.
Editor's note: as examples of (1) Scandinavianisation and (2) importation of a complete place-name, is is possible that (1) O.N. 'Raumsdalr' (Romsdal) was imported from Norway or (2) O.E. 'hramsa dæl' was Scandinavianised O.N. 'Raumsdalr' giving 'Ramsdale'.
When dealing with the Scand. place-names in England we are in a position to draw up, with some exactness, the chronological limits for the production of a large proportion of them, namely those recorded in Domesday. From the history of the settlement, as it was briefly sketched above in Ch. I-II, it is patent that the terminus a quo must be put at about 900; Domesday professes to have been finished in 1086 (cf. Ellis, Introd. I, 4), which year, accordingly, marks the terminus ad quem, and gives us a period of circa 180 years from which must date the Scand. place-nomenclature of the record. In Domesday, as far as the range of the survey goes, we find all, or most of, the well-known names terminating in -by (cf. p.3 n.), -thorp (cf. p.4 n.), those in -tun that are to be regarded as Scand. (cf. p.7 n. 1), further those in -heim (p. 58 f.), generally anglicized to -ham. All these belong then to the earliest strata of the Scand. nomenclature in this country. But very few thweit- and toft-names appear in the same record, and not one containing wra or skale; the places subsequently designated by them must at the time of the great survey have been waste and uninhabited, perhaps depopulated, or of little or no importance. It is interesting is to notice that the by-names are often to be found in the most fertile districts, especially when these are easily accessible from the sea or some river. See, by way of illustration, the many names of this kind that group themselves in the Leicestershire plain round the river Wreak (cf. p. XLIII), in the pre-eminently Scand. parts of Lincolnshire (wapentake of Calceworth &c., see p. XLII), in the Flegg hundreds in Norfolk (p. XL), and in the great Cumberland plain round the course of the river Eden (p. XLIX). In such regions we meet with the most genuine instances of these names, as a rule compounds with a personal name as 1st member, such as in the Flegg hundreds (quoted from DoB): Alabei (see p.168), Malteby (OD Malti personal name), Ormesby (O.W.Scand. Ormr, personal name), Scroutebei (p.164), Heimesbei (p.63), &c.
… it is a conspicuous feature about the many entirely Scand. by- and thorp-names in England that the 1st member is very frequently a personal name. This applies also to the M.E. tun-names, as far as they have Scand. words for 1st members. The place-names of the former two categories agree, in that respect, with the O.Norw. names of the same description, while the Danish by-names hardly ever contain a personal name, the þorp-names as a rule do … But it is worthy of attention, with regard to the above-mentioned Scand. place-names in England, that in strikingly many cases the 1st member is a surname or nickname, perhaps more often, proportionally, than in the mother countries in the same period …
… Thus when the earliest Scand. place-names in England are composed, in such numbers, with a personal name as first member, this seems to indicate that at the earliest stage of the Scand. settlement in this country the primary social unit was the single family household (single farm) - as in Norway and Iceland - and not the village community.
Editor's note: again, Ramsdale is possibly an example of such place-names.
… Of M.E. nature names which contain Scandinavian elements there is an almost endless host preserved in our charters and other records of a more local character. Among them we meet with names of woods and groves, hills and mountains, valleys, bays and inlets, fens and marshes, fords, &c. Relatively few in number are the names of lakes and rivers … M.E. names of streams and brooks which terminate in -beck without doubt embody O.W.Scand. bekkr and not the native beck (cf. this word in Björkman, Loanwords p.144), more particularly when the preceding member is a Scandinavian word … There is no reason for doubting the Scandinavian origin of such a name as a whole … I will conclude this chapter by devoting some attention to two sets of names which occur, the one in the most Scandinavian town in England, the other in the most Scandinavian district of this country.
York, as having been for a long period practically a Scandinavian town … Of outstanding interest are several old street-names in the city which are of Scandinavian origin, and must be among the earliest Scandinavian names of this kind on record, whether in the Scandinavian mother countries or in their colonies. With two exceptions they all have O.W.Scand., OSwed. gata, O.Dan., gatæ 'road, street', as last member. Most of them are still in use, and will be easily located on any plan within the oldest part of the city; …
… We need not go very far from York to find, in the same county, a region which, as far as the evidence of its place-names goes, might be appropriately described as the most Scandinavianized part of England (cf. p.XLVI). I am referring to the Whitby district - in this case the country lying within a semi-circle of a 6 or 7 mile radius, counting from Whitby as centre. Most of the ground under cultivation is very fertile, which circumstance in itself may have sufficed to attract the new settlers; to this must be added the favourable situation on the sea-coast, which offers good natural harbours or anchorages in sundry places. Within the limits just indicated, almost every place-name seems in early M.E. times to have been Scandinavian in form, and, as a rule, West Scandinavian. Many of the names occurring here are explained in the etymological part below, Ch. 1-7, and the rest will be in Part II. But in order that the reader may form an idea of the aspect presented, with regard to local names, by a thoroughly Scandinavian district in England in the early Middle Ages, I have held it expedient here to draw up a survey of those names, with some very brief etymological notes in cases of such instances as are not included in Ch. 1-7. An exhaustive list of all the names recorded here in the course of the M.E. period would cover many pages, and the compilation of it would at present involve some practical difficulties which would be out of all proportion to the results. I will, therefore, confine myself to giving the certainly very considerable number of most interesting instances which are preserved in one of our earliest and most instructive documents, the so-called Memorial of Foundation in the Whitby Chartulary. According to the Editor of the chartulary this document is 'certainly of earlier date than 1180'. It contains the following Scandinavian place-names belonging to the district:
- Witebi; O.W.Scand. hvítr 'white', býr 'farm'.
- Prestebi; O.W.Scand. prestr, 'a priest', býr 'farm'.
- Overbi; O.W.Scand. ofarr 'above, higher up', býr 'farm'.
- Nedhrebi; O.W.Scand. neðarr 'lower, farther down', býr 'farm'.
- Steinsecher; see p.81: Stainsecre Yo. 12th, 13th centuries, Stainsecher circa 1146 (Papal confirmation), Steinsecher, Stainsker 12th century Whitby Chartulary; Steinesacr 1175-76, Steinseker 1179-80 Pipe Rolls; Staynseker 1301 Yo. Subsequently; Staynseker Nomina villarum for Yorkshire 9th Edward II; Staynsekir 1394-95, Staynsyker 1396, Staynseker, -ekerr, Steynsekerr 14th century Whitby Chartulary; now Stainsacre.
1st member is the O.W.Scand. man's name Steinn (O.E.Scand. Sten), which is of common occurrence in O.W.Scand. place-names; see Rygh, Personnavne. The same name seems to enter into the following M.E. place-names: Steinesbi … Steinshale … Steinstune.
- Thingwala; see p.16: Tingwal Yo. circa 1146 Whitby Chartulary. (Papal confirmation); Thingwala a. 1180 ibid. The place cannot be identified but must be close to Whitby; see J. C. Atkinson in his Introduction to Whitby Chartulary, p. XXII f.
- Leirpel; see p.71: Leirpel Yo. early 12th century, Lairpel circa 1146, Leirpelle 1351, Lairpell, Layerpelle, Lairepell 1395, Larepoole circa 1540, Whitby Chartulary; now Larpool … 1st member being leir n. 'clay, loam; mud, especially on the beach' (O.E.Scand Ler), or leirr m. 'loamy soil' … Besides leir and leirr there was in O.W.Scand an allied formation leira (or leiri) which signified 'a loam-field, loamy or muddy shore'. Like leirr this latter word is found sporadically uncompounded as a place-name in Norway (see further Rygh, Indl.), and traces of the words occur, too, in Scandinavian England. A document of A.D. 1332 in the Chartulary of Rievaulx speaks of a plot of land in Nalton (Yo.) as 'una perticata terræ … quaelig; vocatur Leir'. It is by no means improbable that this field-name represents O.W.Scand leirr.
- [Helredale; (?) O.W.Scand. hellir 'a cave' (in rocks), dalr 'valley'].
- Gnip; cf. O.W.Scand. gnípa 'a steep rock or peak with a beetling upper part'.
- Hauchesgard; see p. 143: Houkesgarth, Houkesgard, Hauchesgard Yo. 12th century Whitby Chartulary; Houkasgart, Houkesgart, Okesgard, Haukesgard ibid.; Hokesgard 1166-67, Haukesgard 1175-76, Hokesgarth 1179-80 Pipe Rolls; Haukasgarth 12th century Guisbrough Chartulary; Hokesgarthe 1212 Rotuli Chartarum; Houkesgarth 1213 Whitby Chartulary; Haukesgarth 1298 Yorkshire Inquisitions, 1301 Yorkshire Lay Subsidy, 1299, 1308 f. Whitby Chartulary; Haugesgargh Nomina villarum for Yorkshire 9th Edward II; etc.; now Hawsker, near Whitby.
1st member is genitive of the O.W.Scand. man's name Haukr OSwed. Høker, O.Dan. Høk), which appears as early as La. and was in frequent use in Norway and Iceland; see Lind, E. H. Norsk-Isländska dopnamn ock fingerade namn fran medeltiden. Upsala 1905 f.
2nd member is O.W.Scand. garðr (OSwed. garþer, O.Dan., garth) in the sense of 'a farm'. Cf. above p.132, under Aistangarthes.
The name is identical with the appellative haukr, etc. 'hawk'. There are in M.E. records not a few place-names that have Hauk- or Haukes- as 1st member. In almost every county in Scandinavian England, and outside it, we come across compounds such as Haukwell, Haukeswell, Haucherst (Kent), Haukedon, Haukhull etc. By far the largest percentage of these are without doubt of native origin and contain M.E. hauk < O.E. havoc, N.E. hawk. An O.E. man's name of the same form seems not to be known according to Björkman, Personennamen, p.66. But it is most likely that such a name once did exist, although it may have early fallen into disuse, and, like several other O.E. personal names, has survived only in place-names … All this being so, it is clear that we can in no case assign Scandinavian origin to M.E. place-names beginning with Hauk(es), unless spellings with the diphthong written ou, o can be adduced in support. Forms of that kind reflect a very common development of the Scandinavian diphthong in England (cf. on this above p.136 f.), which is well evidenced from Scandinavian loan-words in M.E., and such forms may be regarded as doubtless of Scandinavian origin. Apart from Hawsker, this holds good of the following names: Houcbyg … Houkesete … Hokeswelle … Hochesuuic … Hocwella … Hochesuorde … Howkeswra …
Not far from Hawsker is a place called Hogarth (Hill), which name may be of the same origin. It is stated to be identical with Haukesgarth 1299, 1344 Calendar of the Patent Rolls.
- Normanebi; perhaps from O.W.Scand. Norðmaðr 'a Northman, Norwegian' (cf. Björkman, Personennamen p.98 f.).
- Bertwait; see p.103: Bertwait Yo. ante 1180 Berthwait circa 1146 (Papal confirmation) Whitby Chartulary - In the Whitby district. Site unknown. From O.W.Scand. berr, 'bare, naked', (OSwed., Danish bar, O.E. boer, M.E. bar); or perhaps rather O.E., M.E. bere 'barley', N.E. dialect bear, retained only in Scotland, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Shropshire and Suffolk. Also O.W.Scand. ber 'berry' might possibly be taken into consideration.
- Setwait; see p.121: Setwait Yo. early 12th century Whitby Chartulary. (cf. ibid. p.118 n.); near Whitby. Apparently from O.W.Scand. sjár, sær (M.E. sæ) 'lake, sea'. An exact parallel is the O.Norw. Sæpuæit Björgynjar Kalfskinn (14th century).
- Snetune; from O.W.Scand. snær, snjár 'snow' ?
- Hugelbardebi, Ugilbardebi (written Uglebardebi, Uggelbardebi in other 12th century charters ib., DoB has Ugleberdesbi, now Ugglebarnby); from an O.W.Scand. nickname Ugluharði or -barðr 'owl-bearded'. Cf. the compounds given by F. Jónsson, Tilnavne p.207 f.
- Sourebi; see p.163: Sourebi Yo. ante 1180, Saurebi circa 1150 f, Soureby 1282, 1354 Whitby Chartulary; supposed to be identical with the present Sneaton Thorpe, see Whitby Chartulary p.398 n.
- Risewarp; O.W.Scand. hrís 'shrubs, brushwood', and varp, recorded in several applications (see Fritzner, and Rygh, Indl.), here like Norwegian dialect varp in the general sense of 'something thrown together, amassed.' The name would thus properly signify a piled-up heap of brushwood.
- Stachesbi; from O.W.Scand. stakkr 'a stack' (of hay or peat), &c.; or from the same word used as a surname (cf. Kahle, Altwestn. Beinamen p.18o).
- Baldebi; O.W.Scand. Baldi, personal name, býr 'farm'.
- Breccha; O.W.Scand. brekka 'a slope'.
- Flore; O.W.Scand. flórr 'a cow-stall' (see Fritzner).
- Eschedale; from Eske, the name of the river Esk, possibly identical in origin with the O.Norw. river-name Eskja (see Rygh, Elvenavne); dalr 'valley'.
- Mulegrif; O.W.Scand. múli 'a jutting rock' (between two dales, &c.); see further p.85 n.3.
- Agge-milne; from O.W.Scand. Aggi (OD Aggi, OSwed. Agge), a short form of Agmundr, Agvaldr, or perhaps from the same word as Swedish dialect agg 'a contrary current, backwater in a river, especially by the bank' (cf. Norwegian dialect, ag 'surging of waves'); mylna 'a mill'.
- Fielingam, Fielinga (in other 12th century deeds ib. Figelingam, Figelinge); perhaps plural forms of an O.Scand. patronymic Fyglingr, derived from O.W.Scand., O.Dan. Fugl, OSwed. Fughle; cf. the OSwed. place-name Føghlinge, Hellquist p.32.
- Hachanesse; O.W.Scand. Haki, personal name, nes 'a ness projecting into the sea'.
- Dales; perhaps from O.W.Scand. dalr 'valley'.
- Silfhou; from the O.Dan., man's name Sylve or the feminine Sylfa, Silfa (see Wimmer), and O.W.Scand. haugr 'mound, cairn.'
- Gaitelei; identical with Gaytelaye, for which see p.53: Gaytelaye ('pastura') Yo. circa 1146 (Papal confirmation) Whitby Chartulary; near Hackness - 2nd member as in Osmotherly, p.4, n.1: 2nd member M.E. leye (O.E. leak) "meadow, pasture'. The spelling lac is well instanced in DoB. and seems to depend on Norman sound-substitution; see further Zachrisson, p.151 f.
- Stoupe; see p.165: Staupe Yo. tempore Henry I, Stoupe early 12th century feminine, Stowpe 1395, Stoope, Stowpe Browe 1540 Whitby Chartulary; now Stoupe Brow, hamlet and cliff in Whitby parish. From O.W.Scand staup in the sense of 'a steep declivity or slope, a pitch, precipice'. Stoupe Brow is a cliff, according to Bartholomew's Gazetteer 893 ft. high, which towers aloft over the shore at Robin Hood's Bay, and commands a magnificent view. The word staup in the sense just mentioned is only evidenced from Norw. place-names; see e.g. Rygh N.G. V, 444 and XV, 87. It is related by ablaut to the rare verb stúpa 'to stoop', OSwed. stupa 'to fall, tumble headlong'. The primary sense of staup may have been that of a depression or hollow where one is apt to tumble down; cf. the allied O.E. adjective steap 'high, lofty', N.E. steep. In Shetlandic local names staup is applied to a track beaten by the feet of cattle (Jakobsen); cf. Norw. dialect, staup 'a hole in a road, deep rut, cup, goblet', O.E. steap 'a cup, flagon', OHG., MHG. stouf 'Becher, Felsen' (Schade), German Stauff, Stauffen, as names of mountains (see Schmeller, Bayerisches Worterbuch). Whether N.E. dialect stoup 'a deep and narrow vessel for holding liquids, pail for water', etc., is of Scandinavian introduction, is uncertain. Its local distribution - only in some northern counties and east Anglia - is in favour of it. On M.E. stope see Björkman, Loan-words, p.78, with references.
- Kesebec; from O.W.Scand. kesja 'a spear' = spjót, and bekkr 'a stream'. The name may indicate the course of the beck as being straight; cf. the Norwegian stream-names Flena and Spjota in Rygh, Elvenavne.
- Bilroche (for Bilrothe; a Papal confirmation dating from circa 1146 ib. has Bilrod); perhaps from O.W.Scand. Bili, personal name, and rjóðr or ruð 'a clearing in a wood' ?
- Asulvebi; see p.175: Asuluesby, Asuluebi Yo. DoB.; Asulvebi ante 1180, Asolvebi early 13th century Whitby Chartulary; Ascilbi 1278 C. Inquisitions; Asselby, Haselby circa 1280 Whitby Chartulary; Asila-, Asillaby Kirkby; Aselby late 13th century Whitby Chartulary, Rotuli Hundredorum Henry III and Edward I, Testa de Nevill Henry III and Edward I, Nomina villarum for Yorkshire 9th Edward II, 1339 f. Calendar of the Patent Rolls, &c.; Assulby 1487 C. Inquisitions.; Asilby 1394, Aslaby, Aislaby circa 1540 Whitby Chartulary; now Aislaby, near Whitby.
"Early Yorkshire Charters; being a collection of documents anterior to the thirteenth century made from the public records, monastic chartularies, Roger Dodsworth's manuscripts and other available sources" (1914) William Farrer, pages 197 & 200
At page 197
855. Grant by William de Percy to Serlo the prior, his brother, and the monks of Whitby of the church of St. Peter and St. Hilda of Whitby with the towns of Whitby, Stainsacre, Newholm and Stakesby, the port of Whitby, Hackness, the church of St. Mary (of Hackness) and the church of St. Peter (of Hackness), Northfield, Suffield, Everley, Broxa and Thirley, and tithe of the hall in Upleatham, Wilton and Seamer, and in 5 places in Lincolnshire; also tithe of fish in Eryholme, and the forest, woodlands and pastures belonging to the church of Whitby. Circa 1090-1096. Chartulary of Whitby.
At page 200
The description of some portions of the founder's endowment, recited in the above charter, is confusing. The description of the "lands, possessions, forests, churches, tithes and liberties," which the founder and Alan his son gave, before the former took his way to Jerusalem in 1096, and those which their friends and vassals gave, as set forth in the "Memorial", clears up the confusion and gives a clearer description of the hamlets and places which existed circa 1160 in the manors and towns which formed the corpus of the founder's endowment, and of the augmentation thereof made by Alan his son, and William the grandson of the founder (Chartulary of Whitby, I ; Mon. Angl., i, 410 published in 1879 - "Cartularium Abbathiae de Whiteby" Ordinis S. Benedicti fundatae anno MLXXVIII).
The town and sea-port of Whitby (Witebi), "Overbi" and "Nedhrebi" that is Stainsacre (Steinsecher), Thingwall (Thingwala), Larpool Hall (Leirpel), Spital Vale (Helredale), "Gnip" that is Hawsker (Hauchesgard) (Nype Howe is ¾ mile N. E. of Hawsker), Normanby, Fylingdales, and Fyling Thorpe (Fielinga) and Fyling Hall (altera Fielinga), "Bertwait", "Setwait" (possibly near Billery), Sneaton (Snetune), Ugglebarnby (Hugelbardebi), Sowerby (Sourebi) (near Carr Hall), Ruswarp (Risewarp), Newholm (Neuham), Stakesby (Stachesbi), Baldby Fields (Baldebi), The Breck (Breccha), Flowergate, in Whitby (Florum), Dunsley, the hermitages of Eskdale (Eschedale) and Mulgrave (Mulegrif), the forests which belong to the church of Whitby, the church of St. Mary of the same town with six chapels (Fylingdales, Hawsker, Sneaton, Ugglebarnby, Dunsley and Aislaby) and their belongings, Hagg Mill (Aggemilne) now called Rigg Mill, Cock Mill (Kocchemilne), the mill of Ruswarp, the New Mill, the mill of Fyling (perhaps Bag Mill) the town of Hackness and the two mills and the church of St. Mary of the same town, the church of St. Peter, where our monks served God, died and were buried, High Dales and Low Dales (Dales), Everley, Broxa (Brochesei), Northfield without Danegeld, Silpho (Silfhou), all "Gaitelei" (perhaps between Thirley and Northfield), and the vaccaries of Stoupe and Thirley (Thornleia), Casebeck (Kesebec) and Billery (Bilroche rectius Bilrode); in Upleatham (Uplium) two-thirds of the tithe of grain from the demesne and from Wilton, Seamer and Nafferton, in Lindsey (co. Lincoln) likewise from Immingham, Somerby (Sumerledebi), Stainton -le- Vale, Kirmond-le-Mire (Caprimonte), Ludford, Elkington, Grainthorpe (Saletorp, sic), Covenham and Owmby with Searby (D'Autnebi); half the fishery of Eryholme (Hergum).
The dialect which is here set down is that spoken by agriculturists and their labourers on the Wolds and in the Dales of North-Eastern and Eastern Yorkshire. The district where I have heard the dialect lies within the triangular strip between Whitby, Pickering and Filey. Most of my dialect comes from the neighbourhood of Hackness, a small village on the upper reaches of the Derwent, six miles from Scarborough, and agrees, as far as my ear is a judge, with that which I have heard in Staintondale, Fylingdales, Goathland, and Brompton. The fact that this dialect is widespread proves that we have a genuine dialect to consider, and not a local patois … The basis of the dialect is Old English with a strong blend of Scandinavian words …
The bulk of its vocabulary is English, and many words which the literary language has forgotten still live on. In literary English, the Old English word mōd (mind) has become 'mood'; a similar change in meaning has taken place in the dialect in the synonym hycge, which remains as hig, meaning 'sulks', bad temper. Contrarywise, the dialect has preserved the meaning of rig (O.E. hrycg), our 'ridge,' as back - probably because of the influence of the Scandinavian form hryggr …
The Scandinavian element is somewhat difficult to distinguish. When the Danes settled in the -bys and -thorpes of East Yorkshire at the end of the ninth century, they found a speech in the Anglian -tons and -hams which differed but little from their own. It is certain that neither race had much difficulty in understanding the other. An enormous number of words were practically identical, and their idiom and syntax were very much alike. Words differed where Scandinavian had ei and au, corresponding to the English long ā and ēā - O.E. stān against steinn (stone); O.E. lēās against lauss (loose) - or where Scandinavian had th where English had d, as in swarth for sward, or a stopped (hard) g where English bad a spirant (soft) g, as in drag for draw, egg for ey, give for yive; or sk against English sc, as in harsk for harsh, skuttle for shuttle; or a stopped (hard) k instead of a spirant (palatal) c as in kirk for church. Practically the only certain signs of Scandinavian origin in the dialect are the ou (from an earlier au) in loup (leap), lous (loose), etc., and the th in words like garth (yard), swarth (sward).
But though not always apparent, Scandinavian exerted an influence in keeping alive English words; dale and bairn for example might have been ousted by the French valley, and infant or at least by the English child, had not the Scandinavian cognate and similar words given new life to them in the North of England. The Scandinavian pronunciation superseded the English in word-pairs such as snile snail, give yive, slike such, get yete, skrike shriek, gaum yeme. Doubtless both forms existed side by side for generations, and who shall say what subtle choosing preferred the form now in use in the dialect ? Sometimes the English word remains, but with its meaning altered by the corresponding Scandinavian word. The word gift, for instance, as Professor Jespersen points out ("Growth and Structure of the English Language" at page 69) meant a marriage settlement, or a wedding, in Old English; its present meaning, "something given" is due to Scandinavian influence. Plōh in Old English meant a measure of land, as the name of an implement pleäf corresponds to the Old Icelandic plōgr. Bread was a fragment, dream was joy in Old English, their present meaning is Scandinavian.
The Norsemen appear to have practised agriculture in North East Yorkshire. A great number of nouns denoting objects connected with the farm are Scandinavian, such as the following names of implements: hesp (a fastening), heck (a, hayrack), skuttle and skep (trenchers), poke (sack), stang (shaft), and perhaps wagon too, stee (a ladder); and names of outhouses such as lathe (a barn), and dairy, with its sile for filtering milk, and ken for churning its cream. Connected with sheep-breeding are gavelock (bar used in making folds), gimmer and hog, rig-welted (lying on the back of a sheep), and clip (to shear); relating to tillage are mig (manure), skuffle (to harrow); and the plant names, awn (of barley) and kale. From the Scandinavian, too, come gilt (a sow), whye (a heifer), gelding, and steg (a gander). The Danes have left their mark too on the place-names of East Yorkshire, slack (valley), swang, ing (meadow), keld (spring), beck (brook), how (hill), foss (waterfall), are Scandinavian words, and will last longer than the rest of the Scandinavian element, for literary English is driving unwritten provincialisms out of the field …
French and Latin words in English owe their introduction to educated people, and dialect is the speech of the uneducated.
The Scandinavian Element by Eilert Ekwall
The Scandinavians in England
THE Danish attacks on the coasts of England commenced in earnest about 82o. About the middle of the century the Danes began to winter in England. After some years of raiding, during which the enemy wintered now in Kent (851), now in East Anglia (866), now in Mercia (868), now in Northumbria (869), systematic settlements began to be made. In 876 Healfdene (Halfdan), the leader of the Danish army, 'dealt out the lands of Northumbria, and they began to plough and till them'. Next year a settlement was effected in Mercia, doubtless in the district later dependent on the Five Boroughs. In 88o the army settled in East Anglia and divided the land among themselves. The extent of the original settlements is not known. Some of the territory occupied seems to have reverted shortly to English authority. The boundary between the Danes of East Anglia and the English, fixed by Alfred and Guthrum's Peace, which was concluded in 886, was to follow the Thames, the Lea to its source, a straight line from that point to Bedford, and then the Ouse as far as Watling Street.
The reconquest of the Danelaw really began with the Peace of 886. A large part of Essex was retaken in 913. The East Anglians followed three or four years later - the exact dates of the reconquest of the various districts are, of course, somewhat uncertain. The whole of Mercia was in English possession in 919. After that date it is hardly to be supposed that any fresh Scandinavian settlements were made south of the Humber. The bulk of the Scandinavian place-names in these districts must have been given by the Danes who settled between 877 and 919, and their descendants.
The kingdom of York, which may be supposed to have embraced Yorkshire, and parts of the adjoining districts, remained independent much longer. The men of York submitted to Æthelfled in 919, but on her death in the same year they may have regained their independence. In 924 the men of Northumbria, English, Danish and Norwegians alike, made submission to Edward. In the following years the Scandinavians of Northumbria were now independent, now under the English crown, till at last in 954 they finally drove out their Norse king and submitted to Eadred. During its spells of independence York was in close connection with the Viking kingdom of Dublin.
Probably somewhat later, from about 900 onwards, a Scandinavian immigration took place on the west coast, in Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, and Cheshire. The information to be obtained from early sources with reference to this immigration is scanty, but there is good reason to suppose that the settlers in these parts were chiefly Norwegians, who came over from older colonies in Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Hebrides. It is known that there was an intimate connection between the kingdom of York and the Norse kingdom of Dublin before and after the year 900. It is possible that the Norwegian immigration on the west coast was to some extent due to it.
The later Scandinavian raids and conquests were hardly of much importance from our point of view, and may be disregarded.
The information to be gleaned from early sources on the Scandinavian settlements in Britain is insufficient to enable us to form an opinion on the nature of the settlements, their geographical extent, the approximate proportion of Scandinavians to the English in the various districts, and the like. Scholars have endeavoured to throw light on these questions by various means. Archaeology and anthropology have been called to their assistance. It has been shown that in certain districts a Scandinavian territorial division has replaced the old English; that a fresh system of land measurement was introduced; that early records tell us about a new social system; that Scandinavian judicial customs have taken the place of the earlier English; that a Scandinavian coinage (mark, ore) was introduced. The remarkable number of small freeholders and free peasants in Danelaw districts, in contrast to the rest of England, has justly been attributed to the Scandinavian conquest. Last, not least, the evidence of place‑names has been adduced.
The importance of place-names for the question under discussion was apparently first recognised or at least demonstrated by the Danish scholar, Worsaae, in his book Minder om de danske og nordmeendene i England, Skotland og Wales, Copenhagen, 1851 (English translation, 1852). Later works that make use of this kind of evidence are Taylor, Words and Places, 1864, and Names and their Histories, 1896; Steenstrup, Normannerne, Copenhagen, 1876-82; Alexander Bugge, Vikingerne, 1904-6; Collingwood, Scandinavian Britain, 1908; Mawer, The Vikings, 1913. Of works dealing with separate districts may be mentioned especially Robert Ferguson, The Northmen in Cumberland and Westmorland, 1856, and Streatfeild, Lincolnshire and the Danes, 1884.
A special work devoted to Scandinavian place-names in England is being published by Dr Harald Lindkvist, of whose Middle English Place-Names of Scandinavian origin the first part was published at Uppsala in 1912. This is an important and scholarly work, but the point of view from which the place-names are dealt with is mainly linguistic. The bulk of the volume treats of Scandinavian place-names containing a Scandinavian inflexional form, the diphthongs ei, au, ey, and the vowels á, ý, ó. The introduction, on the other hand, deals fully with questions of a general character, such as the distribution of names. It need hardly be said that Dr Lindkvist's book has been of great help in the writing of the present chapter.
As Professor Mawer, in the second part of the present volume, is going to deal fully with the chief elements in English place-names, including those of Scandinavian origin, only a very brief survey is given here, except in the case of the two most important elements, and a general reference is given to the second part. It has seemed desirable, however, that at least a brief survey of the Scandinavian elements should introduce the present chapter, if for no other reason than to bring home to the reader the very rich and varied character of that element.
Elements found in Scandinavian place-names
The most important Scandinavian word for 'a village' or 'a homestead' found in place-names is by (ODan. by, ON br, býr). Names in -by are found in all the counties where a considerable Scandinavian settlement took place. By is extremely rare as a common noun in English, and there is reason to believe that all or practically all English place-names in -by are Scandinavian in the strictest sense. Apparent exceptions will be discussed infra. By alone is never used as a place-name. The first element is often a personal name; the same is often the case with Swedish names in -by. The theory that the form -by proves Danish origin cannot be upheld. Names in -by are common in the Wirral district, where a Norwegian settlement must be assumed. The DB form -be (-bei), which has been held to reflect the usual Norwegian br, is found also in the eastern districts, and it should be noticed that English y occasionally appears as DB e, ei.
Next in importance is thorp. There was also an OE þorp (þrop), and some names in -thorp are no doubt English, but the great frequency of names in -thorp in the Danelaw as compared with other English counties shows that there the majority of thorpes must be Scandinavian. Danish thorp means 'a hamlet, a daughter settlement from an older village'. This is no doubt the meaning also of the element in Scandinavian place-names in England. That many of the places with names ending in -thorp are of comparatively late origin is suggested by their situation on very low-lying land. The first element is not rarely a Norman name. Particularly significant is the circumstance that in many cases thorpes were named from an adjacent village, evidently the earlier settlement. In Nf we find Burnham and Burnham Thorpe, Saxlingham and Saxlingham Thorpe, Shouldham and Shouldham Thorpe. Similarly, in Sf there are Ixworth and Ixworth Thorpe; in Lei, Barkby and Barkby Thorpe; in Nt, Mattersey and Mattersey Thorpe. The circumstance adduced also explains why Thorp is so common as a place-name without any distinctive addition, and why combinations such as Osmundistone cum Parva Thorpe, Colton cum Thorpe (1316 Feudal Aids) are frequently met with. Colton cum Thorpe is 'the village of Colton with its hamlet (thorpe)'.
Other important Scandinavian elements usual in names of villages or homesteads are rare. OScand. staþir (plural) is common in Icelandic names, while Danish names with this element would seem to belong to an early stratum. Some names found in Norwegian districts in England, as Croxteth, Toxteth (La), may contain this element. Scandinavian names in -heimr probably belong to the time before the Scandinavian settlements, and it is doubtful if the element occurs in England except as a result of Scandinavianisation of English names in -ham. The elements hús and tún are common to English and Scandinavian. The distribution of names such as News(h)am (-husum) rather suggests that they are to no small extent Scandinavian. ODan. -tún is rare in place-names, and names in -tún in Danelaw districts should probably be looked upon as English, even if they have a Scandinavian first element. But in Iceland names in -tún are common, and there is no reason to doubt that the Norwegian settlers in England might have used the element.
Scandinavian elements denoting 'a hut, a shieling' are: booth; lathe, 'a barn'; scale, 'a hut, a shed.' Dialect seat, 'a dwelling, a pasturage', common in names of old shielings, as Swainshead (La), seems to be ON sætr, 'a shieling.' Elements denoting 'a piece of land, 'a pasture', or the like, are: eng, 'meadow'; flat, 'a shot or furlong'; garth, 'an enclosure'; sleet, 'a flat meadow'; thwaite, 'a clearing, a meadow', etc., common especially in the north-west, but by no means rare in Danelaw districts.
Scandinavian elements are particularly common among so-called nature-names, a great many of which, however, have developed into names of villages or homesteads. Words for 'hill, hillock, mountain' are: bank (also 'bank of a river'); breck, 'slope, hill'; fell; how, 'mound, hill, mountain'; hoveth (ON hofuð, ODan. hoved), lit. 'head,' but also 'hill' and promontory'; nab, 'a peak'; lythe, 'a slope'; meol, 'a sand-hill'; rig, 'a ridge'. Of occasional occurrence are ON gnípa, 'a steep hill', as in Knype (We), Knipton (Lei), ON kleif, 'a steep hill', as in Claife (La). Words for 'a promontory': ness, at least partly Scandinavian; odd, as in Greenodd (La). Words for 'island': holme; scar, skerry; ON eyrr, 'a sand-bank', as in Ayre (La). Many names in -ey no doubt contain Scandinavian ey.
Words for 'a valley': gill and its cognate ON geil, 'a narrow ravine'; grain, 'branch of a valley'; scarth, 'a pass'; slack, 'a shallow valley'; wray, 'a corner'. Words denoting 'a forest, wood, grove': with (as in Tockwith (Y)); skew, scough (ON shógr); lund (often changed to -land); storth, 'brushwood'; hagg, wood marked out for felling'. Words for 'moor, heath, marsh': car, 'wet ground'; mire; ON saurr, Danish sør, sor, mud, wet ground' (as in Sowerby); ON heiðr, 'heath' (as in Heith, Heid, early forms of Lincoln Heath).
Words denoting 'a stream, a lake' or the like: ON á, 'river,' as in Greta, Ayton (Y); beck; ON loekr, 'a brook' (perhaps in Leck (La), Leake (Nt)); force; tarn; keld, 'a spring'; wick, 'a bay '; crook, 'a bend'; -min, -myn, as in Airmyn (OScand. mynni, 'mouth of a river').
Words for 'a road, a passage': gate (common in the street-names of many towns); wath, 'a ford'; ON eið, 'unnavigable part of a river' (as in Knaith (L)). Words for landmarks: OScand. hreysi, 'a cairn' (as in Raisbeck (We)); OScand. varði, varða, 'a cairn'; OScand. râ, 'a landmark, a boundary line' (as in Raby); stang,'a pole'.
Names of animals: OScand. geit, 'goat'; griss, 'pig'; hestr, 'horse'; ikorni, 'a squirrel'; maurr, 'ant'; trani, 'a crane'; refr, 'a fox' (as in Reagill (We); ulfr, 'wolf'.
Names of trees and plants: OScand. askr, 'ash-tree'; eik, 'oak'; ling; seave, 'rush'; star, 'sedge'.
Various: OScand. leir, 'clay'; steinn, 'stone'.
Adjectives: OScand. blár, 'dark, blue'; breiðr, 'broad'; forn, 'old'; grár, 'grey'; hár, hör 'high' (as in Hognipp, Hugnype, old forms of High Knipe (We)); lágr, 'low'; skammr, 'short'; rauðr, 'red'; vâtr, 'wet'.
Scandinavian personal names are of course common in place-names. A valuable special work dealing with Scandinavian personal names in England is Bjorkman's Nordische Personennamen in England, Halle, 1910, to which the same author's Zur englischen Namenkunde, Halle, 1912, is in reality a supplement.
Danish and Norse test-words
The majority of the elements enumerated and also of the personal names found in place-names are common to Danish and Norwegian. But some may be looked upon as fairly safe indications of either a Danish or Norwegian provenance as the case may be. thorp is very rare in Norway and Iceland, and a frequent occurrence of names in thorp is a sign of Danish colonisation. böth is a Danish form. So is hulm, a rarer side-form of holm, which is both Danish and Norwegian. toft is rather Danish than Norwegian. Norwegian test-words are breck, buth (ON búð), gill, scale, slack, also ergh (cf. supra, 34). But by, as has already been pointed out, is not a safe criterion. Also thwaite has been held to be a Norwegian test-word. No doubt the element is most common in districts that were probably colonised by Norwegians, but the element was also used in Denmark. The personal names had better be used with some caution, especially as the early Danish personal names have not been collected sufficiently fully.
Pages 34 and 35:
… The Scandinavian settlements in the north of England are to no small extent due to Norwegians who had come over from Celtic lands in the West, Ireland, the Isle of Man, etc., where Norwegian colonies were founded at an early date. Norwegian colonies are found especially in the north-west of England, but to some extent elsewhere. They seem to belong on the whole to the tenth century. The Norwegians in Ireland would be influenced by Celtic language and civilisation. They adopted many Celtic words and names. Some of the latter are well evidenced in Iceland, which was partly colonised by Norwegians from Ireland and the western islands. There is reason to assume that the Norwegians who settled in the north-west of England had been to some extent Celticised, and to them may be ascribed the introduction of many Goidelic names and place-name elements into England.
Of place-name elements introduced in this way the most obvious case is ergh, 'a shieling', from Ir. airghe, Gael. airidh, 'a shieling'. The element is common in Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire - Birker, Mosser, Salter, Winder, etc. (Cu), Docker, Mansergh, Ninezergh, Skelsmergh, etc. (We), Arkholme, Anglezark, Docker, Goosnargh, Grimsargh, Torver, etc. (La), and occurs more rarely in Cheshire (Arrow in Wirral) and Yorkshire (as Battrix, Feizor, Golcar, West Riding; Argam, Arram, Arras, East Riding; Eryholme, North Riding). The distribution of this word and the fact that it is so frequently combined with Scandinavian elements point decisively to introduction through the medium of Scandinavians. Some of the erghs are among Domesday manors. This proves that the element must have been introduced early, no doubt by the original Scandinavian settlers.
Ir. cro, 'a sheepfold', may be the source of Crew, near Bewcastle, and the first element of Crewgarth (Cu). Cross is also a very probable example. It is found in place-names most frequently in the parts of England where Scandinavians are known to have settled, and it is combined chiefly with Scandinavian words. But introduction into Anglo-Saxon direct from Ireland is possible. Ir. cnoc, 'a hillock', seems to be the source of Knock (We) and to occur in some other names.
Finghall (Y) (Finegala DB), if it is correctly identified by A. Bugge (Vikingerne, II, 278) with Fine na n-Gall, 'the district of the Northmen', the name of a district in Ireland, is very interesting, for it must then have been transplanted from Ireland into Yorkshire, very likely by Scandinavians. A somewhat similar example is the name Diuelin-, Dyuelynstanes, which denoted some locality in York (Fountains Cartulary). Diuelin- is apparently the Scandinavian form of Dublin (Dyflinn), or else the OE form of the name (Dyflin).
Numerous Goidelic personal names are evidenced in place-names, many obviously of Scandinavian origin. Examples are: Corc in Corby (Cu), Duban in Dovenby (Cu), Glassan in Glassonby (Cu), Mael Maire in Melmerby (Cu, 2 Y), Maelchon in Melkinthorpe (We), Beccan in Becconsall, Bekansgill (La), Dubgall in Duggleby (Y), Colman in Commondale (Y), Crossan in Corsenside (Nb).
That the Norwegian settlers were to no small extent Celticised is seen from other remarkable facts. The Norwegians in Cumberland to some extent used the Goidelic way of forming patronymics, as is seen by the expression Thorfynn Mac Thore, 'Thorfinn son of Thore', found in an eleventh century charter (Gospatric's charter). They also adopted the Celtic way of forming compounds with the defining element last (cf. p. 27), as shown by certain compound place-names in Cumberland and Westmorland, also, though more rarely, in Lancashire. Examples are: Bek Troyte, later Troutbeck, 'the beck of Troite'; Briggethorfin, 'Thorfinn's bridge'; Brigsteer, 'Styr's bridge'; Setforn, 'Forni's shieling'. Some formations of this kind have a Scandinavian first and a Goidelic second element, as Gillcamban, Setmurthy, Becmelbrid.
It is possible that with the Norwegian immigrants were a number of Irish people, presumably as serfs or servants. But it seems improbable on general grounds that such an element could have been very strong. If there had been a very strong Goidelic admixture in the Scandinavian population we should also expect a considerable number of purely Goidelic names in the north-west. But this is not so. The Goidelic element in the place-nomenclature is bound up in a very marked way with a Scandinavian one. Names such as Ireby, Ireton no doubt point to a certain amount of Irish immigration, but it is by no means certain that these names always mean 'the village of the Irish'. Iri was used as a personal name in Iceland. Also Iri might have been used as a sort of nickname of a Scandinavian who had come from Ireland.
Various types of Scandinavian influence
In trying to draw conclusions from place-names it is of importance to realise clearly that the Scandinavian influence on the English place-nomenclature took various forms, and that the same conclusions should not be drawn from all names revealing such influence. Many place-names can be proved definitely to have been coined by Scandinavians, that is by people speaking a Scandinavian tongue. We may call these Scandinavian names in the strictest sense. They prove a Scandinavian immigration into the district where they occur. Others contain a combination of a Scandinavian and an English element. Most of these may be looked upon as English formations, having been made by English people out of an English and a Scandinavian word. Such names reveal Scandinavian influence, and they often prove a Scandinavian immigration into the district where they are found, but their value as evidence is not nearly as great as that of Scandinavian names in the strictest sense. Thirdly, English names often appear in a Scandinavianised form. This type offers particular interest, and will be fully discussed.
It is not always possible to distinguish neatly between these types. The Scandinavians and English, who lived side by side, spoke languages nearly akin, and many elements are common to both languages. But a close examination shows that in practice the difficulty alluded to is not so frequently met with as might be supposed.
(pages 61 to 64 omitted pro tem …)
… Among Scandinavian names in a stricter sense may also be counted the majority of names containing two Scandinavian elements, even if they contain no unequivocal Scandinavian inflexional form. Also a good many hybrids, which will be noticed further on, may be reckoned among strictly Scandinavian names in so far as they in must have been formed by Scandinavians.
Refashioning of English names by Scandinavians
When Scandinavians settled in an English district, they would to a large exlent adopt names already in use, but in many cases these names contained unfamiliar sounds or combinations of sounds. Sound-substitution would then take place. Sometimes a Scandinavian word would replace an English synonym. Both phenomena are of very frequent occurrence, and a great many apparently hybrid names on closer inspection turn out to be purely English in origin, though more or less Scandinavianised. In a great number of cases such Scandinavian adaptations have ousted the old form. It is obvious that these phenomena testify to a very strong Scandinavian influence.
Substitution of Scandinavian sounds for English ones has often been assumed by previous students. Especially it has frequently been pointed out that sk has often replaced OE sc. The OE sc in most cases passed into sh, a sound unknown to early Scandinavian languages. The sk- found frequently in English place-names must be due to foreign influence, and no doubt we have chiefly to reckon with Scandinavian influence. In some cases sk has no doubt replaced OE sc owing to the inability of Scandinavians to pronounce the sound. A certain case is Skyrack (Y), the name of a wapentake, which represents OE 'oak where the shire moot was held'. Shireoaks occurs elsewhere in England as a place-name, while the word corresponding to OE scir is not found in Scandinavian languages. Moreover, the DB spelling Siraches points distinctly to a form with Sh-, which was thus still in use in the eleventh century.
Another safe case is Scalford (Lei) (Scaldeford DB), clearly 'the shallow ford.' There is no Scandinavian word corresponding to OE sceald. Plausible examples are also the following. Skillington (L) (Scillintune in a charter of circa 1066, Schillintune DB). Some names in skip- seem to contain OE scip, a side form of sceap, 'sheep,' as Skipton (Y) (Scipitone DB, Scipeton Simeon of Durham), still famous for its sheep-markets, Skipwith (Y) (Schipewic DB, but Schipuith in the twelfth century). In neither case is derivation from skip, 'ship', plausible. Skipwith has also had OE wic replaced by Scandinavian viðr, 'forest.' Scopwick (L) is probably a Scandinavianised form of OE sceapwic, 'sheep farm.' Here also the stressed vowel (originally a; cf. Scapeuic DB) seems due to Scandinavian influence. Skiplam (Y) is Shipnum, Scipnum in early sources; it appears to be the dative plural of OE scipen, 'byre'. Skirlaugh (Y) (Scherle, Schires-, Scirelai DB) is no doubt identical with the well-known name Shirley (OE scir, 'bright' and leah, 'clearing'). The form of the second element may be due to the same influence; cf. Braithlagh, an early form of Bradley (We). Matlask (Nf) (Matelasc, -esc DB) may be OE mæðel-asc, 'ash where the moot was held'; cf. OE mæðelstede, 'council-place'.
Germanic g, c were sometimes palatalised in Old English, as in child, yellow. The change was unknown to the old Scandinavian languages. There is some diversity of opinion as to whether palatalisation took place in Northumbrian, but it seems to be getting more and more widely recognised that in most positions palatalisation is a universal English sound-change. At least before e a g was no doubt palatalised all over England. The G- in Gilling (Y) (In Getlingum Bede) is therefore probably due to Scandinavian influence. Keswick (Cu, Nf, Y) is probably identical with Cheswick, Chiswick, from OE cesewic, 'cheese farm'. Kildwick (Y) seems identical with Childwick (Herts). In both cases the k is probably due to Scandinavian adaptation. The names cannot be Scandinavian, and the normal English development ought to have been Cheswick, Childwick.
In Scandinavian languages there was no medial or final d in words except when long (i.e. doubled) or after certain consonants, as l, n. An English d in such a position would be apt to be replaced by a ð or possibly dd or t. An ð has taken the place of OE d in Mythop (La), Meathop (We), from OE midhop, while Midhope, Middop (Y) retain the OE d. Goathland (Y) (Godeland, Gotheland, early twelfth century) is probably an OE Godan land. Goodmanham (Y) (Godmundingaham Bede) appears occasionally in early sources as Guthmunde(s)ham. The form -forth for -ford may at least partly be due to Scandinavian influence. Louth (L), perhaps Hludensis monasterii in Simeon of Durham, is on the river Lud, from which it no doubt took its name. Probably the old name of the stream was identical with Loud (La), and Louth is due to Scandinavianisation, but a definite decision is impossible in the absence of certain OE forms.
In Scandinavian languages w never occurred before u, having been lost early in that position. In the pronunciation of Scandinavians an OE Wulfherestun would therefore necessarily become Ulfer(e)stun. Ulverston (La) probably got its form in such a way.
Substitution of a Scandinavian synonym for an English place-name element is extremely common. The few OE documents preserved from Danelaw districts allow us to prove such substitution in a surprisingly large number of cases.
Scandinavian konungr (kunungr) has replaced OE cyning in Coniscliffe (Du), found as Ciningesclif in ASC, as Cincgesclif, circa 1050. Very likely the same phenomenon has taken place in other names, as in Conishead (La). OE ea, 'river', corresponds to ON á. Eamont (Cu) is æt Eagemotum in ASC. The usual medieval form which has replaced the English name is Amot, and this is ON ámót, 'junction of streams'. Modern Eamont probably goes back to Amot. OE heafod corresponds to ON hofuð, ODan hoved, 'head'. Howden (Y) is found in a document of 959 as Heafuddæne and the like, but in DB as Houeden, Hovedene. It is difficult to see how the change from heafod- to hoved- can be explained unless we assume that the Scandinavian form has replaced the English one.
OE circe has been supplanted by Scandinavian kirk in Peakirk (Nth) (æt Pegecyrcan, KCD 726).
OE stan corresponds to Scandinavian steinn. A great number of names have as first element Stain-, as Stainburn, Stainland, Stainley, Stainton. (cf. Lindkvist, op. cit. 82 ff). Stainburn in Otley appears as Stanburne (printed by Birch as -burhe) in a charter of 972 (BCS 1278) and in DB. Stainley near Ripon is Stanleh in the same OE charter, Stanlege in one of circa 1030 (YC 7), Stanlei in DB. We may further note that Stainland is Stanland in DB, Stainton by Tickhill is Stantone and Staintone, ib. Obviously the names are English, and Stain- is due to Scandinavian influence. It can hardly be doubted that, in general, names in Stain- that have as second element an English word (as Stainfield (L), also Staining (La) are in reality OE names in stan-. So also Rudston (Y) (Rodestan, -stein DB), in which the English form has eventually been victorious, is clearly OE rod-stan, 'rood stone'. The place was named from a monolith near the church.
OE wet, 'wet', seems to have been replaced by OScand. vátr in Watton (Y), which appears in Bede as Ueta dun, but in DB as Wattune. At least an English change of e to a is difficult to account for.
Not quite so clear is the case with Beckwith (Y), which appears in an OE charter of 972 (BCS 1278) as Becwudu. If Bec- is OScand. bekkr, 'brook', the original name was probably Bekkviðr, and OE -wudu shows substitution of the OE word for the Scandinavian one. But Bec- may have some other etymology.
Occasionally an OE word has been supplanted by a synonymous but not etymologically corresponding word. Holbeck (Nt) appears as holan broc in a charter of 956 (YC 2). Badby (Nth) is Baddan byr(i)g five times, Baddan by twice in an original charter of 944 (BCS 792). The original form was evidently Baddanburg. Similar cases are no doubt Naseby (Nth), Quenby (Lei) (Navesberie, Queneberie DB).
Substitution of the same kind has doubtless taken place in many other cases, though it cannot be proved in the absence of OE forms. Thus Eagle (L) (Aclei, Akeley, Aycle DB) may be taken to represent OE Acleah, whose first element was replaced by Scandinavian eik, 'oak'. Braithwell (Y) (Bradeuuelle DB) and Brayton (Y) (Breiðetun, circa 1030) very likely go back to forms with OE brad, 'broad', later replaced by Scandinavian breiðr. OE circe has no doubt sometimes been supplanted by Scandinavian kirk in other names than Peakirk, as in Bradkirk, Kirkham (La). OE east may well have been replaced by Scandinavian aust in some names, such as Owston, Owstwick. Gateforth, though appearing as Gæiteford, circa 1030, is probably an OE gataford, 'goats' ford'. The common -heim for -ham in early sources is no doubt due to Scandinavianisation. OScand. meðal, 'middle', has probably replaced OE middel in some names, as Methley (Y) (Medelai DB), Melton (Y) (Middeltun, Midel-, Medeltone DB), perhaps Methwold (Nf) (Methelwade, Mateluualde DB). Melton (Sf) is actually Middelton, Meðeltone in a charter of 1060 (Thorpe, 590 f). Scandinavian rauðr, 'red', frequently appears combined with clif. As Scandinavian klif is a rare word, it seems plausible that at least in some instances Rawcliffe (Rockliffe, etc.) is a Scandinavianised form of the common Red-, Radcliffe (OE readaclif). Both elements have been Scandinavianised in the thirteenth century form Askebek (communicated by Professor Stenton) for the stream on which Ashbourne (Db) stands.
Anglicisation of Scandinavian names
We may add here a few remarks on the reverse phenomenon, which accounts for a good many apparent hybrids. Sound-substitution no doubt took place to a great extent when the Scandinavian place-nomenclature was assimilated to the English. But this process of assimilation extended over a long period of time, and it is not always easy to distinguish sound-substitution from English sound-development. Moreover these cases offer comparatively small interest, as apparent hybrids have rarely arisen in this way. By way of example we may here mention Ash- for Scandinavian Ask- (in Ashby, from earlier Askeby, etc.), which was later associated with English ash.
Substitution of an English for a synonymous Scandinavian element, on the other hand, has often taken place. Late changes due to popular etymology are not here considered.
Scandinavian aust,'east', has been replaced by east in East Riding, in DB Oustredinc, Estreding. The Kirkstead Cartulary has Oustbec and Estbec as the name of the same brook. No doubt the original name was Austbek. Scandinavian fagr, 'fair', was the original first element of Fairthwaite (La), as shown by forms such as Fauerwayt, Fagherthwayt in early sources. A sound-change of Fagr- to Fair- is not absolutely impossible, but at least it is evident that the name is no hybrid. Very likely the Scandinavian word is the original element of other names in Fair-. An old Scandinavian word for 'four' (ON fiurir, ODan fyuræ or fyræ) was originally the first element of Forehoe Wapentake (Nf), as indicated by the regular spelling Feorhou in DB, later replaced by Fourhow. OE feower does not account well for the old form. The second element of the name is Scandinavian haugr, 'mound'. The name means 'the four mounds'. To OE neowe, 'new', corresponds OScand. nýr. It cannot be doubted that many names such as Newby originally had as first element the Scandinavian word, later refashioned to New-. Newball (L) is identical with the well-known Scandinavian name Nýbøle, later Nibble, Nöbble, etc. The word bøle, 'homestead', is otherwise unknown in England, and a hybrid formed with it and the English new is highly improbable. The earliest known example of the name, Neobole in the Lindsey Survey, which would seem to represent a Scandinavian Nȳubøle (plural), corroborates this. It is possible that early spellings such as Niehusum, Nietona DB, Nehusum 1182-5 (YC 199) for Newsham, Newton (Y), or Nehus, Neus (twelfth century) for Newhouse (L) go back to Scandinavian forms such as Nȳuhūs, the new houses'. Newbigging (Cu), pronounced 'Nibbican', and Nibthwaite (La), apparently from Nýbý-, or Nýbúð-þveit, are perhaps cases in point, but the early spellings have the English form New-.
There are many other cases where similar transformation is plausible, though there are no early forms that can be adduced in corroboration. Thus some names in -burgh, -borough, with a Scandinavian first element, very likely originally contained the Scandinavian borg. A very plausible case is Flamborough (Flaneburg DB). Also Flookborough (La) may be mentioned. Denby (Db, Y), 'the village of the Danes', may well be an adaptation of a Scandinavian Danabýr. But a form Dænir, with i-mutation by the side of Danir, occasionally occurs also in Scandinavian. It is extremely probable that Scandinavian vatn has been replaced in some names of lakes by water. This is particularly plausible in the case of Elterwater (La), which has as first element a Scandinavian genitive form and is a counterpart of Scandinavian Elptarvatn, 'lake of the swan'. Also Windermere, earlier Winandermere, 'the lake of Winand', may well represent a Scandinavian Vinandarvatn.
Sometimes, when we find an English and a Scandinavian element used side by side in a place-name, it is impossible to decide which is the original one. Examples are East Keal, called Estrecale in DB, Oustcal in the Lindsey Survey, Eastburn (Y), called Austburne in DB, later Estbrunne, East Marsh (Y), Austmersk, Oustmersc DB. Hawkshead and Ramshead Bolton-le-Sands (La) appear equally early as Houkeshout, Ramshouth and Haukesheued, Ramesheued; we do not know if OE hēafod or ON hǫfuð is original. OE geard, 'yard', and Scandinavian garth are sometimes found in the same name. In some cases we have to reckon with the possibility that different names were used from the first by the English and Scandinavians in a district. An extremely interesting case is Bleasby (Nt). The modern name, of course, goes back to an OScand. Blesaby. But in the earliest known reference to the place the name appears as Blisetun, Blisemere (charter of 956 in BCS 1029 and 1348). The latter must represent the English forms of the name, used side by side with Blesa- or Blisaby. Birkland (Nt) appears in early sources as Birkelund and Birecwde (communicated by Professor Stenton).
The preceding sections will have shown that hybrids in a real sense are not by any means so common as might have been expected or as, at first glance, they seem to be. But of course hybrids there were and in large numbers. But it should be borne in mind that hybrid names were formed not only by English, but also by Scandinavian speakers. Many hybrids are demonstrably Scandinavian, being formed by Scandinavians from an English (or pre-Scandinavian) and a Scandinavian element.
Here belong first of all names containing a pre-Scandinavian place-name, especially a river-name, inflected in the Scandinavian way. Examples are: Allerdale (Cu), in the earliest form Alnerdall, 'the valley of the Ellen' (in early sources Alne, Alen), Ennerdale (Cu), 'the valley of the Ehen' (in old sources Eghen), Nidderdale, 'the valley of the Nidd', Miterdale (Cu), a place in the valley of the Mite, literally 'the valley of the Mite'. Dunnerdale (La) is probably 'the valley of the Duddon'. In old sources are further found: Alwennerdale (Nb), 'the valley of the Allen', Hwerverdale (Y), 'Wharfedale' (Simeon of Durham), Nidderminne (Y), 'the mouth of the Nidd'.
Unequivocal analogous cases with an English personal name inflected in the Scandinavian way are not on record, but in all probability forms such as Aldulvebi, Adredebi, Bernedebi (for Audleby, Atterby, Barnetby (L), which contain OE Aldwulf, Eadred, Beornnoð, are perfectly on a par with the above-mentioned Salmundebi, etc., and are examples of the ODan. genitive in -a from -ar. No doubt other names in -by with an English personal name as first element may be looked upon as really Scandinavian. Also other names with a pre-Scandinavian place-name as first element may be judged of in the same way, as Airedale, Airmyn (Y), Burscough (La), 'the forest at Burh' etc.
Certain examples of Scandinavian hybrids containing English loan-words of other kinds are the two remarkable Osmotherleys (La, Y). Both have as first element the genitive Asmundar (from Asmundr), the second element being OE hlāw and lēah respectively. These words must have been adopted early by Scandinavians. Windermere may belong to this category. Stixwould (L) is probably a further example. The first element is Scandinavian Stīgr. The form Stix-, in spite of Stigesuuald DB, seems to be due to the Scandinavian genitive Stīgs. The second element is OE wald. Other examples of this type are doubtful. It has been suggested that Hinderwell (Hildrewelle DB) and Ilderton (Nb) (Hildertona, twelfth century) contain Hildar, the genitive of ON Hildr (feminine personal name), but the etymology is not certain. Some names not containing Scandinavian inflexional forms no doubt belong here. Thus the common name Willoughby in some instances probably contains OE welig, 'willow' which would consequently seem to have been adopted early by Scandinavians. But all Willoughbys do not contain the word willow. Some may have as first element a personal name Viglaugr or Vigleikr. There is a Willoughby, possibly one of the Lincolnshire ones, which appears as Willabyg, circa 1066 (Thorpe, 595). Cf. also infra, 81.
Hybrids formed by English people from one English and one Scandinavian element are of course extremely frequent. We may here distinguish, at least theoretically, two categories. Among names of villages and names found in early sources the most common type of hybrid is that containing a Scandinavian personal name combined with an English element, for instance, Grimston, Helhoughton, Kettlestone, Thurgarton (Nf), Claxton, Thurlaston, Thurmaston (Lei), Thurstonfield (Cu), Thursfield (St), from Scandinavian Grímr, Helgi, Ketill, etc., and Engl. tūn, feld. Names of this kind do not occur with the same frequency in the various parts of Scandinavian England. They offer a good deal of interest, as will appear presently. They are analogous to Scandinavian hybrids such as Audleby. They need not indicate that the said Scandinavian personal names had been adopted by English people. As a rule they probably imply that Scandinavians had settled in districts chiefly inhabited by English people. The Scandinavian villages or homesteads were named by English neighbours from Scandinavian owners.
The other type, though a good deal more common, is much less interesting, because it is rare among names of villages, which we may look upon as on the whole the earliest place-names. This type embraces names consisting of a Scandinavian common noun and an English word. Most names of this kind denote minor places, fields, brooks and the like, and they probably arose to a great extent after the Scandinavian languages had ceased to be spoken in England. The words found in such hybrids are mostly such terms as beck, car, booth, thwaite, loft, which were introduced at a comparatively early date into English and became part and parcel of the English vocabulary. Hybrids of this kind, as has been already hinted, have small value as evidence of a Scandinavian settlement. Words such as beck, booth may be supposed to have spread at an early date to districts where Scandinavian settlements were never made. The conclusions as regards the Scandinavian immigration found in the later sections of this article are founded mainly on Scandinavian names in the strictest sense, Scandinavianised English names and hybrids of the type Thurgarton.
The fact that real hybrids, that is such hybrids as are not due to later modification, are rare among names of villages and in general among old names, is important, because it shows that at the time when the village names arose the Scandinavian and the English elements were on the whole kept well apart. There is reason to believe that if a place-name contains an element that may be either English or Scandinavian, as bergh, hus, land, this element is probably English if the other element is English, Scandinavian, if the other element is Scandinavian. We should not take it for granted that such elements (bergh, hus, etc.) are necessarily English when they occur in names of English places.
The following sections will deal chiefly with the distribution of Scandinavian place-names in England. In drawing conclusions from the material, certain broad principles should be borne in mind.
In the period of the Scandinavian invasions place-names were not generally, as now, given deliberately by the inhabitants of the places themselves. They arose spontaneously, unconsciously. They came to be attached to places, so to speak. The name that presented itself most naturally, whether derived from some local characteristic, the owner's name, or some other circumstance, came to be used in referring to the place. At first alternative names might be used - thus Whitby is said to have been once also Prestebi - but one would soon oust the others. The names would be given rather by neighbours than by the inhabitants of places. Place-names thus indicate the predominant nationality of the population of a district. A Scandinavian place-name need not indicate that the place had Scandinavian inhabitants. If a few Scandinavians or Scandinavian families settled in an English district, the probability is that they would leave at most very slight traces on the place-nomenclature. The names of some of them would perhaps be attached to some place-names of English formation. In this way would arise names such as Thurgarton, Kettlestone, mentioned in a preceding paragraph. On the other hand, the occurrence of Scandinavian place-names in the strictest sense, or Scandinavianised names in a district, proves it to have been strongly Scandinavian. We may draw this conclusion even if the majority of place-names are English, for the Scandinavians evidently to a very great extent adopted names already in use. Whether Scandinavian names of the type in question indicate a numerical superiority of Scandinavians may be open to doubt. At least at the time of the earliest settlements the political supremacy might well outweigh a numerical inferiority. But a strong Scandinavian element must have existed where Scandinavian place-names occur. A single Scandinavian place-name indicates a Scandinavian district, not the settlement of an isolated Scandinavian or Scandinavian household. A district in this sense would not of course be tantamount to a large unit, a hundred or the like. A small cluster of homesteads might suffice to give rise to Scandinavian place-names.
Because place-names were in the old days not given deliberately, transference of actual place-names from Scandinavian countries has probably not taken place to any great extent. Of course, similarity of situation might occasionally remind settlers of their old home and cause a place to be named from a Scandinavian homestead or village, but certain cases of such transplantation of Scandinavian names have not yet been pointed out in England.
Editor's note: Romsdal and Raumsdalr could be such an example.
There is a remarkable Old English document which tells us that what has been said in the preceding paragraphs is not mere theoretical speculation, and which shows that a considerable Scandinavian immigration may leave quite slight traces on the place-nomenclature. It is the document printed as No. 1130 in Birch's Cartularium Saxonicum, which dates from about 972-992, and deals with lands acquired by Bishop Æthelwold at the refoundation of Medeshamstede (Peterborough) abbey. It gives considerable numbers of names of men selling parcels of land to the bishop, witnesses to the sales and sureties for a good title. The district of the transaction is north-western Northamptonshire, the neighbourhood of Stamford and Oundle. The persons mentioned are local landowners. Altogether some seventy names are mentioned. Of these twenty-eight are certainly Scandinavian, the rest being English or possibly English. But it is possible that the English personal nomenclature was more varied than the Scandinavian, and what we want really to know is the proportion of persons with English and with Scandinavian names. It is impossible to find this out definitely, because the various persons are only occasionally distinguished by the addition of a title or by-name. We must therefore be content to take each name to represent only one person, unless there is a distinctive addition to show that different persons are meant, as Ulf Eorles sune, Ulf Clacces sune, Grim on Castre, etc. We then get sixty-nine (or, if Bishop Æthelwold, Abbot Ealdulf and Alderman Æthelwine are counted, seventy-two) persons with English, thirty-seven with Scandinavian names. This way of calculation is slightly more to the advantage of the Scandinavian element than the other. People with English and with Scandinavian names are living in the same village. As a rule father and son both have English or Scandinavian names, but there are some exceptions, as Leofsie Yurlaces sune, Æthestan Catlan sune. It is worthy of notice that the Scandinavian way of forming the patronymic, Catlan sune, is used, not the English in -ing.
We may confidently assume that the people with Scandinavian names were on the whole descendants of Scandinavians who had settled in the district about a century earlier. The considerable percentage of Scandinavian names must indicate a Scandinavian immigration of some importance. We might therefore expect to find numerous Scandinavian place-names in this district. That expectation is not fulfilled. The old document mentions a good many villages. All have purely English names, except Anlafestun, which has a Scandinavian first element, and Maxey, whose first element, Maccus, may be an Irish-Scandinavian personal name; Finnesthorpe may, but need not be, Scandinavian. At present very few place-names in the district are Scandinavian. Two or three of the few names in -thorpe, especially Gunthorpe and Apethorpe, seem to be strictly Scandinavian names. Peakirk has been Scandinavianised. Maxey has just been accounted for. In this district, then, the Scandinavian element, though evidently considerable, was not strong enough to affect the place-nomenclature very much.
A comparison may be made with a document of about 1050 (YC), in which the festermen of bishop Ælfric are given. The number of persons enumerated is about seventy-five. Only some eighteen of these seem to have undoubtedly English names. Some nine of the names are corrupt or of doubtful provenance. At least forty-five of the festermen seem to have undoubtedly Scandinavian names. Eight place-names are mentioned. Four of these are English (Cawood (Ca- in Cawood is possibly Scandinavian), Hambleton, Burton, Hillam), two are Scandinavian (Barmby, Kirkby), while Brotherton is a hybrid and Brayton is very likely a Scandinavian adaptation of an OE brãdatûn. The district is that of Snaith and Sherburn-in-Elmet, where Scandinavian and Scandinavianised place-names are numerous, while English names are no doubt in the majority. Here the Scandinavian immigration was strong enough considerably to modify the place-nomenclature.
The remarks made will have shown that the interpretation of the place-name material is a very intricate task. They will also have shown that the absence of Scandinavian place-names in a district need not prove that no Scandinavian immigration took place. It can only tell us that no very great immigration took place.
If Scandinavian settlements were made in a district not at all or only sparsely inhabited before, we may assume that the Scandinavian element in the place-nomenclature would be much stronger than if they were made in districts with a numerous English population. There would be no or few English place-names for the settlers to adopt.
Scandinavian place-names have no doubt to a great extent replaced earlier English ones. But there are very few cases actually recorded. The only really safe instance is Derby, which has taken the place of an earlier NorOworerig. Whitby is said to have been formerly Streoneshalh, but the latter is possibly to be identified with Strensall. Yet there can be no doubt that Whitby had a name before the Scandinavian time, though we do not know what it was. Probable cases of a change of the kind in question are many names such as Crosby, Kirkby, for it is improbable that all places with such names date from the Viking Age.
Distribution of Scandinavian names. Danish names.
There is a priori the probability that Scandinavian place-names in the Danelaw are, on the whole, of Danish extraction. This is corroborated by the large number of thorpes found in most Danelaw counties. Other test-words are of little importance. booth plays an insignificant part in the eastern districts, and hulm is rare.
Danish names form a marked characteristic of the place-nomenclature of Yorkshire, where the first Scandinavian settlements on a large scale were made. These names are found in all parts of the county, and in great numbers in the level districts of the East Riding, which we may suppose the Danes first 'dealt out'. A careful investigation of the Scandinavian element, in comparison with the English element, will give extremely interesting results. But in Yorkshire we have also to reckon with Norwegian names. The Yorkshire names include numbers of strictly Scandinavian names, especially names in -by, many Scandinavianised names, and other names interesting from our point of view.
Durham and Northumberland
From Yorkshire the Danes passed into Durham and Northumberland, but a considerable number of Scandinavian names is found only in the southern part of Durham. Near the Tees are found several names in -by (Aislaby, Killerby, Raby, Selaby, Ulnaby). There are some also in the Wear district (as Ornsby, Raceby, Rumby). The Scandinavian settlements in Durham were not nearly so considerable as those in Yorkshire, but by no means insignificant. But in Northumberland Scandinavian names are relatively few. The majority consist of or contain words adopted early into northern dialects, as Crookham, Kirkhaugh, Toft House, Walker, Haining, Newbiggin. Even Copeland probably represents a common noun, kaupland, 'bought land', used in the dialect. Some contain a Scandinavian personal name, as Dotland, Gunnerton, Ouston. Under the circumstances the probability is that doubtful names should rather be explained as English than as Scandinavian.
It is extremely doubtful to what extent Danes settled in Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire. Here a Norwegian colonisation took place, and the Danish settlements that may have been made in the districts would be merged in Norwegian ones. There is the possibility that the fairly numerous names in -thorpe in the Kendal district of Westmorland owe their origin to Danish settlements, and the same may be true of Homby and Thirnby in north Lancashire, whose first elements point to Danish rather than Norwegian origin. A small Danish colony must have existed near Manchester, on the northern bank of the Mersey, as indicated by the names Flixton and Urmston (Flik, Urm are Danish, not Norwegian), Hulme, Oldham (formerly Aldehulm) in Withington, Levenshulme and one or two others. The colony also embraced the adjoining part of Cheshire, where several Hulmes are to be found. In other parts of Cheshire Danish names are very rare.
The Danes settled in large numbers in parts of the Midlands, the counties of Lincoln, Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Northampton, Rutland, which include the district of the Five Boroughs. In all these Scandinavian names are plentiful. On some of these counties more detailed information will be given in the sequel. In Northamptonshire Scandinavian names are somewhat scattered, but the majority are found in the north-western part, on both sides of Watling Street, where there are several names in -by. Stafford may also be included with this group, though Scandinavian names are few. Hulme, near Stoke-upon-Trent, and Swinscoe may be mentioned. There are also a few names with a Scandinavian word or personal name as first element, as Croxton, Drointon (from Drengetun), Gunston. Warwickshire is also comparatively free from Scandinavian names, but the parts along the border of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire form an exception. Just west of Watling Street are found several typically Scandinavian names, such as Monks Kirby, Rugby, Willoughby, Toft, Wibtoft.
It has already been suggested (p. 56) that the Scandinavians in Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire were chiefly Norwegians, who had migrated from colonies in Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Hebrides. This theory is corroborated by the testimony of place-names. Norse test-words are frequently found in the place-names of these districts, as ON búð (in Bowderdale (Cu), Bouth (La)), gil (common), skáli (as Sosgill (Cu), from Saurescale, Scales (La)), brekka (as Larbrick, Warbreck (La)), slakki, etc. Names in -ergh (cf. supra, 34) are common.
Cumberland and Westmorland
In Cumberland and Westmorland the Scandinavian element in the place-nomenclature is very considerable. The distribution of the Scandinavian element has never been investigated in detail. Norwegian names are to be found all over the districts. The hilly tracts of the Lake District seem to have been first colonised by Scandinavians. Very few old names of English origin are to be found there. Characteristic elements of the district are fell, thwaite, tarn, wray. (Editor's note: the same applies to a large area of North Yorkshire surrounding, and including, Fylingdales.)
In Lancashire Norwegian place-names abound all along the coast. In the narrower northern parts they are frequent all over the district; in the hilly tracts old names are mostly Scandinavian, while in the more low-lying parts village names are on the whole preponderantly English. In the more southern parts Norwegian names are common only along the sea. They are frequent in the Hundreds of Leyland and (the western part of) West Derby, but comparatively rare in those of Blackburn and Salford and the rest of West Derby. They are most common in very low-lying districts, which may be supposed to have been uninhabited before the Viking Age. But they are by no means restricted to such parts. In Amounderness Hundred we notice the interesting fact that several townships have composite names consisting of one Scandinavian and one English name, as Westby with Plumpton, Little Eccleston with Larbrick, Bispham with Norbreck, etc.
A Scandinavian immigration into the Wirral peninsula of Cheshire can be exactly dated. An Irish source tells us that King Ingemund had been expelled from Ireland and eventually had land given to him and his followers by Æthelfled, the Lady of the Mercians, near Castra, i.e. Chester. The event must have taken place immediately after the year 900 or 901. The colony then founded has left its mark in the numerous Scandinavian names in Wirral. There are several bys: Frankby, Greasby, Helsby, Irby, Kirby, Pensby, Raby, Whitby. Thingwall is in the centre of the district, and other Scandinavian names occur, as Meols, Tranmere (ohm Tranemel), Ness, Neston, Storeton, Thurstaston.
From Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire the Norwegians penetrated into the adjoining counties, especially Yorkshire, where they must have been very numerous in the West Riding and the western part of the North Riding. Names in -gill, -scale, -breck are common. There are some erghs, as Battrix, Feizor, Golcar. The extent of the Norwegian colonisation and its relation to the Danish settlements cannot be determined without a special investigation. Also the western parts of Durham and perhaps Northumberland were reached by Norwegian settlers. There are names in -gill at least in Durham, as Snaisgill (olim Snelesgile) near the Tees.
Editor's note: the assertion that Norwegians penetrated into Yorkshire from Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire does not hold true for the North Riding coastal region for the reasons explained below .
Some Norwegian immigration is to be assumed also in the Danelaw proper. This is indicated by names such as Normanby, Normanton, 'the village of the Norwegians', found in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, and Rutland. Such immigration is particularly to be reckoned with in East Yorkshire, where it is easily accounted for by the intimate relations between York and Dublin in the tenth century. Names in -ergh occur here. The elements breck, búð, scale, slack occur occasionally. In Cleveland, near Whitby, was formerly a place The Breck (Brecca DB). On Scorbrough, see supra, 61. Burnolfscales in Guisborough and Raufscales in Kildale are mentioned in the Guisborough Cartulary. Grenesdaleslack in Willerby, Halle-, Refholeslac in Huggate, are in twelfth century documents in YC 1230, 1264. Other examples could be added.
It has been suggested that the Norwegian immigration was on the whole of a peaceful nature, not implying a previous conquest. The fact that Scandinavian names in the western counties are most common in hilly or very low-lying districts, which we may suppose to have been waste land before the Viking Age, may seem to point in this direction. But the general remarks in the earlier paragraphs of this section should render us cautious in drawing such a conclusion. The Scandinavians did not settle exclusively on land before unoccupied, and they formed colonies of their own in old English districts. The name Thingwall (near West Derby) tells us of a Scandinavian colony in the Liverpool district with a thing-place of its own. Amounderness Hundred was named from a Scandinavian chieftain. The statement of the Irish chronicle about the Scandinavian settlement in the Wirral district, according to which Ingemund had land given to him by Æthelfled, is not sufficient proof of a peaceful settlement, for the chronicle goes on to say that Ingemund shortly turned his weapons against his benefactress and began to besiege Chester.
A few notes may be added on the Scandinavian names in Wales and on the islands off the south coast of England. It is impossible to determine to what extent such names may be due to Danes or to Norwegians. Scandinavian names of islands, skerries, and headlands are particularly common. Anglesea and Priestholm in North Wales seem to be Scandinavian, and the same may be true of Orme's Head in north and Worms Head in South Wales. Several islands off the Pembroke coast have Scandinavian names: Gateholm, Grassholm (olim Gresholm), Ramsey, Skokholm (Stokholm, Scokholm, thirteenth century, very likely originally Stokkholmr), Skomer (olim Skalmey). Midland Isle was formerly Middleholm. Two skerries in St Bride's bay are called Black and Green Scar. An island Trellesholme is mentioned in 1327. A headland on the mainland is called Nab Head (cf. ON nabbr, nabbi, 'point'), and a bay at Milford Haven is Angle (perhaps ON ongull, 'hook'). In Glamorgan we find Sker Point (olim Sker) and Tusker Rock (apparently Thurse scar). Blakescerre and the like in old sources may refer to one of these. Finally two islands in the Bristol Channel, now reckoned with Somerset, Flatholme and Steepholme, are to be mentioned. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the date 918 tells us that Danish vikings occupied Steepholme for a time.
Names like these do not, on the whole, owe their origin to Scandinavian settlements. They show us a Scandinavian influence of a new kind. They are to be looked upon as sailors' names. Islands, headlands and the like were important landmarks and would often be used as temporary shelter. It is no wonder that the Scandinavian vikings gave names early to such. But what is very interesting is that such names were so frequently adopted and have been preserved to the present day. It is quite possible that Alexander Bugge is right in his conjecture (Vikingerne, II, 334 f.) that the Scandinavians who gave these names were rather traders than vikings.
But Scandinavian settlements were to some extent founded also in Wales. It is very difficult, however, to distinguish Scandinavian from English names. In Pembroke Fishguard (Scand. fiskigarer) and Freysthrop look Scandinavian. In Glamorgan Scandinavian names are well evidenced. Swansea (Sweynesse 1153-83, Sweinesei 1210) seems to be Sveins ey. Laleston, formerly Lageleston, contains the nickname Lageles, which is ultimately Scand. loglauss, 'lawless'. Crokeston was formerly near Laleston. But Scandinavian names are best evidenced in the Cardiff district. A street in Cardiff is called Womanby, formerly Hundemanby. Near the town are Homri, formerly Hornby, and Lamby, formerly Langby; the latter, it is true, is in Monmouthshire, just over the border. There must have been a Scandinavian colony of some importance in the Cardiff district. From this Scandinavians seem to have penetrated some way inland, as indicated by three place-names in Herefordshire: Arkstone, Swanston, Thruxton.
It is interesting to find at least two place-names in the Isle of Wight with Scandinavian personal names as first elements: Brenson (Brandestone DB) and Swainston.
The preceding survey has necessarily been of the briefest. In a careful and detailed study of the Scandinavian place-names of the various districts it will be necessary to establish the distribution of names in detail. Such an investigation will indicate to what extent Scandinavians settled in various parts, the nature of the settlement, the relations between Scandinavian and English names and so on. It has been thought advisable in this survey to examine a little more in detail the districts. This will give us an opportunity of touching upon various questions bound up with the main problem and of showing how different Scandinavian influence can be in various districts. It will also give us an opportunity of testing some of the suggestions made in the preceding sections.
Special survey of (a) Norfolk and Suffolk
In Suffolk the Scandinavian element is not very prominent. Scandinavian names in the strictest sense are few. They are to be found mostly in the low-lying districts at the mouth of the Waveney, where there are two names in -by (Ashby, Barnby), Lowestoft, Lound, also some names in -tun with a Scandinavian first element, as Carlton, Flixton, Gunton, Somerleyton. Some examples are found farther inland, along or not far from the Waveney and the Little Ouse: Wilby (somewhat doubtful), Coney Weston (Cunegestuna DB), Thrandeston, Thwaite, Wickham Skeith. Near Bury St Edmunds is Thingoe Hundred, in which is Risby. In the rest of the county there are hardly any Scandinavian names in the strictest sense. Colneis (Hundred) on the coast (in which is a village named Eyke) is perhaps an exception. Some names, such as Flowton, Gosbeck, Kirton, Thurlston, Thurston, which are at least partly Scandinavian, are found here and there, mostly in the coast districts.
In Norfolk the Scandinavian element is much more pronounced, but we can draw a distinction between the hundreds in the east, on the lower Waveney and the Broads, especially Flegg, Loddon, Clavering, Henstead, North and South Erpingham Hundreds, and the rest of the district. In the east names in -by are frequent. There are Filby, Herringby, Mautby, Ormesby, Scratby, Stokesby, Thrigby, Ashby, Billockby, Clippesby, Hemsby, Oby, Rollesby in Flegg; Ashby in Loddon; Aldeby, Kirby in Clavering; Kirby in Henstead; Alby, Colby in South Erpingham. Also other typically Scandinavian names occur, as Crostwick, Crostwight, Felbrigg, Haddiscoe, Repps, Rockland. Hybrids with a Scandinavian personal name as first element are found, but are not characteristic of the place-nomenclature. We may mention: Carleton, Hillington (Helgatun), Skeyton, Thurgarton, Thurlton, Thurton. Scandinavianised names are Keswick, Matlask. In the remaining hundreds names in -by are remarkably scarce. There are Tyby (Eynesford Hundred, and Wilby in Shropham - not a safe instance - the DB) forms are Wilebey, Wilgeby, Willebeith). Other Scandinavian names in the stricter sense are: Guestwick (from -thwaite), perhaps Colkirk, some names of hundreds (on which see infra), and several names in -thorpe, as Alethorpe, Algarsthorpe, Bagthorpe, Besthorpe, Bowthorpe, Flockthorpe, Gasthorpe, Gunthorpe, Ingoldisthorpe, Rainthorpe, Sculthorpe, Swainsthorpe. We may add Boyland (olim -lund), Holme, Rockland, Keswick, Scarning. Hybrids with a Scandinavian personal name as first element are very common, as Aslacton, Carleton, Croxton, Garveston, Grimston, Helhoughton, Kettlestone, Kilverstone, Reymerston, Scoulton, Thuxton.
The lists given are not quite complete, but they embrace the majority of Scandinavian or partly Scandinavian names of villages. They bring out clearly the difference in character between the Scandinavian elements in the east and the rest of the district. The former is characterised by bys, the latter by thorpes and hybrids of the type Thurston. The obvious inference would seem to be that the Scandinavian colonies were founded in the first instance in the tracts on the lower Waveney and that from there settlers found their way up along the rivers. But what we know of the Scandinavian colonisation tells us that this must be a wrong conclusion. The victorious army would not march right through Norfolk and settle on the lower Waveney. More probably the centre of the settlements would be Thetford, where the army had wintered in 870. The explanation of the curious distribution of Scandinavian place-names is probably simply this. The Scandinavians settled about equally thickly all over (or over most of) the district. But in most parts there was a considerable English population, and the Scandinavians were not numerically strong enough to affect the place-nomenclature very seriously except in the very low-lying district on the lower Waveney, which was probably not much inhabited before the Scandinavian time. In most of the districts the Scandinavians to a great extent adopted names already in use, but when new settlements were founded, probably at a somewhat later period, these often got names with suffixed Thorpe. It is possible that the large number of Scandinavian names in the lower Waveney district may to some extent be due to a later influx of Scandinavian settlers, who might have been induced to come over after the conquest had been made by the army. In point of fact it is somewhat difficult to believe that the army can have been numerous enough to account for the very extensive Scandinavian colonisation in England, and a reinforcement by later settlers from Denmark is plausible, but there is no necessity to adduce this explanation in order to account for the place-nomenclature of the Waveney district.
In Suffolk the Scandinavian settlements on a large scale must have been restricted to certain parts, especially the southern bank of the Waveney. Smaller settlements were probably made in various parts. The hundred name Thingoe (with Risby) points to a colony with its separate thing in the district of Bury St Edmunds.
Scandinavian place-names are not very common in the fen districts (Holland), but extremely numerous in the other parts, Kesteven and Lindsey. In some of these parts the Scandinavian element predominates over the English. Most strongly Scandinavian are the Wolds district (inclusive of the adjoining lower land to the east, on the sea, and to the west) from south of Horncastle to the Humber, and south Kesteven; as a third district we may add that on the lower Trent. In other parts the Scandinavian element is less dominant.
The Scandinavian place-nomenclature of Lincolnshire is characterised by the remarkable number of names in -by and the rare occurrence of hybrids. There are a good many names in -thorpe, mostly with a Scandinavian first element, but not nearly as many as names in -by. It is noticeable that they are particularly common in the very low-lying coast districts, which indicates that they are on the whole later settlements. The bys are rarely on very low land. Streatfeild's theory that the thorpes were the earlier and more important settlements is not well founded. Some of the thorpes are on very low ground indeed. Scandinavianised names are numerous in Lincolnshire.
In trying to account for the distribution of the Scandinavian names, it will first of all have to be borne in mind that the first settlements would be made by the army in the central parts, for instance Lincoln, from which Roman roads branched out in all directions, and Stamford. The settlements were not founded, as Streatfeild held, by Scandinavians landing on the coast and penetrating inland. The different frequency of Scandinavian names in the various districts is no doubt due to more circumstances than one. Considerations of a military nature would play an important role in the earliest colonisation. It would be desirable that the host could be easily collected and quickly moved from one spot to another. The chief means of communication were the Roman roads, and it is evidently not due to chance that there seems to be a certain connection between Scandinavian place-names and the Roman roads. From Lincoln two roads ran south, Ermine Street to Stamford and Castor, and King Street over Digby and Sleaford to Bourne and Castor. Names in -by are thick on the map, as even a cursory glance will show, along both roads and in the country between them. This is the strongly Scandinavian Kesteven district. North of Lincoln Ermine Street continues to Winteringham, following the eastern side of the Edge, the long narrow ridge east of the Trent. Here names in -by skirt the eastern side of the road, being rarer on the western side, except near the mouth of the Trent. Another road ran from near Lincoln north-east till it joined the road from Horncastle to Caistor and the Humber. This last road followed a ridge of the Wolds. Along these roads the Wolds and the coast districts were easily reached. It should further be borne in mind that large tracts are very low-lying and would be uninhabitable or unattractive. This is the case with the broad Witham valley, which has been completely drained only in recent times, parts of the Ancholme and Trent valleys, and some of the coast districts. The highest parts of the Wolds (above 450 ft.) were for obvious reasons avoided. If we consider these circumstances, the distribution of the Scandinavian names does not offer much that is at all remarkable. Of course, it cannot be expected that settlements would be made with exactly the same thickness everywhere.
It is true the comparatively rare occurrence of Scandinavian names in the Trent valley (except its northernmost part) and the prominence of the Scandinavian element in the Wolds, 'the bleak hills', as Streatfeild terms them, is striking, at least at a first glance. Here it should be remembered that it is by no means self-evident that the Trent valley would be particularly attractive even where it was not liable to floods. The soil seems to be poor in parts of the district. On the other hand, the soil in the Wolds is said to be quite good, and the district might have special attractions, such as large forests with plenty of timber and opportunities for hunting. The relative thickness of the English population would also be of importance. In districts where there was a strong English population, the Scandinavian element would not assert itself in the place-nomenclature so easily as it would in parts sparsely inhabited. Very likely the Wolds were not much inhabited in the pre-Scandinavian time. The extent of the Scandinavian colonisation in the various districts may not have varied quite so much as the place-names seem to indicate.
In Lincolnshire we see the Scandinavian influence at its highest. No doubt Scandinavian names have to a considerable extent displaced Old English ones. The strength of the Scandinavian element is particularly brought out by the proportions between strictly Scandinavian names and hybrids such as Carlton. The latter type is extremely rare. Only a few examples have been met with, as Branston, Carlton, Normanton, Barkston in Kesteven, Carlton in the South Riding, Carlton, Scampton in the West Riding, Croxton in the North Riding. This indicates a strong ascendancy, perhaps even a numerical superiority of the Scandinavian over the English population, at least in parts of the district.
The Scandinavian element is very strong in some parts of Leicestershire, being less prominent in others. Leicester was one of the Danish strongholds, and we might expect to find Scandinavian place-names in greatest frequency in the surrounding district, There are certainly bys and thorpes all round Leicester, but not in very large numbers. The most strongly Scandinavian district is that east and north-east of Leicester, the Wreak valley and the uplands north and especially south of the said river. This is the rich Melton Mowbray district, roughly Framland and East Goscote Wapentakes. The centre of the district would seem to have been Melton Mowbray, in the time of Domesday the head of a large soke. The name Melton itself is a Scandinavianised form of OE Middeltun. The thing-place of Framland is no doubt indicated by the name Great Framlands near Melton Mowbray. In this district the Scandinavian place-nomenclature is of exactly the same nature as in the most Scandinavianised parts of Lincolnshire. Names in -by abound, while thorpes and hybrids of the type Normanton are relatively few. The great number of Scandinavian names is particularly striking because it is obvious that the district, even that of the uplands, must have been thickly populated before the arrival of the Scandinavians, as shown by the numerous English place-names.
In the remaining districts Scandinavian names are more scattered. Evidently the Scandinavian settlements were not so important in them. But a number of names in -by are found clustered in various parts, and there is reason to believe that the Scandinavian colonisation was fairly considerable all over Leicestershire.
In Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire the Scandinavian place-nomenclature is quite different in character from that of Lincoln or Leicester. The characteristic feature of the Scandinavian element is the prevalence of names in -thorpe and hybrids of the type Thurgarton over names in -by. As regards Nottingham, it is first noteworthy that there are few names in -by and strictly Scandinavian names generally in the hundreds east of the Trent on the Lincoln border. Names in -by are most common in Bassetlaw Wapentake, north Nottinghamshire, but the district is large, and the nine bys are scattered in small clusters: Bilby, Barnby and Ranby; Scrooby and Serlby; Budby, Thoresby and Walesby. The Scandinavian settlements would seem to have been made chiefly west of and not very far from the Trent. Inland the number of Scandinavian names decreases.
In Derbyshire the Scandinavian element in the place-nomenclature is still less prominent. A notable exception from the general rule, however, is Repton Hundred, south of the Trent. Here are in a small area three bys (Bretby, Ingleby, Smisby) and the interesting Foremark (earlier Fornwerk, 'the old fort'). The district adjoins Leicestershire; just over the border, in that county, are Appleby, Ashby de la Zouch, Blackfordby, the lost Kilwardby. These bys clearly form a cluster indicating a compact Scandinavian colony. In the rest of Derby hybrids of the type Thurvaston preponderate. In the south-western part, this type seems to be the only one represented in the Scandinavian place-nomenclature.
Evidently the Scandinavian colonisation of Nottingham and Derby cannot have been as considerable as that of Lincolnshire. But, on the other hand, it should not be underrated. Taken together, the names in -by or -thorpe, and other strictly Scandinavian names and Scandinavianised names are not so very few, and they are found with greater or less frequency over these counties. All that can be said with certainty is that the Scandinavian element, in most of the districts, was outnumbered by the English element.
Scandinavian institutions, etc. - Wapentakes, Ridings
The Scandinavians introduced new divisions of land. The old division into hundreds was largely replaced by that into wapentakes, found in Lincoln, Rutland, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, (Northampton - where the double hundred of Nassaburg, Nth, between the Nene at Peterborough and the Welland at Stamford is described as a wapentake at an early date), Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham (Sadberge wapentake in south Durham, often mentioned in early sources), apparently also in Cheshire and Cumberland. The division into Ridings, still in use in Yorkshire, and formerly also in regard to Lindsey, is Scandinavian, as indicated by the name, OScand. firittjungr. The division has counterparts in Scandinavia, the most striking analogy being that of the Island of Gotland, which was formerly divided into three thrithings, each with its thing, a division still in force for ecclesiastical purposes. A division into bierlows or byrlaws instead of townships was used in some parts of the north (Lancashire and Yorkshire); the addition Bierlow found in some names, as Brampton, Ecclesall, Brightside Bierlow, is a memorial of the old division. The source seems most probably to be an old Scandinavian byjarlog, corresponding to Swedish byalag, 'village community'. Also the division of land into carucates instead of into hides may be mentioned here. It is found in Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester, Rutland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, also in Norfolk and Suffolk, and may once have existed elsewhere.
Hundreds and wapentakes frequently have Scandinavian or Scandinavianised names. This is a clear indication of the Scandinavian ascendancy. It is of especial importance that Scandinavian names of hundreds are frequent in Norfolk, where the Scandinavian element in the place-nomenclature is not quite so strong. In Yorkshire several names of wapentakes have names in cross, often with an obvious Scandinavian first element, as Buckrose, Ewcross, Osgoldcross, Staincross, and the lost Sneculfcros (DB). Other Scandinavian names are Hallikeld, Holderness, and Agbrigg. Gilling, Skyrack, Staincliff are at least Scandinavianised. In Lincolnshire, as might have been expected, cases are numerous: Aslacoe, Aswardhurn (Aswardetierne DB, 'the thornbush of Asvarðr), Aveland (Avelunt DB), Calceworth (Calsvad DB, i.e. Kalf's vað), Candleshoe (Calnodeshou DB), Gartree, Haverstoe (Hawardeshou DB), Langoe, Lawress (Lagulris DB, Lagolfris Lindsey Survey), Louthesk (at least Scandinavianised, esk seems to be OScand. eski, 'ashtrees') Ness, Skirbeck, Walshcroft (Walescros DB), Wraggoe (Waragehou DB). In Leicestershire we find Framland (Franelund DB). From Northamptonshire may be mentioned Neueslund DB; from Nottinghamshire, Lith, Oswardebec (DB). Norfolk examples are: Forehoe, Gallow, Greenhoe, Grimshoe, Brothercross, Guiltcross, Wayland (Wanelund DB), perhaps Flegg (Flec DB). A certain Suffolk instance is Thingoe (Thingehou DB), and Colneis may be another. From Lancashire may be adduced West Derby, Amounderness, and the old district names Cartmel and Furness.
It is an interesting fact that in many cases the name of a hundred has as first element a personal name found also as part of the name of a place in the hundred. Examples are particularly numerous in Lincoln: Aswardby in Aswardhurn, Calceby in Calceworth, Candlesby in Candleshoe, Hawerby in Haverstoe, Walesby in Walshcroft, Wragby in Wraggoe, perhaps Hawthorpe in Aveland. A possible Yorkshire example is Bugthorpe in Buckrose. In cases like these the same person must have given his name to the village and hundred. The explanation may be, as suggested by Alexander Bugge (Vikingerne,II, 326 ff.), that the thing-place was on the land of the chief of the district. This seems very probable in the case of Calceworth, which was no doubt named from the ford close to Calceby, where we must suppose the thing-place to have been. But the names in -how may well refer to grave-mounds. In Scandinavia it is usual for names of hundreds to have names in -haugr with a personal name as first element, and it is supposed that the mounds were grave-mounds, on which things were held. If this explanation may be applied to the English hundred names in -how, the names are very interesting, because they must go back to a time when the Scandinavians were heathens, that is, to a very early time indeed, Professor Stenton (Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses of Sizle etc., Lincoln Record Soc. XVIII, XXXV.) draws this conclusion from two extremely interesting cases found by him, viz. Leggeshou, a place in Legsby, and Katehou in S. Cadeby. The places were evidently mounds in the territories of the said villages. These mounds did not give name to wapentakes. Another interesting name is Lawress, formerly Lagolfris. The second element is hris, 'brushwood, grove'. The first is evidently a personal name. It is tempting to derive it from an old Scandinavian Lag-Ulfr, analogous to Icelandic names such as Laga-Ulfliótr, Log-Skapti, etc. Well known lawmen, called Ulfliótr, Skapti, were distinguished by the addition of Laga- or Log- to their names.
Old Scandinavian thing-places are often commemorated by place-names. Thingwall (Ch and La) are well-known counterparts of Yingvellir in Iceland and Tingvalla in Sweden. A third Thingwall, near Whitby, is mentioned in old sources (Tingwal, Thingwala, twelfth century). A Scandinavian þinghaugr is the source of Thingoe (Sf) (already mentioned), and of Finney Hill, near Northallerton (Thyngowe, Thynghou in old documents). A Thingou in Frisby (Lei) and Thinghou in L are mentioned in old sources.
Drengs, holds etc
The Scandinavian social system differed in many respects from the Old English one, and many changes were introduced by the Scandinavian settlers. We find the Scandinavian drengs commemorated in place-names such as Drinkstone (Sf), Dringhoe (Y), Drointon (St). A hold was in rank beneath a jarl. Very likely Holderness was named from a hold. The free landholder was a bóndi; this word enters into names such as Bonby (L), Bonbusk (Nt), Bongate (We). A freed man was a leysingr, but as the word was often used as a personal name, we cannot say whether names such as Lazonby mean the homestead of the leysingr' or 'Leysing's homestead'. A serf was called þræll. Many names contain this word, as Threlfall, Trailholme (La), Threlkeld (Cu).
Old manorial records and the like tell us that the Scandinavians introduced new customs of husbandry or at least many new names of old customs. In Lincolnshire, for instance, the nomenclature of the village institutions is largely Scandinavian. The homestead was a toft. The enclosed arable was the wang. A share in the common field is often called a deil (OScand. deill). Stang is often used as a measure of land instead of rood. The meadow is, of course, often eng. An enclosure from the waste is an intake (cf. OScand. inntaka) or in some places an avenam (OScand. afnám). A shot or furlong is sometimes called a flat (ON flotr, etc.) and this element is common in place-names. A full investigation of field-names and the like, especially in those parts of Scandinavian England where names of villages are mostly English, will probably often tell of a strong Scandinavian influence also where there are few Scandinavian names of other kinds. In some parts of the north place-names tell us that the Scandinavians introduced the old Celtic and Scandinavian custom of sending cattle away to shielings in the summer. Names in -ergh, -booth and (some in) -set originally denoted shielings, many of which, however, at an early date developed into separate settlements.
The Scandinavians in England were no doubt converted early to Christianity, and it is no wonder that there are very slight traces in place-names of the ancient Scandinavian religion. Names in Thor-, Thur- have sometimes been held to contain the name of the heathen god Thor but they have undoubtedly the personal name Thor, Thur as first element. Ullock in We, according to Lindkvist, contains the name of the god Ullr. It has been shown, however, that the original form is Ulvelaik, from ON ulfaleikr, 'wolves' play', i.e. 'place where wolves play'. The only plausible examples of place-names containing the names of Scandinavian deities that have so far been adduced are Othenesberg, an earlier name of Roseberry Topping (Y), and Wayland (Nf). The former very likely means 'Othin's hill', but early spellings with Ou- may possibly point to ON Auðunn as first element. Wayland (olim Wanelund) is supposed by Alexander Bugge to have as first element the gen. of ON vanir, the name of a kind of deities. But Wane- may also represent an unrecorded personal name.
But there are possibly other traces of Scandinavian heathendom. On names in -how some remarks have already been offered. Names of wapentakes ending in -lund, as Aveland (L), Framland (Lei), show that things were often held in groves. The reason may very well be that the groves were originally heathen sanctuaries. In old Scandinavia groves were places of divine worship. Also other names in -lund and the names Lound, Lund themselves may in some cases refer to sacred places. The situation of such places may possibly sometimes give a hint as to whether such may be the case. The usual name for a heathen temple in Iceland was hof. It is possible that Hoff (We) took its name from an old hof in this sense.
Here may be mentioned a custom which recent research has shown to have a cultural origin or at any rate to have been connected with a heathen cult, viz. horse-racing. Many places in Sweden have names referring to old horse-races, as Hästeskede, Skee, etc., which contain the OScand. skeið, 'race-course'. It has long been seen that there are similar names in England, viz. Hesketh (L and Y), Hesket (Cu, on the Petterill), Hesket in the Forest (Cu), Hesket Newmarket (Cu), all from OScand. hestaskeiði, 'race-course'. Here no doubt also belong Wickham Skeith (Sf) (south-west of Eye), Brunstock (olim Bruneskayth) near Carlisle, and the lost name Skeyth, which designated a place outside Leicester. Whether the races held at these places had anything to do with a heathen cult or not, they are of Scandinavian origin and testify to the popularity of horse-racing among the Scandinavians in England.
Popular beliefs survived the introduction of Christianity much longer than the heathen gods and their worship. Names containing such words as elf, thurse may date from quite a late period. Names with the word thurse (ON þurs, 'giant') are quite common; the second element is usually a word for ravine or fen. Thrushgill (L) is a case in point. Professor Mawer is inclined to believe that Troughburn (Nb) (Trollop 1352) contains ON troll, 'goblin'. Another example may be Trow Gill near Ingleborough Cave, a remarkable opening in the limestone.
Survival of Scandinavian speech
How long did a Scandinavian language continue to be spoken in England? Any evidence that may throw light on this important question should be carefully collected and sifted. The Scandinavians in England have left very few monuments and inscriptions behind. This is very remarkable in view of the fact that the custom of erecting runic monuments was very prevalent in Scandinavia about the time of the Scandinavian settlements in England. In Man, Scandinavian runic monuments dating from the eleventh century are numerous. One inscription in curious deteriorated Norse, however, is preserved in Lancashire, the well-known Pennington tympanon. It seems to date from the twelfth century. It proves that a Scandinavian language was spoken in Furness at least as late as 1100. The inscriptions on a dial-stone found at Skelton in Cleveland (date eleventh century) and on a stone in Thornaby-on-Tees church (from about 1100) are badly mutilated and do not tell us much about the Scandinavian dialect in north Yorkshire, but they seem at least to point to a late survival of the Scandinavian language in these districts. Also a Scandinavian inscription on the wall of Carlisle cathedral, dating, it is said, from the twelfth century, is preserved.
Place-names may tell us something of value when the material has been fully collected. Here only a few scattered notes can be given.
It is a remarkable fact that in Cumberland, especially in the Carlisle district, there are a number of names in -by with a Flemish or Norman personal name as first element, as Allonby, Aglionby, Lamonby, Rickerby, 'the by of Alein, Aguillon, Lambin, Richard'. These names arose as a consequence of the Flemish settlements in the time of William Rufus, after the conquest in 1092. These names cannot have been coined by Flemings or Normans, as Lindkvist thinks. Even if there are some names in -by in Normandy, the word by had doubtless gone out of use among the Normans long before the Norman Conquest. The names were not given by the Flemish or Norman settlers, but by the earlier inhabitants of the district. They show that by was still a living place-name element, and this seems tantamount to saying that Scandinavian was still spoken round Carlisle about 1100. The Scandinavian runic inscription at Carlisle tells us that there is no improbability in this theory. The same is the explanation of the names Halnaby and Jolby in north Yorkshire, if they are really so late as has been recently suggested by Col. Parker (Yorkshire Archaeol. Soc. Record Series, LXII Introduction). Jolby, of course, has as first element the Norman name Johel, and cannot be earlier than about 1100. There is no reason to believe that the names arose much later than about 1100. Jolby must have been in existence about 1170 at the latest. Halnaby was certainly not named from the Halnath de Halnaby, who flourished about 1200. Acharius de Halnaby, who is often mentioned in early sources, must have belonged to an earlier generation, and have flourished about 1175. In the early part of the twelfth century a Scandinavian language may well have been spoken in some outlying parts of Yorkshire.
Certain sound-developments found in place-names point to a somewhat advanced stage of the Scandinavian language in England. The changes of eo to yo and ea to ya to be seen in York (from Eoforwic) and Yatstainswad from Eadstan-, found in a twelfth century text, seem to be comparatively late. The curious sound-substitutions to be observed in Shunner Howe, Shawm Rigg (Cleveland district) presuppose a late Scandinavian change. Shunner Howe (from OScand. Siónarhaugr) is Senerhou in early documents, later Shunnerhow. The latter form cannot have developed from Senerhou; the only possibility seems to be that it represents a later loan, after Scand. Sio- had become Sjo-, for which English Sho- was substituted. Shawm Rigg is in an early source Halmerig. It seems to be an OScand. Hjalmhryggr. Here Sh- was substituted for Hj- just as it was in Shetland for earlier Hjaltland. We cannot date these Scandinavian sound-changes, but they presuppose a development of the Scandinavian language in England.
The curious phenomenon found in Norwegian dialects, which consists in the assimilation of a stressed vowel to the unstressed vowel of the next syllable (as vuku from viku), seems to occur in English place-names. Tarlscough, Tarlton (L), Tharlesthorpe (Y) contain the form Tharaldr from earlier Thoraldr. In Norway the form Tharald has not been evidenced earlier than about 1400. Of course it must be earlier, as it is found in England from about 1188, but it cannot be of very old date.
Alexander Bugge, Norse Settlements, p. 14, has pointed out the remarkable phrase oust in wra found in a Lincolnshire charter of the time of Henry II. The phrase is slightly Anglicised from Scand. aust í vrá. Two very similar cases are found in the Bridlington Chartulary, viz. Bartholomew Suth in by (Speeton (Y)) and Robert de Suthiby (Edenham (L)). Suth in by is an Anglicised form of Scand. suðr í bý, 'south in the village', and de Suthiby preserves the original form still better, except that the prep. de has been added. Such survivals suggest that a living Scandinavian language had been in use at a not very remote period.
By Lewis Spence
Mr. E. L. Guilford, in a lecture the other day, suggested that there was no concrete evidence to support the legends of Robin Hood "probably only a robber in Sherwood Forest, about whom the deeds of others centred."
The adventures of bold Robin Hood and his merry men are by no means confined to Sherwood, nor are they even limited to English soil. It would indeed have been strange had the traditions of a figure of such outstanding mediaeval popularity failed to overflow into the neighbouring shire of York, when Northumbrian lore is full of his legends, and Scotland can boast of as many tales and ballads concerning him as of its own William Wallace, and can point to at least two localities as the grave of one of his followers.
The odd thing is that while notices of Robin Hood's appearances in Yorkshire are of comparatively late origin, those relating to his activities in North Britain are to be found among the early passages of Scottish literature. But as we shall see, good reasons exist for such a condition of things, and it is not at all necessary to invent a Scottish exile for the romantic outlaw, even though his "game and play" was so popular at Edinburgh as to cause the most serious annoyance to the Reformers so late as 1565.
Evidence in 1779
It is Charlton in his "History of Whitby and Whitby Abbey", published at York in 1779, who affords us the best modern view of the movements of Robin Hood in Yorkshire. He tells us that in the latter years of the twelfth century Robin "resided generally in Nottinghamshire or the southern parts of Yorkshire". But his robberies became so flagrant and the popular outcry against him so loud that the whole nation grew alarmed at last, and troops were despatched from London to apprehend him.
Unable to cope with the royal forces, the outlaw effected a retreat northward, crossing the moors which surrounded Whitby and gaining the sea-coast, where he provided himself with a number of small fishing vessels by which he could make his escape if necessary. The place where his boats were kept in residence was the spot still known as Robin Hood's Bay, in the waters of which he and his men indulged in fishing. In the neighbourhood he set up butts or marks, where his band practised archery, so that they might not grow rusty in the use of the long bow. But, adds Charlton, the site commonly attributed to these butts, when excavated in 1771, was found to have been a pagan burial-place, although it seems probable that Robin used the low tumuli which covered the graves as suitable eminences on which to place targets.
Stretching a Long Bow
It is in another "History of Whitby", that by the Rev. George Young, published in 1817, that a deed of superhuman might is attributed to this bandit as a part of local tradition. We are informed that Robin and his trusty henchman Little John went to dine with one of the abbots of Whitby, and being desired by the prelate to try how far each of them could shoot an arrow, they loosed their shafts from the top of the abbey. The arrows fell on the west side of Whitby Lathes, "beside the lane leading from thence to Stainsacre, that of Robin Hood falling on the north side of the lane, and that of Little John about a hundred feet farther on the south side of the lane."
In the spot where Robin's arrow is said to have lighted stands a stone pillar about a foot square and 4 feet high; and a similar pillar 24 feet high marks the place where John's arrow fell. The fields on the one side are called Robin Hood Closes, and those on the other Little John Closes.
Tradition inevitably describes Robin Hood as "Earl of Huntingdon". But the researches of Gough at the end of the eighteenth century made it clear that his earldom had a popular sanction only, and indeed was nothing more than a nickname. The period of Robin's supposed career is generally fixed as between the years 1160 and 1247, during which time Malcolm IV, William the Lyon, and Alexander II, kings of Scotland, were undoubted holders of the title successively. As is well known, David I of Scotland became Earl of Huntingdon in right of his wife Matilda, the widow of Simon de St. Liz Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon, and in 1127 did homage to Henry I of England in respect of this title. This, of course, accounts for the great popularity of Robin Hood in Scotland, where his legend was probably introduced by Scots who had heard it at Huntingdon.
But it is much more interesting to probe into the distant and possibly mythological origin of the famous forester than to speculate as to his nobility or lack of the same. Accurate historical notices of him are entirely wanting, and although it is not unlikely that the traditions respecting him may have become confused with the adventures of a veritable bandit who, with his followers, infested Sherwood Forest, many of the circumstances associated with them seem to point to a mythical origin for this romantic figure.
In the first place his name is not a little suspect. Though usually spelt as "Hood", "Hude", or even "Whood", it is more rarely found as "Ood" and "Ooth". Now this may be only the old English "wod" or "wood", meaning "wild" and indeed Robin is surnamed "wild" by at least one ancient Scottish poet, while another alludes to him as "waith", that is "wild" or "wandering".
But it seems more probable to the writer that the name, especially in its forms of Ooth and Whood, has reference to Odin Odhin, or Othin, the Allfather of Norse mythology the Anglo-Saxon form of whose name was Woden, and who was originally the wind which bloweth where it lists. For Woden was the old wind-god, associated in later legend with the wild huntsman, and from him the royal Saxon houses of Deira and Bernicia claimed descent, and Deira as everybody knows, was a territory practically co-extensive with Yorkshire.
Moreover, Odin was known to the later witchcraft of the northern counties as Hudikin, the prophetic familiar spirit. What more probable than that the cult and worship of the ancient god of the Angles and Danes of the North was, on the adoption of Christianity, forced to take refuge in the recesses of Sherwood, where legends of the deeds of its principal figures would remain for generations?
There is traditional evidence, too, that Robin, and his men were not regarded as persons of mortal bulk. Hector Boece, describing the grave of Little John "in Murray Land" says that he was fourteen feet in height and the limbs of his body in due proportion. Indeed the old chronicler claimed to have examined his haunch-bone, in the "mouth" of which, he says, he was able to place one of his arms!
Will Scarlet may, indeed, be a modern form of the name of Odin's brother Vill, and "Maid Marian" a corruption of Mardoll, one of the ancient names of Freya, his wife, while Allan-a-Dale might be equated with Ullr, the famous archer-god, who dwelt in the yew-forests, whence he procured the wood for his bows, and who took Odin's place when absent. In the course of ages the Norse pantheon, imprisoned in the green shadows of Sherwood, would emerge in the popular fancy as mere "foresters." beneficent to the descendants of those who had worshipped them, terrible to the Norman supplanters of their faith.
But one must not wander too far upon the sands of surmise, and this provisional reading or an ancient story clamours for the aid of further faithful research. The hypothesis, however, is given here for what it, is worth, and local examination of records and place-names may effect much in its favour, or assist in its demolition.
The Yorkshire Post, Wednesday 24 January 1934
The Robin Hood Tradition
Further Speculations on its Origin
Sir, Mr. Lewis Spence's article in "The Yorkshire Post" of January 16 is of exceptional interest to students of local history and folklore. In it he suggests that the origin of the Robin Hood tradition is mythological and connected with the Norse religion which, as Yorkshire place-names show, flooded the county until Christian times, and in which Odin was the chief divinity. He puts his suggestions no higher than conjecture and as subject to correction, but they appear reasonable, and the following remarks, which also are offered tentatively, may help to support them and to explain the name of the town from which I write.
First, Yorkshire place-names testify to the wide diffusion in the county of the Scandinavian religion and the names of the gods of its pantheon. Wensleydale is Wotan's Dale, and appropriately contains Asgard (now Aysgarth), the Norse equivalent to the garden of Eden. Thor left his name at Thirsk, Thoralby, Thurstonland, and Thurgoland; Freia had her shrines at Fryston, Fridaythorpe and Frizinghall, each of these places having been a primitive religious centre. But the chief god Odin or Wotan, who, in Mr. Spence's submission, became anthropomorphised into Robin Hood, seems also to have provided Huddersfield with its name. Huddersfield is pretty certainly Hood's or Odin's field, and in local speech is still called "Hoodersfeld" or "Uthersfeld." Domesday Book gives it as Odersfeld Oder being a form of both Odin and Uther (who, by the way, was the demigod father of another legendary hero, King Arthur, or Ar-Thor); its site is usually regarded as having once been the property of a primitive landowner named Oder, whereas more probably it was the "field" (district or parish) of Odin worship; no doubt, too an important centre, since near the town are also found Woodsome (Hood's home), Woodhouse (Hood nawse, or ridge), and Woodhead (Hood's hill or headland), whilst Robin Hood's reputed grave is at Kirklees, near Mirfield, where once stood a Christian monastic house and probably a pagan altar before that. The Yorkshire tongue has twisted "hood" into "wood" as it converts "home" into "whom". And the Huddersfield district seems to be in respect of place-names more redolent of Robin Hood and Odinism than the Sherwood Forest, with which Robin is popularly associated.
The name Odin takes many other forms than Hood; it links up with the Irish "Aodh", the Hebrew letter "Yod" and the English "God" and even "Buddha" is an Eastern variant of Wotan; thus pointing to some primeval root-name for Deity which has undergone numerous local modifications. From Odin we also get the word "odd" as applied to a person who holds unusual views, and which was formerly "wood". "He is wood" occurs in Shakespeare, and means mad, fanatical; but earlier still it probably meant an Odin-worshipper, or as one might say, in the dialect, a "Hoodersfielder".
The Arthurian Legend
Next we have to account (as Mr. Spence partially does) for Odin worship becoming reduced and travestied into the legend of Robin Hood and his bandits. This is not difficult when we recall the parallel Arthurian legend, which is recognised as a solar myth re-expressed in terms of Christian chivalry. King Arthur and his knights impersonate a divine ruler and his officers governing the world (or round table). Similarly the legend of Robin Hood is myth expressed in terms of forestry and one appropriate to an uncivilised age when England was so densely wooded that, as Macaulay said, a monkey, swinging from tree to tree, might have travelled from Newcastle to London without touching ground.
Robin Hood was Odin writ small and personalised; his "merry men" correspond with Arthur's knights; they went about protecting the forest tribes from wild beasts, keeping the peace and redressing human ills. Later, in time, as the land became civilised, their beneficent activities became satirised as banditry and, with changes in religion, the old gods and saviours were regarded as reprobates and outlaws. In all religions one finds a chief god or demigod with a bevy of subordinates who execute his orders; even Christianity has its central Master and twelve apostles; so that, here again, we trace a common root idea underlying all religions, the more advanced ones taking over and reproducing the. main features of the earlier. One may go farther and suggest that in Little John, Robin Hood's favourite comrade, there is a possible equating with John, the "beloved disciple"; whilst pretty certainly Maid Marian is to be identified (like the Irish Brigit) with the Virgin Mary. Close to Robin Hood's reputed grave is Mirfield, which may be Mary's field, just as Prizinghall is "Frela's Ing" (or field), one of Freia's other names having been Mardoll.
Finally, Robin Hood's traditional feats of archery may well be due to the literalising of a religious idea. Divine influences, like the solar rays, are always found symbolised by arrows shot by the Sun-god (Ra or Apollo); even the Hebrew Psalmist praying for deliverance from his enemies uses the phrase "Shoot out thine arrows and destroy them". So when we find stones (as at Whitby, Kirklees, and elsewhere) indicating the places where Robin Hood's and Little John's arrows fell, we may reasonably infer them as marking the site of an ancient religious cult and associate them with such similar stones as the "Devil's Arrows" at Boroughbridge. Once they were pagan religious centres, but upon our country becoming Christianised these old stones came to be regarded as sinister and attributed to ancient powers of evil.
Yours, etc., W. L. Wilmshurst
Gledholt, Huddersfield, January 19.
"The Proportion of Scandinavian Settlers in the Danelaw" by Eilert Ekwall
A great deal has in been written on the Scandinavian settlements England, and their history may nowadays be considered to have been cleared up in its main outlines. For brief accounts of the present stage of research I may refer to my two articles: The Scandinavian Element in Introduction to the Survey of English Place-Names (1924), and especially The Scandinavian Settlement in Historical Geography of England before 1800 (Cambridge, 1936). But important questions still remain unanswered, particularly those dealing with the relative numbers of the Scandinavian settlers and the nature of the settlements.
It has sometimes been asserted that the Scandinavian settlers cannot have been so very numerous, and that they were assimilated at an early date to the native English population. Others have advanced a contrary opinion. Though it is impossible to attain definite results on points of this nature, yet there are facts which give valuable indications. Some of these facts will be briefly set forth in the following notes.
The great numbers of Scandinavian place-names in certain parts of England indicate that the Scandinavian settlers in such parts must have been numerous. But they do not afford figures of a definite or even approximate kind. They may also be in a way misleading. The Scandinavian element in the place-nomenclature of the Lake District proper, to take an example, is very strong indeed and seems to indicate that the Scandinavian settlers must have far outnumbered the English population. But there is good reason to suppose that the Scandinavian language lived on for a long time, doubtless for some generations, in the remote parts of the north-west and Scandinavian place-names there continued to be formed for at least a couple of centuries. These names therefore do not give a definite indication as to the relative numbers of the original settlers.
There is reason to suppose that in the Danelaw the Scandinavian settlers on the whole became amalgamated with the English population far earlier than in the north-west. Most of the Scandinavian place-names there probably arose at the time of, or not much later than, the original settlements. Even in these districts the proportion of Scandinavian names is so considerable that the number of settlers cannot have been insignificant.
In Yorkshire alone there are some 250 names in -by together with numerous other Scandinavian names, and many old English names appear in a Scandinavianized form. In Lincolnshire there are nearly 250 names in -by, and the Scandinavian influence is apparent in many other names. But it is not certain that even in the Danelaw the numbers of Scandinavian place-names give an accurate idea of the Scandinavian settlements. There is good reason to believe that Scandinavians frequently settled in villages which have retained their old English names. This is indicated by the numerous Scandinavianized place-names. Such names contained sounds or combinations of sounds unfamiliar to the Scandinavians. Names which offered no such difficulties might be adopted by the Scandinavians without a change. But though Scandinavian place-names do not allow definite conclusions, they are of very great value as indications of the distribution and relative intensity of the Scandinavian settlements. For a full discussion of these questions I refer to the articles just mentioned. The evidence of place-names, fortunately, can be supplemented by other evidence.
Some indication of the relative numbers of Danish settlers in the Danelaw is given by personal names. The earliest sources do not give much help. There are few Old English charters from the Danelaw. Yet there are some important exceptions. One is the well-known document printed in Birch, Cartularium Saxonicum no. 1130, which mentions a good many people living in the district of Peterborough circa 972 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 992.
The Scandinavian element in the place-nomenclature is not very considerable here; yet, 37 out of some 110 persons mentioned have Scandinavian names. Another document is one of circa 1050, which contains Bishop. Elfric's festermen (Farrer, Early Yorkshire Charters, no. 9). The district in question is that of Snaith and Sherburn in Elmet in the West Riding of Yorkshire, a very strongly Scandinavianized district. 45 out of circa 75 individuals have Danish names. Some other late Old English charters may be added. The charters by Eadgar from 958 to 963 in Early Yorkshire Charters no. 2 ff. (Birch, 1029, 1044, 1052, 1112 f), referring to Nottinghamshire and south Yorkshire, have numerous witnesses with Scandinavian names, most occurring in more documents than one. Certainly Scandinavian are: Oscytel, archbishop of York, Gunnere, Halfden, Leot (Leod), Morcare, Oskytel, Urm, all duces, Arkitel, Cytelbearn, Dragmel, Forno, Hrowald (Rold), Sumerled, Dor (for Dor), Durkitel, Durmod, Thurferð, Ulfketel, all ministri. Presumably these were earls or thegns in Danelaw districts. Some scraps of evidence may be gleaned from sources such as Symeon of Durham, the Life of St. Cuthbert, the Liber Vitæ Dunelmensis, where people with Scandinavian names are recorded. But the numbers of names are not sufficient for any definite conclusions.
The Domesday Book does not afford very much help here. It generally gives only the names of the chief tenants, not those of small landholders. Yet the number of tenants wit h Scandinavian names is considerable in the Danelaw counties. A cursory examination of the names of tenants in Lincolnshire in the time of Edward the Confessor gives as result that there are some 140 Scandinavian names, some 80 English, while a few are obscure. I have not ventured to try to determine the numbers of individuals with English and with Scandinavian names, as many persons held land in more villages than one.
Evidence for the names of the smaller landholders in the Danelaw is offered by twelfth and early thirteenth century charters issued by people belonging to the class of free landholders, and by lists of tenants in early landbooks. Most valuable for our purpose are the collections of charters from Lincolnshire, which have been published by Professor F. M. Stenton, especially his Danelaw Charters (Documents Illustrative of the Social and Economic History of the Danelaw, London 1920) and the abstracts of charters in his Free Peasantry of the Northern Danelaw (Published in Bulletin de la Société Royale des Lettres de Lund. Lund, 1925-6). No material of quite equal value is available for other Danelaw counties. The documents in the collection of Northamptonshire charters published also by Professor Stenton, are chiefly royal or feudal charters. The Early Yorkshire Charters, published by Dr. Farrer, contain a good deal of relevant material, but it is scattered and difficult to judge. The earliest Assize Rolls and Feet of Fines are sometimes helpful.
In drawing conclusions from this kind of material, it must be remembered that the documents are comparatively late, few being earlier than the latter half of the twelfth century, and that personal nomenclature may be supposed to have undergone some changes in the time from circa 900. Fashion plays an important part in the field of personal names. Just as Old English names were almost totally superseded by French ones not long after the Norman Conquest, so it is probable that Scandinavian names may have been adopted by English people and vice versa. It is worthy of notice that it can often be shown that people belonging to the same family, in the eleventh or twelfth century, could have names of different provenance. Thus in the Lincolnshire Domesday are mentioned four brothers, who held land in Beesby and Newton le Wold, with the names Ingemund, Oune, Edric and Eculf. Oune is certainly, Ingemund probably Scandinavian, while Edric is certainly English, and Eculf probably so (OE Ecgwulf). Among lawmen of Lincoln in 1086 are mentioned Ulbert and his brother UIf; Ulbert is OE Wulffbeorht, while Ulf is presumably OScand Ulfr. In the lists of those who had sake and soke in Lincolnshire in the time of Edward the Confessor, we note Godric son of Toruert, Adestan son of Godran, Toli son of Alsi, where Godric, Adestan, Alsi are English (OE Godric, Eðelstan, Ælfsige), Turuert, Godran, Toli are Danish. Sometimes it is not easy to determine the provenance of personal names. In the same list we find Achi son of Siward and Wilac his brother. Achi is Odan Aki. Wilac may be ODan Wiglek or an unrecorded OE Wiglac, while Siward may be OE Sigeweard or OScand Sigvarðr.
However, even if the value of the figures given in the sequel must not be over-estimated, yet the fact that Scandinavian names are extremely common in documents of the kind under discussion is significant.
In the introduction to the Danelaw Charters, p. cxiv ff., Professor Stenton gives the number of individuals with Danish names in the charters embodied in the collection as more than half the number of those recorded (266 out of 507), and a good many of the remaining 241 have names of doubtful provenance. The Scandinavian names are stated to be 119.
In Free Peasantry, which contains abstracts of numerous charters from various parts of Lincolnshire and some also from other Danelaw counties, Professor Stenton gives no figures for the personal names. An examination of the material from Lincolnshire gives the following results. The grantors of these charters, which generally date from about 1200 or the early thirteenth century, in the greater number of cases have Norman names, but their fathers (mothers) or grand-parents generally have English or Scandinavian names.
The charters thus tell us something about the personal nomenclature about the middle of the twelfth century. Out of the individuals with English or Scandinavian names mentioned, some 240 altogether, about 160 have Scandinavian, about 80 English names. It is true that possibly in some cases the same person may have been counted twice. The number of names used is not so large, altogether some 70 Scandinavian, some 50 English.
Professor Stenton, Introduction to Danelaw Charters p. cxiv, remarks that "an analysis of the native personal names occurring in the Lincolnshire Assize Rolls of 1202 shows 215 Scandinavian against 194 English forms".
A few notes may be added on Yorkshire names. Charter no. 64 in Early Yorkshire Charters mentions a good number of persons from Markingfield in the West Riding (1135 - 53). We find the following Scandinavian names:
Ragnilda, Audkill, Gamel (and Suan his father), Slainulf, Thor (father of Acca), Rainkill (and Stainbern his father), Ketel, Ulf, Orm, Wallef, (father of Uctred), altogether 12 Scandinavian names. There are only 5 English names: Osbertus, Siward (father of Ketel), Heremer (father of Orm), Uctred, Acca. The remaining names are Norman.
Another important charter is no. 931 in the same collection, dating from 1100 to circa 1115, which enumerates a number of landholders in the North Riding. Scandinavian names are here:
Ilvilling, Colbrand, Leising, Turkil, Thurkil (and Thorald his father), Thorne (father of Crinan), Leot, Askil, Halthor, Kille (and Erchel his father), Swartebrand, Arkil (and Thurkil his father), Forni (father of Helrandus).
Crillan is Irish and may be looked upon as Irish-Scandinavian. This gives us 16 Scandinavian names. English are:
Quenilda (mother of Turkil), ?Athele (father of Leot), Aldred (and his father Siward), Sceldfrithe, Frithegist, Duda, at most 7. The rest of the names are Norman; Melgric may be corrupt.
I have examined the names in the Yorkshire Fines (1199 to 1214) (Surtees Soc. 94). English and Scandinavian personal names are about equal in number, about 40 each, but the number of individuals bearing Scandinavian names is slightly higher than that of individuals with English names (circa 75 as against circa 60).
Valuable material for Norfolk is found in the collection of charters published by J. R. West in Abbey of St. Benet of Holme (1020 - 1210) (Norfolk Record Society 2), but time has not permitted a careful examination of it. Of the unpublished Castleacre Cartulary (Norfolk), Mr. D. C. Douglas, in the introduction to Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds (1932), p. cxxi, footnote 4, tells us that "of the names of men of native ancestry in the twelfth-century charters in this cartulary (Harl. MS. 2110) about 40 per cent are of Scandinavian origin."
In the volume just quoted Mr. Douglas publishes a most interesting document, The Feudal Book of Baldwin, Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds, 1065 - 1098. It is to be hoped that some similar documents relating to some more strongly Scandinavianized part of the Danelaw than Suffolk will come to light. The Feudal Book is about contemporary with Domesday Book. It gives the names of the free peasants of a number of Suffolk villages belonging to Bury St. Edmunds. In Suffolk the Danish colonization, to judge by place-names, does not seem to have been nearly as strong as in Lincolnshire or Yorkshire. This is borne out by the personal names in the Feudal Book. Of about 700 individuals mentioned, according to the editor, only some 60 have Danish names, i.e. 8½ per cent. The names of Danish origin are given in the Introduction, p. cxviii f.; they number 40. But very likely some names of obscure origin should be added to this number. And some certainly Scandinavian names have been inadvertently omitted by the editor, as Osbern, Osgot, Sparhauoc, Suein, Turgod, probably Ormer, though this may be OE Ordmær. The following names borne by fathers of tenants should also be added: Dag, Gangulf, Grimulf; Puse  (Godric Pusesune), Scanche. It is also a noteworthy fact that in the cases where the father's name is given, this is in several cases Danish, while the son's is English, in at least 14 cases. The opposite case is far rarer (3 or 4 examples). This seems to indicate that in Suffolk English personal names began early to be adopted by Scandinavians. It is of interest to find a fairly large percentage of Scandinavian names in Coney Weston, whose name is English Cyningestun, Scandinavianized. To 11 English names correspond 6 Scandinavian (Brother, Ulfchetel, Turchetel, Lefchetel, Suein, Odin).
 For Puse, cf. the ON by-name Posi; identical with ON posi, OSwed. upsi, 'a bag'.
An important criterion for the relative numbers of Danish settlers in the Danelaw is offered by the proportion of sokemen recorded in Domesday. A sokeman was mostly of a humble position economically. In Lincolnshire in the eleventh century he might own a whole plough-team or more but there are cases where he only had one ox or even less. Professor Stenton, in the Introduction to the Lincolnshire Domesday, p. xx, says that the ordinary sokeman or villein was a man of two or three oxen. But, unlike the villein, the sokeman was a free man. Professor Stenton has discussed the problem of the sokeman in various publications, and he holds that
"the sokemen of the Danelaw represent, as a class, the rank and file of the Scandinavian armies which had settled this district in the ninth century" (Free Peasantry p. 79).
It is very probable that this view is correct. The sokemen of the eleventh century would then on the whole be the descendants of the late ninth century Danish settlers, while we should have to suppose that the villeins and bordars represent the native English peasant class. Supposing this to be in the main correct, the following facts will be found to be of importance.
In Free Peasantry, pp. 77 ff., Professor Stenton gives the percentages of sokemen to villeins and bordars in each Lincolnshire wapentake. The percentages vary from roughly 73 to 20 per cent of the peasant class. The lowest figures are those in Elloe wapentake, in the Holland division, where there are no Danish village names. The highest percentages are recorded in those wapentakes where the greatest numbers of Danish place-names are found, as in Bradley and Ludborough Wapentakes in the North Riding, or in Bolingbroke, Candleshoe, Gartree, Hill, Louth Eske in the South Riding. In these districts there are thick clusters of villages with names in -by. In Leicestershire from 50 to 27 per cent of the peasants were sokemen. The highest percentage is found in Framland Wapentake, where place-names testify to a very thorough Danish colonisation. In Nottinghamshire, the figures are from 52 to 10 per cent, the highest percentage being found in Newark Wapentake.
The numbers of sokemen are not given for Lincolnshire, but for Leicestershire Professor Stenton gives the number in Domesday as nearly 2,000, while Nottinghamshire has more than 1,500 recorded (Danes in England, p. 16). Here we get concrete figures, which give some idea of the numbers of Danish settlers. No doubt the figures are too small, for it is unlikely that all the sokemen or villeins got recorded in Domesday. No exact figures for Lincolnshire are known to me, and I have not had time to undertake a calculation. But the following figures for parts of the county may be illustrative. The sokemen on the King's land recorded are alone about 1,275, while the villeins and bordars numbered nearly 1,000. An examination of Bolingbroke Wapentake, which is only a small portion of the Lindsey division, gave as result some 550 sokemen, as against some 165 villeins and 60 bordars. The figures for Loveden Wapentake in Kesteven are some 410 sokemen, some 350 villeins and 115 bordars. It is clear that the total number of sokemen in Lincolnshire must have been far higher than that in Leicestershire. The sokemen must have numbered several thousands, and this figure would not include women and children.
Of course, the figures for 1066 may have been a good deal different from those of about 900. But if we may assume that the sokemen on the whole represent the descendants of the Danish settlers, the villeins and bordars those of the English peasants, and also that the proportion between the two classes of peasant had remained on the whole unchanged, the conclusion must be that the Danish settlers in Lincolnshire and some other districts were about equal in number with the earlier population. It is true we do not know that all the sokemen in Domesday were really of Danish descent. It is quite possible that also some English peasants reached that status. On the other hand we are hardly justified in assuming that all villeins and bordars in the Danelaw were of English descent. There is every reason to suppose that some Danes had joined the unfree class . All we can say with certainty is that the Danish element must have formed a very considerable part of the population in the Danelaw.
 This would particularly be probable in the case of the Danish freedman (liesing), whose wergeld was the same as that of the English ceorl on gafol-land. (Treaty between Alfred and Guthrum)
The results of the preceding discussion raise questions as to the nature of the Scandinavian settlements. Did the Scandinavians in England settle in villages or in single homesteads? The Norwegians nowadays usually live in homesteads, not in villages, and there is every reason to suppose that they have done so from of old. They settled in homesteads in Iceland, and we may assume that they followed their old custom when they settled in England. The Norwegian settlement in the north-west of England may well have been chiefly of a peaceful nature, carried out with the permission of the earlier population. The Danes, on the other hand, have always lived in villages, so far as our evidence goes. One would suppose that they would not give up this custom when they settled in England, where compact settlements would seem to have been an act of common prudence. Yet it seems to have been tacitly understood sometimes that the Danish settlements in the Danelaw were generally single homesteads. For the name-type characteristic of the Danelaw is -by, and -by in place-names is often held to mean 'farm'. Thus Dr. Smith, in Place-names of the North Riding, regularly renders -by by 'farm', except for such names as Birkby , Danby, Ingleby, whose first element is the genitive plural of a folk-name ("the village of the Britons, Danes, English"). Even Kirkby is taken to mean 'farm by the church', Whitby, 'Hvitis farmstead'. On the other hand thorp is regularly rendered by 'village', e.g. in Ganthorpe, Howthorpe, Ravensthorpe. Only Towthorpe, perhaps owing to an oversight, is rendered by 'Tofi's farm'.
It is not easy to understand why -by is thus regularly taken to mean 'farm', thorp 'village'. In Danish by is the regular word for 'village', while thorp was used of a dependent hamlet, which, of course, often came to develop to an independent village. In Scania, formerly a part of Denmark, thorp in place-names must have denoted a farmstead, and the same was the case in Sweden. In Modern Swedish, torp even denotes a 'croft'. Thus it is obvious that in Danish districts in England we expect names in -by to have denoted villages, while those in -thorpe were given to farmsteads or dependent hamlets belonging to an older village. It would be more correct really to translate -by by 'village', thorpe by 'farm' than the other way round. In Norwegian districts, on the other hand, thorp was hardly used, and by may quite well have meant 'a farm', as Old Norse býr (bær) denoted both 'a farm' and 'a village'. The meaning 'farm' is even more probable, for in Norwegian place-names by normally means 'farm'. In the North Riding, where the Scandinavian settlements were mostly Danish, the probable meaning of by is 'village'.
But there is one circumstance which may seem to tell against this theory, viz ., the fact that names in -by mostly have a personal name as first element. There are no doubt a good many exceptions. Some names in -by have as first member a word denoting a natural feature or the like, as Aby, Dalby, Ashby, Skewsby, Wauldby, Kirby, Kirkby. This is the normal type in Denmark and Sweden. Others contain a folk-name or similar word in the genitive plural, as Birkby, Danby, Ingleby, Irby, Normanby, Flotmanby, Hunmanby, or an adjective, as Newby, Whitby. Barrowby, Borrowby, by the way, go back to Old Scandinavian Bergabyr, whose first element I now think is a folk-name derived from berg, 'hill' ('the village of the people on the hill') . However, names in -by with a personal name as first element are decidedly in the majority.
 Cf. Sahlgren, Namn och Bygd, vol. 23, p. 194, who takes a name such as Swedish Berga to be a folk-name 'hill people'.
Unfortunately, no material is available that gives us direct information on the original status of Scandinavian settlements. But Domesday Book may give some hints. I have again chosen the Lincolnshire part of Domesday for an investigation. The Yorkshire part, for well-known reasons, is not so helpful as might be wished. Lincolnshire had not suffered from devastation at the time of the Norman Conquest, and the material for that county is easily accessible in Canon Foster's excellent edition of the Lincolnshire Domesday (Lincoln Record Society, 19). An examination of the material reveals some important facts.
In his illuminating introduction to Canon Foster's edition, Professor Stenton shows that the figures for the carucates ascribed to villages are largely conventional. The scheme was "framed by men who felt that a village ought to be assessed either at exactly twelve carucates or at some fraction or multiple of this sum" (p. xi). If a village is assessed at 12 carucates, we can thus only conclude that it was for fiscal purposes assessed at that figure. A very large village was generally assessed at 24 car.; a large village at 12, a medium-sized one at 6, a smaller one at 3, and so on. The number of carucates assigned to a village thus indicates its general size. A closer examination of the figures shows that old villages with English names, especially names in -ham, as Bassingham, Hougham, Metheringham, are fairly often assessed at 24 car. There are very many 12-car. villages, especially with names in -tun, as Barkston, Branston, Broughton, Dry Doddington, Dorrington, Edlington, etc., and an about equal number of 6-car. villages. A good many are assessed at lower figures, especially 4 or 3 car., and not a few have 2, 1½, 1 car., or even lower figures.
Turning now to villages with Scandinavian names, we find that those with names in -by on the whole show lower figures than those with English names. Only Coleby (in Boothby) and Rauceby are of the largest type. There are several 12-car. villages, as Boothby, Graffoe, Digby, Dunsby (Flaxwell), Gonerby , Kirkby, Laythorpe, Scrivelsby, Thealby , Thurlby (near Lincoln), Welby. Numerous 6-car. villages occur e.g: Barnoldby, Beelsby, Beesby (Haverstoe), Candlesby, Mavis Enderby, Miningsby, S. Ormsby, Osbournby, Roxby, Scamblesby, Scremby, Stainby, Ulceby, Whisby. Several are assessed at 5 or 4 car., but the greatest number at 3 car. or slightly more, as Aunsby, Asgarby (near Spilsby), Beesby in the Marsh, etc. Several have two car. or slightly more, a few only 1½ or 1 car. (e.g. Claxby St. Andrew, Clixby, Fonaby, Fulsby, Ailby, Aisby (in Corringham), Legsby.
We may add that Fishtoft and Timberland are assessed at 12, Langtoft at 6 car. Villages with names in -thorpe are generally small. Only a few are assessed at 3 car. or more, and of these some are doubtless English. Some are very small indeed.
The general result is that villages with names in -by were not as a rule small villages in the middle of the eleventh century, even if few were very large ones. And it is important to note that many of the 24- or 12-car. villages have names with a personal name as first element, e.g. Coleby, Rauceby, Dunsby, Gonerby, Thealby , Thurlbv . Most of the 6-car. villages have names of that type.
A few notes may be added here on the carucage of Leicestershire villages in the Leicestershire Survey of about 1125. In Leicestershire -bys are generally assessed at about 6 carucates. But Saltby (inclusive of Bescaby) has 20 car., Sileby 15½, Somerby 14, Ashfordby 13, Gaddesby 12½, Rearsby, Welby 12, Freeby, Sysonby 9, Ab Kettleby 9, Stonesby 8; all these have a personal name as first element. Killerby with 3 car. forms an exception. We may add that Kirby Bellars has 24 car., Beeby 12, Great Dalby 12, Frisby 11, Hoby 11½. The thorpes are generallv small, thus Boothorpe 1, Oakthorpe ½, Osgathorpe ½ car. The figures for the -bys are generally somewhat higher than for the Lincolnshire ones.
It is obvious that the results of the investigation are really valid only for the middle of the eleventh century. The figures show that places with names in -by were villages at that time, and most of them villages of a respectable size. We cannot, of course, conclude that the conditions of circa 1050 altogether correspond to those of circa 950 or 900. No doubt some villages had grown as regards population, but it is also possible that some had gone down. It is likely that the total population of Lincolnshire had increased in the 150 years between goo and 1050, but we should hardly assume that the increase had been very large. If nativity was high in those days, so was doubtless the rate of mortality. And the increase of the population has to account also for the secondary settlements, those on uplands and in fen-land. The Lincolnshire thorpes are largely on low land along the coast and probably represent a later period in the history of settlements. It is unlikely that the villages of circa 1050 on the whole go back to homesteads of circa 900.
If the Danish settlements in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire were chiefly villages, it is obvious that the settlers must have been many times more numerous than the Scandinavian place-names are. And we should, of course, not assume that Scandinavians settled only in those villages which have Scandinavian or Scandinavianized names. A village of 3 or 6 carucates had room for a good many people. Two bovates, i.e. a quarter part of a carucate, was a normal holding for a sokeman in the eleventh century. If this holds good for the time about 900, a village of 3 carucates would support some 12 to 20 settlers with their families. A few examples from Domesday Book will illustrate this:
It remains to account for the remarkable fact that many villages (even large ones) with names in -by were named from one particular person. This may seem surprising in view of the fact that all the freemen in the Danish army are supposed to have looked upon themselves as equals. Indeed, according to the treaty between Alfred and Guthrum the wergelds of any Danish freeman was to be equivalent to that of an English thegn (1,200 shillings). But in reality it cannot well be doubted that an army like the Danish one must have been organized, and that some men were in a more responsible position than others. Professor Stenton has emphasized the military nature of the Danish settlement. He holds that the Danish landowners were essentially an army established on the soil. At the original settlement some large villages may well have been allotted as manors to leaders of the army with their followers. This would naturally account for some of the large villages with names in -by that have a personal name as first element. In other cases villages would be allotted jointly to a group of men, and it is a reasonable supposition that one among these was in some sense a leader, who was responsible for the rest or was their spokesman. We may also suppose that the settlers were not all equal economically. Some more provident people would be able to contribute more capital or a larger number of oxen for the plough than the others. In cases like these villages might well have come to be named from one particular person, even though they were theoretically held in common by a group of settlers.
The Scandinavian Element
Some Common Elements
… The element -by is extremely common wherever the Scandinavians settled in England, particularly in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and the North Riding of Yorkshire. Names in -by imply a considerable Scandinavian-speaking population in the district. It is not necessarily, as has sometimes been suggested, a certain sign of Danish origin, for it is common in the Wirral where the settlers were Norwegians. In Norway the word meant 'homestead, in Denmark 'a village'. In England the usual meaning is 'village' … About two-thirds of the names are compounded with personal-names, mostly Scandinavian …
… it is frequently impossible to decide whether a particular word or personal-name is of Danish or Norwegian origin. Both by and thorp were used alike in East and West Scandinavia, whereas in England, whilst by was clearly used by Norwegians, thorp may be regarded as a sign of Danish settlement. But some few terms can definitely be assigned to one or other of these races.
Vague and unsatisfactory as it often is in its details, the story of the Anglo-Danish conflict has been the theme of chroniclers and historians for centuries. Our knowledge of the Norwegian settlement of the north-west, on the other hand, is limited to a fragment of an obscure Irish annal, preserved only in a seventeenth-century manuscript, itself a copy of some unknown manuscript, first printed in 1860 (vide F. T. Wainwright, Ingimund's Invasion (English Historical Review, LXIII (1948), pp. 145-169). This Irish tradition seems to have originated in a contemporary chronicle of events and there appears to be no reason why we should not accept its outline of events as genuine history. Briefly, it records that the Norsemen left Ireland (probably in 902) under Ingimund, a Viking leader, and after a vain attack on north Wales, he approached Æthelflæd, sister of King Edmund and Lady of the Mercians, whose husband Æthelred was ill, and obtained permission to settle near Chester, 'where he would build huts and dwellings, for he was at this time weary of war'. But when he saw the wealth of the city and the choice land around it, he desired to possess them and he persuaded 'the chiefs of the Lochlanns and the Danes' to attack Chester. Their assault on the city failed, but that these Norsemen remained and settled in the district is abundantly proved by surviving place-names. Both Danes and Norwegians took part in the settlement. The 'Lochlanns' were the descendants of the Norwegians who had colonized Ireland in the early ninth century. They had become partly Celticised, were pagans and were joined by Irishmen known as 'Gall-Ghaidhir', a term current for a short time in the ninth Century for a native Irishman who had abandoned Christianity and joined the Norsemen. 'They were Scoti and foster-children to the Northmen … a people who had renounced their baptism, and they were usually called Northmen, for they had the customs of the Northmen, and had been fostered by them, and though the original Northmen were bad to the churches, these were by far worse'.
These Irish Norwegians had adopted Irish names, formed their patronymics in the Irish fashion, Thorfinn mac Thore, had borrowed Irish words and formed many of their place-names in the Irish way, with the defining element last' (vide pp. 69-70). But they had not abandoned their native language or their Norwegian personal-names. In Cheshire, ON erg, a borrowing of Gaelic airigh, Mir airghe 'a shieling' survives in Arrowe, where the term is found frequently in field-names like Broad Arrowe, Smiths Arrowe, etc. The mysterious Noctorum may contain OIr cnocc 'a hillock'. Norse elements such as brekka, gil, slakki, and others are found in field-names in the Wirral. The only certain example of Danish influence is Frankby, which contains the ODa Franki, corresponding to OWSc Frakki.
It is clear there was a compact colony of Scandinavians, chiefly Norwegians, in the Wirral, where there are eight names in -by, including West Kirby, named in distinction from an eastern Kirby, now Wallasey, Pensby, a hybrid, 'the village at Pen', a Celtic name, Whitby and Greasby, a Scandinavianisation of OE Grafes-byrig (Gravesberie 1086) 'fort by the grove'. Irby is Erberia, Irreby circa 1100, 'fort of the Irishmen', a name given by Anglians to a settlement of Irish-Norwegian Vikings, with a later substitution of ON by for OE burh as Scandinavian speech became more common in the district. The early forms of Caldy, Calders 1086, Caldera circa 1245, 'cold islands', and of Red Stones, Arnaldsheire 1358, 'Arnald's islands', containing the ON plural eyiar, are evidence of the persistence of Scandinavian speech. Larton and Storton contain ON leir 'clay' and stórr 'big'.
This Norwegian settlement in the east of Cheshire is separated by almost the width of the county from a small Danish settlement in the west, where we have five examples of the Danish hulm (Hulme, Kettleshulme, etc.), Toft, and Scandinavian personal-names in Rostherne (Rauðr) and Croxton (Krókr). These are to be associated with the Danish settlement farther north, near Manchester, and are probably due to settlements of Danes beyond the boundary fixed for Ceolwulf's English Mercia.
On the settlement of the rest of the north-west history is silent, but place-names prove its strength and its extent. It stretched along the coastal areas north of the Mersey to Westmorland and Cumberland, and east, beyond the Pennines, into the West and North Ridings of Yorkshire. In Lancashire, south of the Ribble, it is chiefly along the coast, near and north of Liverpool, where we find traces in Roby, West Derby, Formby and Kirby, with Crosby (OIr cros, ON kross), undoubted Norse elements in Anglezark and Sholver 'the shielings of Anlaf and of Skialgr', whilst breck, scale and slack are common in minor and field names. Litherland is a pure Scandinavian name, ON Hlðarland 'wood on the slope', retaining the genitive ending -ar, as is Aintree (ON eintré 'lonely tree'), whilst Sefton is a hybrid, 'rush farm' (ON sef).
North of the Ribble, Norwegians settled throughout Amounderness and Lonsdale South of the Sands, in the lowlying lands near the coast and the rising land to the east. Scandinavian field-names are particularly numerous. Typically Norwegian are Grimsargh and Kellamergh 'shielings (erg) of Grímr and of Kelgrímr', Larbrick, Norbreck and Warbreck (brekka). Ireby on the Yorkshire border was a village of Irish Norwegians.
In Westmorland, in the old barony of Kendal, many typical Norwegian names are found among others of English origin. Common Norse elements occur in Haverbrack 'oat-hill' (ON hafri, brekka), Howgill, Leasgill, Mansergh 'Man's shieling' and Skelsmergh 'Skialdmar's shieling' (ON erg). Brigsteer is an inversion compound, 'Styr's bridge'. Norse features are found round Lowther and Ullswater in Tirril, Tyrerhge, a compound of ON tyri 'dry, resinous wood' and erg, Winder 'wind(y) shieling' and Reagill 'fox valley' (ON refr 'fox').
Irish-Norwegian influence is particularly strong in Cumberland, with inversion compounds in Aspatria 'Patrick's ash', Gillcambon 'ravine of Carnbán', an OIr personal-name, Kirksanton (St Sanctán, an Irish saint), and Tarn Wadling, Terwathelan 1285, 'the tarn of Gwyddelan "the little Irishman"' In some of these names Scandinavian inflexions are preserved: Brotherilkeld, Butherulkel, an inversion compound, with the OWSc plural búðir 'Ulfkell's booths', a formation paralleled by Scarrowmanwick, Scalremanoch, containing skálir, the plural of OWSc skáli 'shepherd's summer hut', compounded with either OIr Maenach or manaich, genitive singular of manach 'a monk'. Common Norse elements are found in Birker 'birch shieling' (birki, erg) and Cleator 'cliff shieling' (klettr, erg); ON gil 'ravine, narrow valley', is common, as in Gill, Gillhead, Gillfoot, Catgill, Scale Gill, etc.; skáli, too, is common: Scales, Scaleby, Skelgill, Bowscale and Seascale. There are some 70 names in -by, including Aldby 'old village', Crosby, Langwathby 'village by the long ford', Sowerby 'farm on marshy ground'. Many of these contain OIr personal-names, others are late, containing post-Conquest names, as in Parsonby, Johnby, etc.
From Cumberland and Westmorland the track of these Irish-Norwegians can be traced by place-names over the Pennines into the North Riding and from Lancashire into the West Riding of Yorkshire, where they must have been numerous in the Craven district. Here we have the Norwegian erg compounded with a Scandinavian personal-name in Battrix (Boðvarr's shieling) and Golcar (Guthlaugr) and with an OIr personal-name in Feizor and Fixby (Fiach). Other Norse elements occur in Raygill, High Scale and Scalebed. In the North Riding, in the western half, in Gilling, Richmondshire and Langbargh, there is very definite evidence of extensive Norse settlement, as well as on the coast near Whitby, the latter, no doubt, reached directly from the North Sea. These Irish Vikings, on their way east, quickly came into contact with the earlier Danish settlers and in places there was a considerable mixture of races, Norwegian, Danish and Anglian. The western limit of Danish settlement seems to have been in the neighbourhood of Danby on Ure and Danby Wiske, whilst its chief strength was in the half-circle of wapentakes round York, where thorpes are common, whilst the gills are almost entirely in the west.
The Norwegian movement from the north-west into Yorkshire culminated in 919 in the capture of York by Ragnall mac Bicloch, who was the first of a series of Irish Viking kings of York which lasted for thirty-five years, during which constant intercourse must have been maintained between Yorkshire and Ireland, with a constant increase of Irish-Norwegian settlers all along the route. In the western dales, in Lower Teesdale and in the Cleveland district the Scandinavian place-names are strikingly similar to those of the Lake District. We have pure Scandinavian names like Roxby 'Rauðr's farm', Upsall, from ON up-salir 'high dwellings', identical with the Swedish Uppsala, and Sowber Hill 'sunny hill' (ON sólberg); Scandinavian inflexions in Osmotherly, Skelderskew, ON Skjaldarskógr 'wood of Skjoldr', and in the DB form of Upleatham, Upelider (ON hliðir, nom. plur.), the modern form deriving from the dative plural hliaum; OIr personal-names are found in Gatenby (Gaithen) and Melsonby (Maelsuithan); with abundant evidence of Norse influence in minor names and field-names. Scarborough is one of the few place-names of which we know the exact origin. From the Kormakssaga we learn that two brothers Thorgils and Kormak went harrying in Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. 'They were the first men to set up the stronghold which is called Scarborough'. From two poems which Kormak addresses to his brother, we know that Thorgils was nicknamed Skarði 'the hare lip', hence the Scandinavian form of the name, Skarðaborg, found also in English as Scartheborc circa 1200, later Scareburgh (1414). Thorgils died in 967; the brothers' expedition to England took place immediately after their return from one to Russia in 966, so that Scarborough must have been founded late in 966 or in 967.
The mixture of races is well illustrated by such names as Danby, Normanby and Ingleby, each of which occurs three times in the North Riding. These denote villages of Danes, Norwegians and Angles and can have been given only by Scandinavians in districts where these races were in a minority. Irby is similarly a village of Irishmen, whilst Irton is the 'farm or village of the Irishmen', both emphasising that Irishmen were outnumbered in the neighbourhood, at Irby by other Scandinavians, at Irton by Anglians. There are no Normanbys in Cumberland and Westmorland, where the Scandinavian population was overwhelmingly Norse, nor are there any parallels in the East Riding, where the Scandinavians were almost entirely Danish in origin. In the West Riding we have Denaby and two examples of Denby, with another in Derbyshire. All have been tacitly accepted as synonyms with Danby, 'Denby was evidently a settlement of Danes in a predominantly English region'. If so, the name would have been bestowed on the village by speakers of English who would not have used the Scandinavian word by. Danes are unlikely to have named one of their own villages 'the village of the Danes'; in any case they would have used the Danish form, Danby. Denby is derived from Dena-by and Denaby from Deniga-by, both containing genitive plural forms of OE Dene 'a Dane', the compound being one of an English inflected form with a Scandinavian element, a type for which there is no parallel except where the first element is a personal-name. A solution of this problem may, perhaps, be found when the place-names of the West Riding have been fully surveyed.
Normanton, found four times in Nottinghamshire, thrice in Derbyshire and in Leicestershire, and also in Rutland and the West Riding, is an English name given to a place inhabited by Norwegians in a district where Anglians were more numerous. Normanby, found four times in Lincolnshire and three times in the North Riding, was a village where Norwegians lived among an overwhelming Danish population. The distribution of these names is interesting and unexpected. They provide evidence for Norwegians in the eastern Danelaw who could hardly be Vikings from Ireland. They may have been Norwegians who had joined the armies of Halfdan and Guthrum, and the scanty evidence of their presence in the eastern Midlands may be due to the known hostility between Danes and Norwegians. The capture of York from the Danes and the establishment of a Norwegian kingdom would not conduce to friendly relations, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of the tenth century not only gives proof of the internecine feuds between them but also provides evidence of similar hostility farther south. A poem interpolated in the Chronicle for the year 942 tells of the overrunning by King Edmund of Wessex of the Five Boroughs - Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham, Stamford and Derby - and how the Danes there had previously suffered under the yoke of the Norsemen, in bonds of captivity until King Edmund redeemed them. The poem does not celebrate, as was once thought, the freeing of these boroughs by an English king from Danish tyranny, but the freeing of the comparatively christianised Danes in these boroughs from the cruel domination of later heathen Norse invaders, of whom we may, perhaps, have a reminder in the Normantons and Normanbys of this area.
Yorkshire: The North Riding
By I.S. Maxwell, M.A.
… The Yorkshire text presents us with many difficult problems - occasional entries that seem incomplete, duplicate entries that do not agree, formulae giving curious measurements - but the greatest frustration arises from the large number of composite or linked entries in which the information about two or more places is combined into one statement. There are such entries in the folios for many counties, but they form a special feature of the Yorkshire folios …
… Not all linkages are relevant to this geographical analysis. Some, for example, involve only assessment or value, and they present no problem because no maps of these items have been compiled. Nor do linkages that involve only waste holdings present any problem. Fig. 23 has therefore been drawn to show only those linkages relevant to the present study. With these in mind, suitable areas have been devised so that all holdings in a composite entry are contained within a single division, in order to ensure that the density maps of population, plough-teams and plough-lands are realistic. With the same object in mind, appropriate methods have also been adopted for plotting other items of information - wood, meadow and mills. With the aid of these methods of presentation we may perceive at least the broad outlines of the geography of the Riding in the eleventh century …
Settlements and their Distribution (at page 92)
The total number of separate places mentioned for the area now included in the North Riding of Yorkshire seems to be approximately 649. This figure includes York (which was not in any of the Ridings and has been arbitrarily placed with the North Riding) and the nineteen places in Halichelde wapentake (which at the time of the Survey was in the West Riding) that are now in the North Riding. It excludes Filey which, at the time of the Domesday Survey, was in the North Riding and was surveyed with that Riding but which is now in the East Riding, and also Eskdale (mentioned in connection with the fief of Robert de Bruis) because the name appears to refer to a district rather than to a place: 'And in Eskdale 12 carucates and 2 bovates; namely, in Danby 6 carucates, and in Crunkly Gill 3 carucates, and in the 2 Hangtons 2 carucates, and in Lealholme 10 bovates' (333) … The total of 649 places includes some seventy about which we are told hardly anything. Vills recorded as waste have, as might be expected, very brief entries and these have not been included in this total of seventy …
… Not all the 649 names appear as the names of villages on the present-day map of the North Riding. Some are represented by hamlets and farmsteads, some by the names of minor topographical features, some merely by slight traces on the ground, while others have disappeared entirely … Sometimes, the position of a Domesday vill is now indicated only by mounds and other traces left on the ground … Lastly, other Domesday vills have left no direct evidence, either by names or by sites, of their former locations …
… On the other hand, a few villages on the modern map are not mentioned in the Domesday Book. Though they are widely scattered, they are mostly located in two areas which it would appear had not been settled by the eleventh century. Firstly, except in the valley of the River Esk, the North Yorkshire Moors appear to have been uninhabited in Domesday times. Here, the settlements from which the modern parishes take their names apparently came into existence at a later date. A list of these names, showing their first recorded occurrence, confirms this: Broxa (1090-6), Goathland (1108-14), Rosedale (1130 - circa 1158), Ruswarp (1145-8), Silpho (1145-8), Bilsdale (1153-9), Farndale (1154-63), Westerdale (1154-81), Rievaulx (1157), Sleights (1223), Commondale (1273) and Harwood Dale (1301).
Editor's note: to which list can be added "YN Ram(m)esdal 1240 (Yorkshire Feet of Fines)" from "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names" (1960) Eilert Ekwall at page 380.
It would thus seem that the main settlement of this area took place in the century after the Norman Conquest, though the process continued for at least a further hundred years … Lastly, there do not appear to have been any names in the North Riding that were mentioned in pre-Domesday documents, but were omitted from the Inquest only to reappear at a later time …
Figure 26 shows that certain areas of the North Riding had a considerably higher concentration of settlement than the average for the whole of the Riding as a whole; and in many of these areas the siting of the settlements was very closely related to the underlying geology. There were three districts where the concentration of settlements was greatest. Firstly, there was the area stretching north and north-east from York as far as the southern margin of the North Yorkshire Moors. In general, the siting of the villages here does not seem to have been greatly influenced by geology, and the settlements are to be found on all the Triassic and Jurassic rocks that outcrop in this part of the Riding … There was also a belt, some 3-4 miles wide, of Domesday vills stretching along the coast between the mouth of the River Tees and Whitby, but there were relatively few settlements on the coast between Whitby and Scalby where the North Yorkshire Moors approached the coast.
Those parts of the North Yorkshire Moors and the Pennines that are more than about 800 ft. above sea-level were the main areas in the North Riding with little or no settlement in Domesday times but, in addition, there appear also to have been a few smaller areas in which there was virtually no settlement …
The Distribution of Prosperity and Population (at page 101)
The main bulk of the population was comprised in the two categories of villeins and bordars. In addition to these main groups there were sokemen and also a miscellaneous group that included priests, rent-payers (censores) and just 'men'. No serfs are mentioned for the Riding. The details of these groups are summarised in the table on page 119 … Definitive accuracy rarely belongs to a count of Domesday population, and all that can be claimed for the present figures is that they indicate the order of magnitude involved. These figures are those of recorded population, and must be multiplied by some factor, say 4 or 5, in order to obtain the actual population; but this does not affect the relative density as between one area and another. That is all that a map such as Fig. 3o can roughly show.
It is impossible for us to say how complete were these Domesday statistics. It does seem as if some people had been left uncounted. The absence of population from the waste vills is understandable, but, as we have already seen, there are occasional vills with teams at work but with no recorded population, which suggests omission, though we cannot be certain of the significance of this. Certainly, we cannot assess the degree of error such entries involve. But, on the whole, the perplexities are comparatively few, and the main categories of workers on the land stand out quite clearly.
The concluding entry for a Domesday holding usually states its 'value' both in 1066 and in 1086, but not for an intermediate date as in some counties; and the 1066 value is almost always given before the 1086 value. The value of some holdings remained the same at the two dates and this was stated either by repeating the same figure or by using the phrase Modo similiter. But the value of most holdings changed. While some showed an increase that was usually small, the great majority showed a decrease that was usually considerable. Where the value had decreased to nothing, or almost nothing, the land was normally said to be waste.'
… Many entries seem to be incomplete and, in a very large number, there is no reference to either or both of the values. Holdings waste in 1086 sometimes have a 1066 value entered for them and sometimes not … Sometimes, when no value is recorded for a holding, it would appear to be included with other totals … they may well have had no 1086 value because they were both waste …
Near the end of many entries there is a statement about the size of the holding. The units employed are leagues and furlongs and, where the two dimensions differ, the larger is always recorded first. Where they are the same, the dimensions are usually repeated … For ten entries only does the formula become 'n leagues in length and as much in breadth' or 'n leagues in length and the same in breadth'. The meaning of these measurements is obscure and they present certain difficulties.
In the first place, it is difficult to see what exactly is implied by these measurements. Whatever was the length of a league, it seems to have comprised 12 furlongs. But this does not take us far. How did the Commissioners envisage shape in estimating length and breadth ? What relation did these linear measurements bear to area ? We cannot tell. But we do know that for many counties, including Yorkshire, a similar type of measurement was used to record the size of woodland. It was also used occasionally in Yorkshire and elsewhere for recording the amount of meadow. Dimensions are also included in the fourteen North Riding entries that refer to open land, field and arable field; all but one of these also contain a reference to wood or underwood.
Editor's note: 1 furlong = ⅛ mile (660 feet or 220 yards). 12 furlongs = 1½ miles.
… The second difficulty … is to decide whether the dimensions recorded for a manor also covered its dependent vills … In the third place, the dimensions sometimes seem to cover a number of places geographically quite separate … Fourthly, it is impossible to see why these measurements were recorded for some places and not for others. No amount of arithmetical dexterity can bring the measurements into relation with the resources of their respective holdings …
Composite entries with linked places are so frequent, and the number of places involved in a linkage is often so considerable, that it would be unrealistic to divide the totals of each group of linked holdings among its constituents. The result of any such division would be to invalidate the symbols that were plotted for individual places: maps showing the distribution of plough-teams and population by settlements have therefore not been drawn for the North Riding. If the linkages crossed the units used for calculating densities, those densities would also be invalidated. The delimitation of the twenty artificial divisions shown on Figs. 27-30 has therefore been determined not so much by variations in soil and relief as by the distribution and pattern of linked entries; the divisions have been so devised that the holdings of each composite entry are contained within a single division. The artificial nature of the units has been increased by the fact that their boundaries have been drawn to coincide with those of civil parishes in order to make possible a statistical analysis of the information; and many parishes (perhaps most) stretch across more than one kind of soil and country. Clearly, therefore, these artificial units do not provide an ideal basis for distinguishing degrees of variation over the face of the country, but, at least, they enable some of the major contrasts to be discerned.
On Figs. 27-30, three areas have been excluded from the calculation of densities because they contained no Domesday vills, but whether these areas were unused in the eleventh century we cannot say. This adjustment may produce some inaccuracy but only to a very slight degree and it cannot affect the general picture.
Of the six recurring standard formulae, those relating to plough-teams and population seem most likely to reflect something of the distribution of wealth and prosperity throughout the Riding in the eleventh century. Even they are not without some degree of uncertainty, but, if they cannot be trusted in detail, they are, at any rate, useful enough for drawing broad contrasts. When the distributions of plough-teams and population are compared, certain common features stand out (Figs. 28 and 30). The most noticeable of these are that all the densities are low and that variations throughout the Riding are small; there is no great difference between areas of maximum and of minimum density of plough-teams, between those of highest and of lowest population density. It also seems that, in general, the areas with most people were those with most plough-teams, and those with a sparse population coincided with the areas having few plough-teams. Fig. 27, showing the distribution of the density of plough-lands, shows a pattern very similar to that of the two other maps, the chief difference being that the density of plough-lands is almost always greater than the density of plough-teams: but in view of the doubtful nature of the plough-land entries, the implications of this map are uncertain.
Within these small variations it is possible, when crossing the Riding from west to east, to distinguish three main areas of contrasting density. The first area lay in the Pennines to the west; this was an upland region which had very low densities that in parts fell to zero. Secondly, in the centre, lying approximately between the Pennines on the west and the North Yorkshire Moors on the east, the lowland of the Vale of York had densities not high but markedly higher than those of the remainder of the Riding: the area to the south of Richmond had unusually high densities. The third area was in the east of the Riding: this mostly had very low densities which in places fell to zero.
Types of entries
The amount of woodland on a holding in the North Riding was normally recorded by giving its length and breadth in terms of leagues and of furlongs … Sometimes one set of woodland measurements is found in a combined entry covering a number of vills … This … seems to imply, although not necessarily, some process of addition whereby the dimensions of separate tracts of wood were consolidated into one sum. But it is quite impossible to know how this woodland was distributed amongst the various vills, and so on Fig. 31 the measurements in these linked entries have been plotted for the first-named vill only, and the other places in the entry have each been indicated merely by a separate symbol: (the wood in a composite entry has always been plotted for the first-named place, in addition to any other wood that is mentioned in a separate entry for that place. If any vill (other than the first-named) in a linked entry also has wood entered for it in a separate entry, that wood has been plotted instead of the conventional symbol). Once again, whatever minor inaccuracies are thus introduced, they cannot greatly affect the general picture of the distribution of woodland as shown on the map.
The type of wood most frequently recorded in the North Riding was wood for pannage (silva pastilis). Of other kinds, the most common was underwood, silva minuta being mentioned in twenty entries for twenty-four places. Coppice (silva modica) was also mentioned in three entries for three places. It is very difficult to know whether or not these two terms were meant to express the same thing but they are indicated by the same symbol on Fig. 31. Of the twenty silva minuta entries, nine give the size of the wood in terms of two linear dimensions, while for the eleven others no dimensions are recorded.
There are five entries that refer simply to silva without mentioning pannage, and dimensions are recorded for four of them …
The three types of woodland already referred to - pasturable wood, underwood and wood - are linked in thirteen entries with certain other terms: with open land, field and arable field. These entries have been included in the category of 'other mention of woodland' when compiling Fig. 31.
Lastly, certain other types of wood were also mentioned very occasionally … 'wood, not for pannage (silva non pastilis)' … useless wood (silva inutilis) and, finally, 'neither meadow nor wood' (nec pratum nec silva).
Distribution of woodland
Woodland, as Fig. 31 shows, was distributed very unevenly throughout the Riding … There was another, smaller area of woodland along the coast between Skelton and Whitby which, locally, stretched up into Eskdale …
Perhaps the most striking feature of Fig. 31 is the large part of the Riding with no recorded woodland. For the Pennine region in the extreme west and for the North Yorkshire Moors, this might well have been expected. But the complete absence of woodland, according to the Domesday Inquest, in the area between the Cleveland Hills and the River Tees is somewhat surprising. The same is true of the area just north of York, but the lowlands of the Vale of Pickering may well have been too marshy for much wood.
Types of entries
The meadow entries for the North Riding are comparatively straightforward; the formula is normally 'n acres of meadow' (n acrae prati) … More usually, however, the amounts are small, being normally between 5 and 10 acres. The figures are sometimes round numbers that suggest estimates … A certain vagueness can also be detected in part of the entry for Whitby (305) and in that for Hutton Magna (309); at Prestby and Sowerby, two of the eleven sokelands of Whitby, there were xxvi acrae prati per loca … On the other hand, there are some entries that give the impression of being actual amounts … Where, for one place, more than one entry records meadow, the individual amounts have been added together and the total acreage has been plotted on Fig. 32. The meadow in a linked entry has been plotted for the first-named place only, but all the other places in the entry have also been indicated by a separate symbol in order to show the possible places in which meadow may have been situated. No attempt has been made to equate Domesday acres with those of the present day. They have been treated merely as conventional units of measurement, and Fig. 32 has been plotted on that assumption.
Distribution of meadowland
Fig. 32 shows that the meadowland of the North Riding was to be found chiefly along certain river valleys and in the principal vales … many of the vills near the coast, from Whitby to the mouth of the Tees, had some meadow … from York northwards about as far as Thirsk, was completely without meadow; so were the valleys of the North Yorkshire Moors …
Fisheries (piscariae) are recorded for 1086 in connection with only two places in the North Riding, and there was also mention of the site of a fishery. Neither fisheries nor eels are mentioned in connection with mills in the Yorkshire folios …
There is nothing particularly noteworthy about these entries except, perhaps, the fact that they are so few and that there is no indication of any one place having more than one fishery (note: this contrasts with the two other ridings).
The three vills with a fishery or the site of a fishery were all situated in the north-west of the Riding (note: also, they were all three held by Count Alan). It is impossible to believe that these three Domesday entries represent the total fisheries of the North Riding in the eleventh century. There must have been many other places with fisheries - for example, in the Vale of Pickering. All that the Domesday evidence does is to show that river-fisheries did play a part in the economy of some villages. Nothing is said about sea-fishing.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Yorkshire folios is the very large amount of waste that they record - a terrible testimony to the efficacy of 'the harrying of the north' by the Normans during the winter of 1069-70. 'Seventeen years later, the marks of this devastation were to be seen on every page of the Domesday Survey; many pages present hardly anything else': H. C. Darby, An Historical Geography of England before 1800 (1936) at page 170. But though it was the Normans who were mainly responsible for this wasting, the ravages of the Danes and Scots in 1069 and 1070 were also partly to blame.
As many as 217 places were wholly waste and 150 were partly waste, a total of 367 out of the 639 places recorded in the Text. In other words, between 57% and 58% of the vills in the North Riding were wholly or partly waste. And this figure is certainly on the conservative side because it makes no allowance for those fairly numerous places where, although waste is specifically mentioned, the form of the entries suggests that probably they were also waste. For example, the complete entry for Troutsdale (300) states: 'M. in Troutsdale Archil [had] 2 carucates for geld. Land for 1 plough'; no waste is recorded, but it seems reasonable to think, as no other information is recorded, that it was waste. This type of entry is found for some sixty places, which means that in all probability no less than two places out of every three in the North Riding were in fact wholly or partly waste.
The vills of the North Riding had suffered different fates, and it is possible to distinguish five categories … Firstly, there were many vills that must have been wholly waste in 1086 … The second type comprises those vills where waste is recorded for some holdings only, but for which nevertheless no population is mentioned … Thirdly, there are those vills … for which neither waste nor population is entered. It seems that the information recorded in the Domesday Book is incomplete, but in spite of this we are probably correct in concluding that vills in this class were at least mainly waste. The fourth category, the partially waste vills with some population, really includes two slightly different kinds. On the one hand, there are vills … where one holding in the viii was waste and had neither population nor value, while the other holding had no waste and possessed not only population but also both a 1066 and a 1086 value. On the other hand … there may be some specific mention of the fact that the land was only partly waste. Lastly, there are those vills … for which there is no mention of waste in any entry and for which population, plough-teams and values are recorded.
It is not possible to be certain of the precise meaning of the phrase Wasta est, but the majority of the entries in the Yorkshire folios seem to convey the fact that a waste holding had no population, no teams and no value in 1086. Most waste entries conform to this interpretation.
Even when a holding was 'waste' it was not necessarily completely devoid of resources or value, as some forty entries for the North Riding show. Representative entries relating to such holdings are set out below:
Aislaby (Langeberge) (305): ii carucae possunt esse … Ibi vi acrae prati. Silva pastilis i leuga longa et i lata … T.R.E. x solidos et viii denarios. Modo wasta est …
Most of these entries are similar in form to those for Aislaby … though waste, they possessed wood or meadow, but these gave the holding no value in 1086 … Occasionally, however, these resources were of profit and were assigned a value for 1086 … These, and other holdings similar to them, have been regarded not as 'partly waste' but as entirely waste in the sense both that all their arable land seems to have been waste and that they had neither plough-teams nor population. They do not necessarily appear as wholly waste' on Fig. 33 because some of the places had other holdings with plough-teams and population in addition to their devastated land.
Distribution of waste
Fig. 33 shows that the waste vills were especially frequent on the flank of the Pennines and in the northern part of the Vale of York from just north of Thirsk northwards to the Riding boundary. Much of the coastal area, from Fyling to the mouth of the River Tees, had a considerable amount of waste, and there was also some just north of the city of York. The Vale of Pickering and the coastal areas to the east had many partially waste vills. The largest area without much waste was probably the land lying west of the River Swale, between Richmond, Masham and Leyburn. The absence of waste in this part of the Riding corroborates the suggestion already made that this was probably the most prosperous district. This is also apparent if we compare the map showing the distribution of waste (Fig.33) with that of inhabited and uninhabited vills (Fig. 34). There were relatively few uninhabited vills in the area west of the River Swale just referred to, and in the south-east of the Riding. Conversely, they reached their greatest numbers in the extreme west of the Riding, in the northern portion of the Vale of York, in the area between the River Tees and the Cleveland Hills (except just near the scarp-foot) and along the coast from Fyling to the mouth of the River Tees. The correspondence of these distributions is perhaps best shown on Fig. 35 which combines all this information.
Various attempts have been made to explain the significance of the distribution of Domesday waste. In a pioneer work relating to southern England, F. H. Baring maintained that a reduction in value indicated wasting and hence the passage of the Conqueror's army from the Battle of Hastings to the submission of London - F. H. Baring, 'The Conqueror's Footprints in Domesday', Eng. Hist. Rev. xiii (London, 1898), pp. 17-25. In a similar way, J. Beddoe and J. H. Rowe suggested that the distribution of Domesday waste in Yorkshire might have been the result - direct or indirect - of the passage of the Conqueror's army during the harrying of 1069-70. The conclusions of T. A. M. Bishop emphasise the fact that there may have been no simple relationship between the routes followed by the Norman army and the areas of most waste:
The condition of Yorkshire as a whole; for which the ravages of the Danes and Scots in 1069 and 1070 were partly responsible, must be set down mainly to the methodical destruction carried out by the French in the winter of 1069-70; but if the condition of particular areas is assumed to be directly traceable to their operations, it must appear remarkable that William's army should have indulged in no more than sporadic devastation of large parts of the plain, while carrying fire and sword to remote upland settlements.
per T. A. M. Bishop, 'The Norman Settlement of Yorkshire' in Studies in Mediaeval History presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke, ed. by R. W. Hunt, W. A. Pantin and F. W. Southern (Oxford, 1948), pp. 1-14. T. A. M. Bishop, op. cit. pp. 2-3. In a footnote to this passage Bishop does seem to provide the most likely explanation for the large number of waste vills that we have already noted in the north of the Riding, when he writes:
The Scots invaded north Yorkshire in 1070, and depopulated "Cleveland" (i.e. the plain immediately south of Middlesbrough) and Teesdale (there is some evidence that this included upper Teesdale as well as the westward continuation of the Cleveland plain)."
To all this we can agree, even though this explanation obviously does not account for all the waste that the Domesday Book records.
Bishop suggests that the waste holdings of 1086 did not indicate the tracks of the destroying armies, but that they were the result of a movement of people, between 1070 and 1086, from unfavourable areas to the wasted holdings of more fertile districts. As an instance of such migration and colonisation, Bishop postulates a movement of population from Swaledale, Wensleydale and their secondary dales down to parts of the Richmondshire plain. He further suggests that such migrations were not spontaneous movements of the peasantry from the poorer land to the better, but movements initiated and controlled by the various new owners of the vills that had been wasted. He sees one indication of this in the fact that while one holding in a vill was waste, another, belonging to a different tenant-in-chief, had its full complement of population and of plough-teams …
Bishop also points to the fact that, at any rate for the larger fiefs, there was usually a marked difference between the more remote upland portions which were generally under-populated, and the lowland parts which were normally well peopled. By contrast, those landholders whose fiefs were mainly in the lowland areas had the population of no undevastated vills upon which to draw; their estates therefore were under-developed and thinly populated, and showed an unusually great decline in value between 1066 and 1086. As an example he cites the lands of Count Alan and of one of his tenants, Robert de Musters. Count Alan's land as a whole was mainly
"divided between nearly deserted western uplands and partly inhabited eastern plain; the only part of the North Riding which included a considerable number of depopulated upland villages, it had recovered over 40 per cent. of its pre-Conquest value, while the rest of the North Riding had recovered less than 15 per cent." (Fig. 36).
This relative prosperity was in striking contrast to that of Robert de Musters who
"had not been enfeoffed with any upland manors. His Yorkshire fee consisted of ten estates all lying in the fertile plain between the Swale and the Ure; nine of these were waste in 1086."
A further clue to the history of the Yorkshire manor in the period 1066-1086 may, according to Bishop, be derived from a consideration of excess plough-teams, population and values. He thinks that in those vills where there was a relatively large population and excess teams, and where the value had risen between 1066 and 1086, the population was probably relatively long established and was possibly comprised of survivors or descendants of pre-Conquest inhabitants. But on the other hand, in those vills where, though the population was relatively large and there were excess plough-teams, there had been a big decline in value between 1066 and 1086, the population had probably arrived but recently and had not yet advanced far in clearing and cultivating an area that had perhaps remained waste for some years after 'the harrying of the north'.
All this evidence, taken as a whole, suggests the following conclusions. Initially, 'the harrying of the north' in the winter of 1069-70, coupled with the ravages of both the Danes and the Scots in 1069 and 1070, resulted in the wasting of many vills. Some at least may have been repopulated from those vills that escaped devastation; and these latter in turn became waste. As no intermediate value is given for the Yorkshire holdings, we have no direct evidence for the location of the wasted vills of 1070. In view of the wide variations in different holdings of the same lord at the same place, and also of the fact that the prosperity of the lowland vills of different fiefs does not always seem to have depended upon an association with upland vills, we cannot postulate with certainty a wholesale migration from upland to lowland - See pp. 450-454 below. Some migration may well have taken place between the wasted vills and those that escaped devastation, but the evidence is not conclusive enough to enable us to say exactly what occurred when King William's forces ranged over the Riding.
Mills are mentioned in 1086 in connection with only 22 out of the 649 Domesday settlements in the North Riding: this figure of twenty-two has been arrived at by counting as one those entries where 1 mill was recorded in a linked entry for more than one place. In a composite entry covering a number of vills, the mill has been plotted for the first-named place. Their annual value was normally stated in shillings, and ranged from mills worth only 2s. each as, for example, at Dalby (Bolesford) (314), up to those which were worth 10s., as at Stokesley (331). Most of the entries were in the form i molendinum n solidorum, but a few specifically stated that the mills rendered a certain sum of money; land at Sowerby (Gerlestre) (299), for example, was cum molendino quod reddit xx solidos. No eel renders are given for any mill and no fractions of a mill are recorded …
All the twenty-two North Riding settlements with mills had only each; there were no groups of 2, 3 or more mills, as were found in the two other Ridings.
Fig. 37 shows how the mills were mainly aligned along the streams, but their general distribution, as opposed to the location of individual mills, is not quite what might be expected. The areas that probably had the most arable and the most dense population were not always the areas with the most mills; and conversely the areas that appear to have had the most mills were not those with the most arable or with the densest population … And, on the other hand, what happened about milling in the area around York, an area with no mills at all? Was the grain of villages without mills ground by hand, or taken elsewhere? Or is the Domesday record incomplete? While this last is not by any means an easy question to answer, the relative infrequency with which mills are recorded for the North Riding might lead us to suspect that in this respect, at least, the returns are very far from being complete.
Hardly any miscellaneous information is recorded in the North Riding entries. But the entry for Crooksby (311), which lies in the Pennines in a valley off Wensleydale, mentions moors: morae sunt ibi. Moors must have formed part of the land of very many North Riding wills, but why there should be only this exceptional reference to them in this Riding it is quite impossible to say.
(3) The North Yorkshire Moors
This upland region is built of Jurassic rocks, but there is a great difference between these and the Jurassic rocks of the south of England. Here, in the north, limestones are subordinate and the dominant rocks are grits, sandstones and shales. Though deeply dissected with narrow valleys, the region as a whole lies mostly more than 800 ft. above sea-level, rising in places to over 1,400 ft. In view of its general inhospitable character, the complete absence of Domesday vills is not surprising. How, or if, the region was utilised by the surrounding vills, we cannot say.
(7) The Coastal Fringe
Between the North Yorkshire Moors and the sea is a narrow coastal belt, generally some five miles or so in width except where tongues of lowland project westward up the valley of the Esk and the headwaters of the Derwent. Most of this area is covered with Boulder Clay. Except in the central part of the region, settlements were fairly numerous, but many of those in the north were uninhabited or waste in 1086. The density of teams nowhere rose above about 0.3 per square mile and that of population above 1. There was a fair amount of wood, especially in the north; the limited amount of meadow was entirely in the north, which also had the only mill in the region.
The Northern Counties (by H.C. Darby, Litt.D.)
Waste (at pages 450-454)
… The harrying was even more terrible than the specific references to waste might lead one to suppose.
It is one thing to regard the waste holdings of 1086 as being a consequence of William's campaigns; it is another thing to explain the relationship between cause and effect. F. H. Baring, in 1898, attributed the frequent post-Conquest reduction in values in southern England to the passage of William's forces. "It is obvious", he wrote, "that a large army living, as his did, on the country it passes through must move on a wide front and leave a broad strip of ravaged country behind". By analogy one might assume that the waste holdings of the north marked the 'footprints' of the Conqueror's forces, not only the incidental waste caused by a marching army but the deliberate ravaging in which it indulged. In southern England, most of the damaged holdings had recovered wholly or in part by 1086, but the desolation of the north was so complete that it was still evident in 1086. As Baring recognised, these ideas involve 'an element of conjecture'. The evidence certainly does not lend itself to interpretation in any rigid manner. There was not one army but several forces, and there must also have been foraging bands. And, again, local vicissitudes, for ever unknown to us, must have caused the depreciation or the wasting of this or that locality. But although it is impossible to mark on a map the exact routes taken by William's armies, the widespread damage they inflicted may well be directly reflected in the entries that now confront our eyes. Such is the argument based upon analogy with the lesser destruction that occurred in the south of England.
It has been held, however, that there is no simple and direct relationship between the distribution of waste holdings and the ravaging of William's soldiers in northern England. In particular, the presence of so many waste vills in the Pennine region has seemed to be strange; "it must appear remarkable that William's army should have indulged in no more than sporadic devastation of parts of the plain, while carrying fire and sword to remote upland settlements" (T. A. M. Bishop, 'The Norman Settlement of Yorkshire' in Studies in Mediaeval History presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke, ed. by R. W. Hunt, W. A. Pantin and F. W. Southern (Oxford, 1948), pp. 2-3.) It is Mr T. A. M. Bishop's view that the harrying took place mainly in the lowland districts, and that between 1079 and 1086 the peasantry of the vills of the uplands migrated to the empty vills in the more fertile plains; "many places shown as uninhabited in the survey were not devastated in 1069 and 1070 but abandoned between 1070 and 1086". The migration was not a spontaneous one but comprised a number of movements each initiated and controlled by a particular landowner for the benefit of his own estates. In support of this most interesting theory Mr Bishop points to a number of facts, and his ideas must now be discussed.
In the first place, there was much variation between the estates held by different people in the same vill. Thus at Rudston in the East Riding there were three holdings each assessed at 8 carucates. The holding of Richard de Surdeval (307) was waste; so was that held by Ralph Pagenel (325b), but Uctred's holding (331) had 5 villeins and 2 teams, and was worth l0s. On the other hand, it must be pointed out that there were sometimes wide variations in the different holdings of the same lord at the same place. Thus at Humburton in the North Riding one (330) of Gospatric's estates was waste, while the other (330) was tilled by 7 people with 3 teams and was worth 8s. It may therefore be inconclusive to read too much into the condition of the holdings of different lords at the same place.
In the second place, Mr Bishop says that there was a marked difference between the upland and lowland holdings of the same fief; the former were waste and the latter were mainly inhabited. This was in contrast to the greatly reduced condition of the holdings of those fiefs entirely or almost entirely in the lowland. Thus Ilbert de Laci's lands in the West Riding were divided between a waste group very largely in the uplands (i.e. over 400 ft.) and an inhabited group in the lowlands (Fig. 18). Count Alan's fief in the North Riding showed a similar contrast (Fig. 36). Moreover, very many of the lowland holdings of both fiefs were characterised by an excess of teams, and yet some had decreased in value between 1066 and 1086. It is probable that the inhabitants of such holdings had recently arrived and had not yet advanced far in clearing and cultivation. Ilbert de Laci's lowland holdings as a whole were worth 56% of their 1066 value, and those of Count Alan were worth 49%. Drogo de Bevrere's fief, in contrast, consisted entirely of lowland holdings in Holderness; these were almost all without excess teams and the fief as a whole had fallen to as low as 17% of its 1066 value.
There were, on the other hand, some entirely lowland fiefs that were no less prosperous than the lowland portions of those which straddled both lowland and upland. Hugh fitz Baldric's holdings were all or almost all below 400 ft., and yet they were characterised by excess teams and, as a whole, had declined to only 70% of their 1066 value (Fig. 133). Mr Bishop explains this by inferring that "as sheriff from 1069 to some time after 1080 Hugh had used his office to strip his master's estates of implements, cattle and men". Roger de Busli's fief was also mainly lowland in character; its holdings were likewise characterised by excess teams and they had declined to only 58% (Fig. 134). Mr Bishop explains this by suggesting, amongst other things, that some of the inhabitants had possibly come "from that portion of his fee which extended into north Nottinghamshire". We must add, however, that de Busli's Nottinghamshire estates at some 110 places were worth as much as 82% of their 1066 value, and that his Derbyshire estates at seven places were worth as much as 79%.
Clearly there must be much that is conjectural about any attempt to reconstruct the events of 1070-86; and any discussion that involves plough-lands is hindered by the possibility - Maitland's 'horrible suspicion' - that there might be a conventional element about them, or about some of them. We must add that there may be nothing intrinsically improbable in the wasting of 'remote upland settlements'. They were not as remote as all that, being almost all below the 800 ft. contour. Relatively inaccessible places in hostile country are those often most in need of subduing, because the plains can be more easily held. We have evidence of William's march across the Pennines, and of the hunger and dissatisfaction of his troops, in the wet winter of 1069-70. The devastated settlements of the uplands, that is of agriculturally marginal land, would be likely to carry longest the imprint of their harrying.
If only the folios for Yorkshire (and also those for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire) stated the values of holdings at the time when their Norman holders received them, we would then know what was the distribution of waste circa 1070 as opposed to that in 1086, and so could argue much more clearly about these matters. Fortunately we have this information for one northern county. The Cheshire folios state values for three dates - for 1066, for 1086, and for an intermediate date. From this information, we see that the devastation of Cheshire in 1070 was considerable, and that waste vills were abundant in upland and lowland alike (Fig. 104). By 1086, many of the lowland vills had recovered, but the upland vills still lay waste.
On balance, therefore, we must regard the presumed migration in Yorkshire during 1070-86 as being possible but difficult to prove conclusively. That some migration did take place between wasted and non-wasted vills is very likely. J. Beddoe and J. H. Rowe, in 1907, thought that "some of the Norman owners had lands in other counties, whence they have transferred some of the superfluous, or at least not greatly needed, population". Something of this sort might well have taken place in Yorkshire itself, but to what extent we cannot say. Nor, in the absence of further evidence, can we say that the upland vills were relatively untouched by William's armies.
Whatever the precise vicissitudes that lay behind the entries of the Yorkshire folios, the fact of large-scale desolation is certain enough. Fig. 132 leaves us in no doubt about the importance of devastation as an element in the economic geography of northern England in the eleventh century.
Appendix I at pages 458 & 459
The Yorkshire Folios, by I.S. Maxwell, M.A.
The Domesday Entries
The Summary (folios 379 - 382)
… It is likely that the Summary follows the order of the original returns more closely than the Text does. This is because it records the entries wapentake by wapentake or hundred by hundred, and was not (as the Text was) arranged according to the tenants-in-chief. Consequently, the entries in the Summary are arranged in a much more geographical order than are those in the Text. As an example of this, Fig. 135 shows all the entries entered in the Summary under Langeberge wapentake (380b). The wapentake is divided into three sections in the Domesday Book, and it can be seen from the map that the places recorded in these three sections lie in three geographically distinct blocks. The first entry in the first section, Figlinge (Fyling), (1 on Fig. 135) refers to the south-easternmost vill in Langeberge wapentake, while the last entry in the third section, Rontun (East Rounton), (114 on Fig. 135) refers to the vill situated farthest to the south-west. Furthermore, Fig. 135 clearly shows that many of the places were entered in a definite, geographical order.
Editor's note: we are here concerned with the first 14 entries which are, in "order of the original returns", as follows:
- Figlinge (Fyling Hall)
- Nortfigelin (Fylingthorpe)
- Ghinipe (Gnipe Howe)
- Witebi (Whitby)
- Prestebi (Prestby - lost)
- Normanebi (Normanby)
- Sneton (Sneaton)
- Uglebedesbi (Ugglebarnby)
- Sourebi (Sowerby - lost)
- Brecca (Breck - lost)
- Baldebi (Bauldbyes - lost)
- Florun (Flowergate - lost ?)
- Staxebi (Stakesby)
- Neueham (Newholm)
VIII The Age of Alfred
… The Norwegians were the furthest of the three peoples from any sense of political unity. The narrowness of their habitable lands, which made for their political disunion, was already impelling individuals to seek fortune or settlement oversea, and the first Scandinavian raiders who touched the English coast undoubtedly came from Norway. Between 786 and 802 three ships' companies from Horthaland put into shore at Portland, and killed the reeve of Dorchester, who rode up to ask their business. In 793 Lindisfarne was plundered by raiders from the north, and Jarrow was visited in the following year. But the main body of Norwegian adventurers passed round the north coast of Scotland to Ireland, establishing intermediate colonies in the Shetlands and Orkneys, Caithness and Sutherland, and the Hebrides. It was not until the tenth century that any considerable Norwegian settlements were founded in England, and they were only the result of a secondary migration from Norse colonies previously established in Ireland …
Editor's note: perhaps explaining the possible migration of individuals from Romsdal "to seek fortune or settlement" in and around Ramsdale.
VII. The distribution of the settlements with Scandinavian and scandinavianised names
8. The nationality of the Scandinavian settlers
Since the distribution of the Scandinavian place-names, in YW and YN suggests that some of the settlers there were Norwegians who came across the Pennines from Lancashire and the Lake District, it seems advisable to examine all the other evidence which can help to determine the nationality of the settlers in the county as a whole.
Very occasionally the place-name itself indicates a settlement of Norwegians or Danes. In YN there are four Normanbys, indicating settlements of Norwegians, and an Irby, which probably indicates a settlement of Norwegian vikings from Ireland. It is likely, too, that the two Birkbys or "býs of the Britons" in YN and YW mark Norwegian settlements for they can hardly represent isolated communities surviving from the British kingdom of Elmet. The Britons in question were most likely to have been Cumbrian Britons who had accompanied the Norwegians into Yorkshire. It must not be forgotten that the name Normanby indicates an isolated settlement of Norwegians or their associates in areas where the population was predominantly Danish. Isolated settlements of Norwegians in areas of predominantly English population are probably indicated by Normanton in YW and two Irtons in YN. Three Danbys in YN indicate isolated settlements of Danes, presumably in Norwegian-dominated areas, while Denaby and two Denbys, whose first elements are the OE genitive plurals Denigea and Dena "of the Danes", indicate settlements of Danes in areas of YW where English place-names are far more common than býs but where the Scandinavian loan-word bý must have entered the English language. The name Danthorpe indicates an isolated þorp of Danes. This vill is in Holderness, so the neighbours there were more probably English than Norwegian, in spite of the fact that the first element is Scandinavian in form and not OE.
All these names indicating isolated settlements of Norwegians or Danes provide what might almost be called negative evidence for settlement. The presence of Norwegians or Danes in the area in question was such an unusual feature that the description "the settlement of the Danes", for example, was sufficient to identify a particular vill. The Normanbys, Irby and Normanton are marked on Map 10 by the symbol ÷ and the Birkbys by the symbol B.
There are a number of place-names whose first element is either an Irish personal name or a typically West Scandinavian personal name. These suggest that the original tenant of the place in question was a Norwegian viking and thus perhaps that the settlers in the village and its neighbourhood were also of Norwegian or Irish extraction. These place-names are indicated on Map 10 by the symbols I (Irish) and N (Norwegian). It is possible, of course, that these names, too, indicate isolated settlements of Norwegians but, unlike names of the type Normanby, they do not necessarily do so. There may have been many other Norwegians in the area or, alternatively, the personal names in question may have been borne by men of Danish or English descent. There are three býs containing Irish personal names and 17 containing typically West Scandinavian ones. 13 þorps contain typically West Scandinavian personal names but there are no Irish personal names combined with þorp. Thurgoland contains the personal name þorgeirr, which is markedly more popular in West Scandinavia than East Scandinavia, and there are three of the hybrids in tun which contain typically West Scandinavian personal names, namely Brýningr (2) and Vikingr.
It might be thought that a surer indication of a West or East Scandinavian origin for a place-name would be given by the presence in the name of an element other than a personal name that is characteristic of Norwegian or Danish respectively. This is not so, however. The place-name element þorp has earlier been taken to be a Danish test-word (e.g. in PNE1 ii 206) but it seems likely that the Norwegian settlers in England borrowed the element from the Danes and adopted it into their daily language. The use of the element þorp is thus not in itself sufficient evidence to prove a Danish rather than a Norwegian origin for the settlement in question.
Sinderby contains the East Scandinavian form of the word for "southern", and Coniston and Coneysthorpe perhaps the East Scandinavian form of the word for "king".
It has already been noted that almost all the names which denote temporary settlements have been generally assumed to be of Norwegian origin. This applies to Golcar, Starkerghs and Selside in YW, Arram, Argam and Scorborough in YE, and Salescale, two Upsalls, Airy Hill, Airy Holme, Upsland and Eryholme in YN. Some of the elements in question, however, although not recorded in Danish place-names, do appear in place-names in Sweden and are not, therefore, unknown in East Scandinavian. Another possible explanation for such names is that they were given by Danes or Englishmen who had borrowed the West Scandinavian words to describe structures for which their own languages had no adequate terms.
There are four topographical names which contain the Irish loan-word cross, which was brought to England by the Norwegians from Ireland, and these names may have been coined by Norwegians. They are Osgoldcross, Staincross and Crosland in YW, and Sneculfcros in YE. The names could, however, equally well have been coined by Danes who had adopted the Irish loan-word from the Norwegians and the fact that three of the names are borne by wapentakes or hundreds suggests that cross had passed into general use among the Anglo-Scandinavians. Skerne YE, which was originally a river-name, may be a so-called memorial name, recalling the Norwegian river Skirna. Since it is more probable, however, that the name is simply a scandinavianisation of an OE river-name, its formation can equally well be ascribed to the Danes. The first element of Falsgrave YN is either the West Scandinavian appellative hváll "knoll" or this appellative used as a place-name. Another place-name which has been thought to be of Norwegian origin is Sedbergh, for Setberg occurs as a place-name in both Norway and Iceland but not in Denmark. That hváll and setberg are not recorded in Danish may simply be, of course, because the Danish landscape is not particularly hilly. There is no formal objection to these place-names being of Danish origin. Sedbergh may even be of English origin, for a Sedborough (DB Seteberge 106r) is found in Devon.
Kristian Hald considers (in KLNM sub voce by, 385-86, and sub voce Personnavne, 227) that the survival of genitive -ar indicates a Norwegian origin for a Scandinavian place-name in England. This genitive survives in seven býs, Aismunderby in YW, and Amotherby, Bellerby, Helperby, Marderby, Melmerby and Romanby in YN, four þorps, Barthorpe, Belthorpe, Burythorpe and Helperthorpe, all in YE, although DB indicates genitive -ar only for Barthorpe, Holderness in YE, and the hybrid Osmotherley in YN. Whereas these names may well be of Norwegian origin, it is not necessary to assume that they must be so. The genitive in -ar was still found in Danish at the time of the original settlements in England and its survival in the Danelaw would simply reflect the conservatism of the Danish language in a colonial area. Note that the DB form of Scorborough shows survival of a secondary genitive in -ar. This genitive, although it is secondary in the appellative in question, is the normal one in West Scandinavian. It is also, however, found in some Danish place-names containing the element skógr.
It should be noted that the survival of the diphthongs ei and au in the Yorkshire place-names is not an indication of West Scandinavian origin. These diphthongs were still found in Danish at the time of the colonisation and the subsequent East Scandinavian monophthongisation did not take place in the Danelaw (Cf. G. Fellows Jensen, "The scribe of the Lindsey Survey", NoB (1969) 67-71). The DB spellings of two of the four Sowerbys as Sorebi, of kaupmann in Copmanthorpe as Copeman, and of austr in Austhorpe as Osse- show English substitution of o for au (Cf. Fellows Jensen § 47i).
Breck YN has been considered to be a West Scandinavian name because it shows assimilation of nk to kk but since some West Danish dialects also show an early tendency to assimilate, it is not certain that this name was coined by Norwegians.
Variations in sound-developments and inflexions can, then, give us no certain indication of the nationality of the settlers. Typically Danish words such as þorp can be shown to have been adopted by the Norwegians. Typically Norwegian words were almost certainly taken over by the Danes to denote unfamiliar landscapes and unaccustomed farming-practices. It seems, therefore, that the only reliable indication of nationality is provided by place-names of the type Normanby and Danby. The place-names which contain typically West Scandinavian or Irish personal names, taken as a class, may also indicate Norwegian settlement but this is rather doubtful. Further, such place-names may, like the Normanbys, merely indicate isolated settlements of Norwegians. There is, in fact, very little certain evidence about the nationality of the Scandinavian settlers in the various parts of the county.
When the býs whose names in one way or another contain evidence that might point to Norwegian settlement are plotted on the map, it can be seen that the majority of them are in YN and that they are fairly evenly distributed over the whole of this area with the exception of the high ground. In all probability they represent in part settlements of Irish-Norwegians and in part settlements established by Norwegians coming directly over the North Sea and landing on the coast or in the Tees estuary. It is noticeable that two of the three býs containing Irish personal names lie far to the west of the county. The third name, Duggleby in YE, must represent a settlement made by an Irish-Norwegian coming from the Norse kingdom of York.
The þorps present a rather different picture. Whereas seven of the names which indicate a West Scandinavian settlement are found in YN and YW, the other six are in YE. It is noticeable that the names in YE are borne by places lying on or near the Roman roads leading from York and Malton. They probably represent expansion from the kingdom of York. No þorps with West Scandinavian first elements are found in the southern half of YE. Danthorpe, as mentioned above, probably indicates a settlement of Danes in an English area.
Thurgoland is in a Pennine valley in YW, while the three hybrids in tun which contain a typically West Scandinavian personal name are in YN.
The býs containing typically East Scandinavian elements are more scattered and widespread than the ones indicating Norwegian settlement. The majority (16) are in YN but there are five in YE and four in YW. Little can be concluded from this distribution except that the Danes would seem to have settled in all parts of the county. It should be noted, however, that three out of the four place-names in YW indicate isolated settlements of Danes in areas dominated by the English.
Of the 12 þorps containing East Scandinavian elements, seven are in YE and two of the others are not far across the borders in YW and YN. Only one name, Swarthorpe, is to be found at any distance from YE, namely in the west of YN.
VIII. The age of the settlements with Scandinavian and scandinavianised names and of the names themselves
… 3. The administrative evidence
… (e) lost villages
The fact that many þorps recorded in DB and other early sources have since disappeared was one of the arguments adduced by Hugh Smith in support of his translation of the element þorp as "dependent secondary settlement" (in PNEl ii 208-09). He considered that a vill that had disappeared could have been no more than a very minor settlement. In the case of Yorkshire, however, it would be unwise to assume automatically that the lost villages were all only minor settlements. Devastation, depopulation, enclosure and land erosion have all contributed to the eventual disappearance of well-established villages. There were raids by Danes in 1069 and 1075, and by Scots in 1070, and the Normans carried out a methodical destruction in the winter of 1069-70. It was once thought that the DB account of waste land in 1086 presented a picture of the path taken by the Conqueror's army in this winter campaign. It has been argued by T. A. M. Bishop (in "The Norman Settlement in Yorkshire", Studies in Medieval History Presented to F. M. Powicke, 1948,1-14.), however, that many of the places shown as waste and uninhabited in 1086 were not devastated in 1069-70 but abandoned between 1070 and 1086. The pattern of depopulated and repopulated villages in Yorkshire in 1086 was determined by the efforts of some of the tenants-in-chief to revive those areas of their fees which either contained the best land for arable farming or were of strategic importance for defence against the Scots. Settlements in fertile areas such as the Vale of Pickering, the middle Derwent valley, Holderness, and the plain to the west of York and Selby, and such strategically important settlements as Melsonby and Kirkby Malzeard may well have been repopulated or increased in size as part of this Norman recolonisation. It might well be argued, however, that the settlements on fertile land or in positions of military importance were probably of considerable size before the devastation and subsequent recolonisation, whereas the abandoned settlements, many of which lay in the Pennines and on the Moors, were probably minor settlements. It would be uneconomic to repopulate these, so long as more fertile land was available for colonisation as a result of the earlier devastation of the county.
There is a record of a further devastation instigated by the Conqueror in Yorkshire. In 1085, under threat of invasion by Knut of Denmark, William gave orders for the carrying out of a burnt earth policy in the coastal areas of the eastern counties. This was in order to prevent any invaders from acquiring supplies (ASC E s.a. 1085). It is not known whether this policy was, in fact, carried out and Domesday Book records no waste in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and not very much along the coast of Lincolnshire (Cf. DGEE 377 and map on p.73). The situation in Yorkshire in 1086, however, is rather different. There are numerous waste settlements along the coast of the North and East Ridings and the mouth of the Humber (Cf. DGNE map on p.445). Some of these may well have been devastated as recently as 1085.
Seven of the names in bý in the coastal regions are borne by so-called lost villages, namely Grimsby in Langbargh East W, Baldby, Prestby and Sowerby in Whitby Strand Wapentake, Killerby and Stemanesbi in Pickering Lythe Wapentake, and Andrebi in Holderness. Four of these vills were recorded as being waste in 1086, namely Grimsby, Baldby, Stemanesbi and Killerby, while two more, Prestby and Sowerby, are recorded as belonging to a manor whose dependent settlements were "pene omnia wasta". There are also a number of lost þorps in these regions but a few of them are known to have been lost as the result of erosion by the sea and the Humber. Northorpe was washed away by the sea before 1369 and Tharlesthorpe overwhelmed by the Humber in 1393 (DGNE 174 and T. Sheppard, The Lost Towns of the Yorkshire Coast, 1912, 87-89, 118. It should be noted at this point that the Scandinavian settlements in Yorkshire coincided with a period when the Humber shore and the banks of the tributary creeks were higher and drier than they are now and hence more attractive as landing-places and settlement sites (Cf. G. de Boer, "Eastern Yorkshire: The Geographical Background to Early Settlement", The Fourth Viking Congress, ed. Alan Small, 1965, 209). There was also erosion at Hilderthorpe and Wilsthorpe but the loss of these two vills would in fact seem to be due to desertion by the Augustinian priory of Bridlington (Beresford 63, 70). There remain to be considered five lost þorps along the coast of YN (Eterstorp, Roberthorpe, Scage(s)torp, Arnodestorp and Roscheltorp) and five along the coast of YE (Ricstorp, Southorpe, Arnestorp, Welwick Thorpe and Chrachetorp). In YN Roscheltorp was recorded as waste in 1086, while Eterstorp, Roberthorpe and Scage(s)torp were in a manor described as mostly waste. In YE Chrachetorp was waste in 1086, while Southorpe and Arnestorp were in manors whose values had depreciated strikingly between TRE and 1086. There is a single lost hybrid in tūn on the coast of YE, namely Grimston Garth, but this vill has been the victim of coastal erosion and enclosure and probably not of William's devastation.
The devastation of Yorkshire by the Conqueror created opportunities for subsequent colonisation and these were grasped by the Cistercian monks in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It has previously been thought that there was considerable depopulation of villages by the religious houses, particularly the Cistercian Abbeys, in connection with the establishment of the houses themselves and the cultivation of the land attached to their granges (Cf. R. A. Donkin, "Settlement and Depopulation on Cistercian Estates during the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, especially in Yorkshire", Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research Vol. XXXIII no. 88, 1960, 141-65). In some instances the fact that the inhabitants of a village were evicted has been recorded, e.g. from Bracewell, but it is significant that 44% of all known twelfth-century Cistercian granges in Yorkshire lay within the lands of vills that were wholly or partly waste in 1086 and where there may not have been any inhabitants at the time when they were taken over by the abbeys. Easby in Baldersby is an instance of a settlement that was waste in 1086 and incorporated into a grange circa 1189-99. Thorpe Underwood was also waste in 1086, however, and yet it was necessary to carry out wholesale evictions from it in 1175. In spite of such evidence for depopulation, recent work on the grange has revealed that far from rejecting local assistance, the Cistercians normally recruited local labour for the working of their granges and, where there was no village near at hand, often established a substitute community (Cf. Colin Platt, The Monastic Grange in Medieval England. A Reassessment, 1969, 82-92). Although depopulation did occasionally occur preparatory to the founding of a grange, this can seldom have been complete and never permanent. With the collapse of the grange, however, there would be a tendency for the social organisation around it to disintegrate and many of the grange-sites were probably deserted in the fifteenth century. This fact may well account for the loss of some villages which were comparatively prosperous before the Cistercians took them over. According to Donkin, about half of the sites of granges in Yorkshire are noted by Beresford as lost villages. The following following places with names in bý are known to have been sites of, or incorporated in, Cistercian granges:
Ainderby Quernhow, Baldersby, Barrowby, Baxby, Birkby (Allerton), Great and Little Busby, Crosby, Denby (Agbrigg), Dromonby, Easby (Birdforth), Fixby, Flotmanby, Hunmanby, Kirby Hall, Kirby Wiske, Osgodby, Willerby. Nine of these eighteen býs are so-called lost villages.
There are other býs which may have been lost as a result of passing into the hands of religious houses. It is known that the site of Bordelby was occupied by Mount Grace Charterhouse (founded 1396) and that of Easby (Gilling) by Easby Abbey (Premonstratensian, founded circa 1155), and that Barnaby was a grange of Guisborough Priory (Augustinian). The býs were not the only type of settlement to be taken over by the religious houses. Ellenthorpe (Birdforth), Laysthorpe, Ravensthorpe and Thorpe Underwood were the sites of Cistercian granges (Donkin 143, 159-62). Allerthorpe (Halikeld) was the site of first a Premonstratensian priory and then a grange (Beresford 294). Fors became the first site of Jervaulx Abbey (Cistercian). Griff was a grange of Rievaulx (Cistercian), Islebeck a grange of Byland (Cistercian), and lands at Carlton in Stockton were held by both Rievaulx and St. Mary's Abbey (Benedictine).
Some vills were probably destroyed or decimated in the Scottish wars, e.g. Baldersby, where the grange was broken up in 1336 (Donkin 143). The estates were run down and the monastery buildings may have served as the nucleus of a new village settlement. Thorpe Underwood was devastated in 1363 and the monastic estate there broken up. Tradition has it that the Scots burned the church in Leake in 1318 (Beresford 302).
Some villages fell victim to enclosure, such as Hornby, Hang (Beresford 300) and Thirkleby, Buckrose (Beresford 68), Caythorpe, which was enclosed by Sir Thomas Fairfax in the early sixteenth century after twenty people had been evicted and five houses destroyed (Beresford 59), and Benningholme (Beresford 58), while others were depopulated to make way for parks, such as Sewerby (Beresford 68), Raventhorpe, which was probably destroyed to make way for an enlargement of Leconfield Park (Beresford 67), Scorborough (Beresford 67), Azerley (Beresford 233), and Hinderskelfe (Beresford 300).
Some vills may have lost their populations as a result of the Black Death, e.g. Cowlam (Beresford 6o) and Gardham (Beresford 61), or been depopulated, probably to make way for sheep, e.g. Hanging Grimston (Beresford 62), Bracken (Beresford 58), Eastburn (Beresford 6o), Skeckling (Beresford 68), or Dale Town (Beresford 297).
It can be seen, then, that the loss of some villages may well have occurred even if they had been old, well-established settlements at the time of DB. It still seems reasonable, however, to assume that the majority of the settlements which have been lost were comparatively minor ones. These would have been particularly vulnerable to devastation and presented less of a problem to landlords, spiritual or temporal, who wished to depopulate them. The total number of lost vills with names of a certain type can thus give some indication of the age of the settlements with such names as a class, although it is not possible to say that any individual lost village must have been a young settlement.
A table is given below of the percentages of lost vills in the various groups of names in Yorkshire. For the purposes of the present survey the term "lost village" embraces not only villages whose sites can no longer be identified but also villages whose sites are now marked by a solitary house or farm or archaeological remains.
YN YE YW Y 42 tūns of type Grimston 2 or 13% 3 or 18% 2 or 20% 12% 58 tūns of type Carlton 2 or 8% 1 or 4% 5% 145 other hybrid names 11 or 38% 6 or 14% 15 or 20% 22% býs 48 or 36% 12 or 31% 12 or 32% 34% þorps 29 or 67% 42 or 62% 18 or 41% 57% Other Scandinavian names 24 or 46% 13 or 33% 18 or 42% 41%
The figure of 38% for the lost villages with hybrid names other than those in tūn in YN is much higher than those for such hybrid names in the other two ridings. This is because it includes the five names of parts of the parishes in the Vale of Pickering. If these names are omitted from the statistics, the percentage of lost names in this group in YN is 24. When this adjustment has been made, it is revealed that the percentages of lost vills among the scandinavianised and hybrid names in all three ridings are markedly lower than among the Scandinavian names, that the hybrids in inn whose first elements are Scandinavian personal names are, as a class, less stable than the other hybrid tūns and thus probably include some young formations, that lost villages among the býs are proportionately fewer than among the other Scandinavian names, that in YN and YE, lost vills among the þorps are strikingly numerous, and that as with the parish-names, there is less difference between the percentages for býs and for þorps in YW than in the other two ridings. These figures tend to confirm the picture of the progress of the Danish settlement that has been suggested by other kinds of evidence.
Review by John McN. Dodgson, (1974-7) Saga Book Vol. XIX at pages 339 to 343
Stirring movements are in progress in English place-name studies. 'English place-name studies' meaning, of course, the study of the place-names of England, be they British, Welsh, English, Scandinavian, Irish, French or pre-Celtic. On one front those of us interested in the process by which "Britain" became "England & Wales" are seeking to establish typological stratifications by which the place-name evidence may be calibrated against the historical and archaeological evidences. On another, specific typological studies and monographs are being produced, e.g. Karl Inge Sandred's "English Place-Names in -stede", and Urs Wagner's work now in progress on place-names in þrop, þorp. On a third, there is quite an industry busy with the identification and interpretation of the memorials of the Scandinavian settlements in England: foremost at the moment in the study of the onomastic element in this field are Kenneth Cameron and Gillian Fellows Jensen. The latter now follows up her Scandinavian Personal Names in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire (1968) with another monumental study. The footnote equipment in the introductory chapter provides titles for a good course of reading; the bibliography is excellent and choice; at pp. 252-61 there is an Appendix which forms in itself an important revision of the list of Scandinavian place-names in Yorkshire; there is a great index of place-names; so here we are given a good book and a good continuation all at once.
The book announces two main aims. The first is to see what the place-names of Yorkshire can reveal about Scandinavian settlement in Yorkshire in the period from the ninth to the eleventh centuries; the second to examine the practice followed by the settlers not only when naming new settlements created by them but also when coping with the already existing names of the settlements they took over from the English. Since there is very little historical evidence for the early period of settlement, our knowledge of the original settlements and of the subsequent relations between the colonists and the native English depends largely on the interpretation of the place-name evidence.
In this book the discussion of place-names is limited to those that are recorded in the Domesday Book, supplemented by relevant earlier compilations which give the names of those berewicks, etc., mentioned but not named in Domesday Book. The place-names treated in this work are not only the entirely Scandinavian ones, but also English names which had been subjected to Scandinavian linguistic influence before 1086. Chapter II deals with 210 place-names in by; Chapter III with place-names in þorp; Chapter IV, place-names in búð, gerði;i, laða, salr, skáli, sætr, toft, œrgi, flórr, hús, loft-hús; Chapter V, place-names of a hybrid character, whose final element is OE tūn but with a first element which is either Scandinavian or scandinavianised; Chapter VI, other hybrid or scandinavianised types.
About by place-names, Dr Fellows Jensen finds (pages 16-17) this:
"The most striking feature about the first elements of the Yorkshire place-names in bý is the dominance of personal names. Place-names with personal names as first element probably indicate settlements established or tenanted by individual men. The majority of these men must have been Scandinavians but the seven place-names containing OE personal names may indicate younger settlements established by Englishmen at a period when the relationship between the Danes and the English had become comparatively peaceful. These OE personal names may, alternatively, have been borne by men of Scandinavian descent or the place-names may represent an adaptation by the vikings of original OE place-names in tūn. Similarly, if some of the býs are younger settlements, some of the men whose Scandinavian personal names are contained in them may have been of English descent … The dominance of personal names as first elements is in marked contrast to the situation in Denmark, where the majority of the place-names in -bý have as first element an appellative, frequently one indicating some natural feature or vegetation. In Denmark this type of name has been taken to indicate a collective settlement and it seems likely that the Yorkshire predominance of names containing personal names over names containing appellatives indicates that the Scandinavian settlement in England was basically different from the kind of settlement of land that took place in the Scandinavian homelands."
In fact, Dr Jensen observes, bý in England is used for "village" in the Danish areas, but possibly for "single farmstead" in the Norwegian-settled areas. Here (p. 6) she might have compared such examples as Frankby in Cheshire (The Place-Names of Cheshire, Pt. 4, EPNS 4l, 287). On place-names in þorp she concludes (pp. 52-3) that the majority indicate secondary settlements made by the men whose names appear as first element; that almost no þorp place-names indicate collective settlements; that the fact that a few of these place-names contain Continental Germanic personal names shows that þorp remained in use as a place-name-forming element into the eleventh century; that it was still current even later than the compilation of Domesday Book, since numerous names in porp are first recorded at later dates; that it is thus not necessary to assume that all place-names in porp were coined by Scandinavians.
At pages 109 ff., in Chapter V, there appears an important discussion of place-names in tūn with a Scandinavian first element, i.e. the "Grimston hybrids" Here reference is made, rightly, to Kenneth Cameron's article in England before the Conquest I (ed. P. Clemoes and Kathleen Hughes, 1971), 147-63. The model of Cameron's various studies on "Scandinavian Settlement in the Territory of the Five Boroughs" inspires Chapter VIII where among other things the importance of site geology is illustrated. It is observed (page 109) that there is a characteristic distribution of "Grimston hybrids" on the edges of areas in which bý and þorp names are most frequent. Dr Jensen sets out the two explanations, first that these names denote English vills taken over by Danes and whose names have been adapted to Danish models, and second, that these names mark a movement of Danes away from the areas where they were numerous enough to dominate the local population linguistically as well as politically. She also brings into the discussion three factors not always borne in mind:
- the existence of place-names in tūn in Scandinavia, and the likelihood of the invaders recognising it as a place-name-forming suffix;
- the distribution of place-names in tūn in Yorkshire;
- the Yorkshire Domesday Book place-names in tūn whose first element either is a Scandinavian word other than a personal name or else shows traces of Scandinavian linguistic influence.
The discussion is summarized pp. 120-1:
"It seems clear that the invading Vikings sometimes took over not only a settlement, but also its OE name. This name, however, was often adapted to a form that was less alien to the Danes. This could be done either by the substitution of cognate or similar Scandinavian elements for the original ones or simply by altering the pronunciation. Place-names are given in the first place by the neighbours of the settlements and the form taken by a p.n. through the years is the result of the neighbours' adaptation of it. The scandinavianisation of an OE p.n. cannot, therefore, be ascribed to the mere fact that one or two Danes were in a position of authority in the settlement itself. The Scandinavian p.ns., unlike the Norman-French ones, were not given deliberately by an aristocracy. The Danes must have been numerous enough in the areas surrounding their settlements to be able to impose their form or pronunciation of a p.n. upon any surviving Englishmen … The p.ns, whose DB forms show vacillation between OE and Scandinavian forms, e.g. stān/steinn, middell/meðal, may indicate that in the areas in question neither the Danes nor the English were sufficiently strong to be entirely linguistically dominant."
This is what the book is all about: it is a contribution to the debate which runs back to page 11 of Peter Sawyer's The Age of the Vikings (1962). Of course, Dr Fellows Jensen enters the proper cautions: the scandinavianized or hybrid place-names may be altered versions of older English names, but they could be younger formations coined by the Anglo-Scandinavian population of Yorkshire in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Since scandinavianisation of place-names can be shown to have taken place as late as the thirteenth century (p. 139), caution must be shown when using scandinavianized place-names as evidence for Viking colonization. The conclusion to be drawn from typology and distribution-patterns is stated at p. 250:
"A study of the situations enjoyed by the vills with Scandinavian, hybrid and scandinavianized names confirms that many, if not the majority, of the hybrid and scandinavianized names are borne by older English vills whose names had been adapted by the invading Scandinavians, There is little about the sites of the settlements, however, to suggest that vills with Scandinavian names may also be older English settlements … The situations of the majority of the býs suggest that these vills mark the subsequent occupation by the Danes of the best available vacant land. They were sometimes established in completely virgin areas but sometimes edged in on vacant plots between existing English villages. A third stage in the colonisation, characterised by the exploitation of land less immediately favourable for agriculture, seems to be marked by the establishment of þorps and of vills with Scandinavian names that originally denoted temporary settlements."
Important etymological material is contained in the place-name lists at pp. 17 ff., 53 ff., 125 ff., 141 ff., 252 ff.: space precludes its discussion here, but students of the Viking settlement and of English place-names will need to add a number of corrections to their Place-Name Society volumes for Yorkshire.
I have one or two minor quibbles to enter, which arise from no fault of Dr Fellows Jensen, but from the tremendous speed at which the revisions of place-name "technology" are taking place. Map I (p. 172) and the relevant discussion will not be accurate on the -hām, -ingaham types; in addition to Dr Barrie Cox's article in Journal of the English Place-Name Society 5 (1973), 15-73, there will be the work on Yorkshire settlement patterns now in progress by Miss Margaret Faull at Leeds; and a piece of my own in Anglo-Saxon England 2 (1973) involving an analysis of hām in S.E. England, and a development of Margaret Gelling's study of place-names in OE hamm in Namn och Bygd (1960), 140-62. At pp. 259-60, s.n. Wharram, it may be noted that Dr Margaret Gelling would not now be so certain of the northern limit of distribution of OE hamm as she was in 1960.
Review by A. M. J. Perrott, (1978-81) Saga Book Vol. XX at pages 325 to 328
Scandinavian settlement names in the East Midlands is the third of Gillian Fellows Jensen's volumes in the Navnestudier-series published by the Institut for Navneforskning in Copenhagen. Scandinavian personal names in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire appeared in 1968, and this was followed in 1972 by Scandinavian settlement names in Yorkshire. Dr. Fellows Jensen has followed the pattern of study which she established in 1972, to complement the works on the East Midlands by Cameron and Cox, with a detailed discussion of the Scandinavian and Scandinavianized place-names of the area, in the light of recent British and Scandinavian toponymic and historical research. In the preface to this new work Dr. Fellows Jensen states that "constant revision of earlier views seems to be the rule of the day" and she has considerably modified her theories both as regards the etymological interpretation of the place-name material and their historical application. In particular, she has developed a 'topographical' approach to place-name etymology as expounded by her in two articles in the mid-70s: 'English place-names such as Doddington and Donnington (1974)' … 'Personal name or appellative? A new look at some Danelaw place-names' (1976 for 1975), 445-58.
As noted, the arrangement of the material in 'Scandinavian settlement names in the East Midlands' follows very closely that of the volume for Yorkshire. The introductory material at the beginning of each chapter repeats the wording of the earlier work, with the inclusion of selected sentences revealing recent developments and with the substitution of the East Midlands names and statistics for the Yorkshire counterparts. The recent volume has an equally splendid array of distribution maps, and probably more analyses in tabular form showing the different name-types and their frequencies in the various divisions and counties of the East Midlands. A change in terminology is introduced with the use of 'specific' and 'generic' for 'first' and 'second element'. Dr. Fellows Jensen argues that the new terms more adequately describe the function of the elements concerned, and can be applied to the so-called 'inversion compounds' of Celtic origin in which the normal order of elements is reversed. The label 'Scandinavian settlement names' includes hybrid names and English names which have been subjected to Scandinavian linguistic influence. The eight chapter division is preserved; an introductory chapter is followed by an analysis of place-names in bý and þorp in chapters 2 and 3; and the remaining Scandinavian names are discussed in chapter 4; chapter 5 deals with names containing Old English tūn and Scandinavian specific; chapter 6 with Scandinavian and hybrid names; and the last two chapters are devoted to a discussion of the distribution of settlements with Scandinavian and Scandinavianized names and to a study of the possible age of the names and the settlements they denote. Each of the first six chapters, which present place-name material, begins with a discussion of the relevant 'generic' and an analysis of the 'specific', followed by a treatment of the individual names. These are arranged in alphabetical order in their present day spellings or, in the case of lost names, in their Domesday Book forms. An original feature of the East Midland volume is the inclusion of a separate discussion, with appendix, of names first recorded between 1150 and 1500. There is also some rearrangement of material within the chapters - more attention has been given to the Domesday Book representation of the elements in chapters 2 and 3; and the several categories of evidence for dating the names are divided into two groups of 'linguistic' and 'non-linguistic'.
Dr. Fellows Jensen's change in her interpretative approach is far more distinctive than her formal alterations in presentation. The book's preference for a derivation from an appellative rather than from a personal name is probably its most significant feature. This may be seen as the product of the recent revival among Scandinavian scholars of the approach to place-name interpretation which was adopted in the 1930s by Zachrisson. According to these principles, more English place-names should be derived from topographical terms and appellatives and fewer from personal names. Dr. Fellows Jensen first applied these ideas to the interpretation of English and Scandinavian place-names in the two earlier articles mentioned above, and now finds only 131 or 39% of the East Midland býs which certainly contain a Scandinavian or English personal name. A singular ing derivation, for example, is suggested for Skillington, Beltisloe, rather than Ekwall's tribal name scillingas. The replacement in the etymologies of a personal name by an appellative is more typical. The Lincolnshire coastal name Skegness is derived from the Scandinavian appellative skegg, 'beard', rather than the Scandinavian personal name Skeggi, as suggested by Ekwall. The word has the sense of 'something jutting out', referring to the headland which is also recorded in the second element, nes; the same appellative is found in the two Nottinghamshire Skegbys. The Old English appellative rand, 'border' (Old Icelandic rond, Danish rand, 'ridge') with reference to the village site on the edge of a ridge, is given as a more likely etymology for the lost vill of Ranby in Lincolnshire than the personal-name Randi.
The small streams which rise to the north and south of Bigby in Lincolnshire lead Dr. Fellows Jensen away from the personal name Bekki to the genitive plural of the Scandinavian appellative bekkr for the etymology of this name. An appellative is particularly preferred if the previously suggested personal name is not common in Scandinavia, or not recorded independently in England, or if the situation favours a topographical explanation.
Generally, Dr. Fellows Jensen gives a masterly, fresh and open-minded approach to etymologies. The aim is as much, to quote from her article in Onoma, "to plead for greater comprehensiveness in the interpretation of place-names", as it is to provide a whole-hearted attempt to redress the balance in English place-name studies in favour of a topographical explanation after Zachrisson's extreme viewpoint. The desire to search for topographical derivations does not drastically alter the established picture of the meaning of Scandinavian place-names in this country. In the last sentence of the book, Dr. Fellows Jensen describes the characteristic Danelaw place-name as still
"consisting of a personal name plus a habitative generic such as tūn, bý, or þorp".
Some weaknesses in her argument may be suggested. The topographical etymology hinges on a rejection of the accepted view in English place-name scholarship that a place-name which is in genitival composition is more likely to contain a personal name than any other first element. On page 7 Dr. Fellows Jensen argues that
"the mere fact that a place-name is in a genitival compound in Domesday Book can in itself tell us nothing about the nature of the specific"
that genitival inflexions could be lost before a name was recorded in Domesday Book, and that
"there do not seem to be any hard-and-fast rules for composition in place-names … morphological variation makes it inadvisable to attempt to determine the nature of the specific on the basis of the mode of composition".
Again, on page 27:
"I have tended to prefer an appellative, even in genitival compositions, whereas older scholars have preferred a personal name".
This refusal to accept the evidence of the genitival ending may be exaggerated: Tengstrand's reaction of 1940 in A contribution to the study of genitival composition in Old English place-names, (1940) is still valid today - that Zachrisson's views are only correct on
"the assumption that the genitive singular of descriptive words played an enormous part in Old English place-name formation".
Moreover, no reference is made to the correlation, which the author has previously referred to in 'Personal name or appellative? A new look at some Danelaw place-names', between asyntactic formation (zero or -e- formation) with compound personal names and genitival with simplex. There are also some inconsistencies. Although, on page 7, she rejects the evidence of mode of composition, she does not hesitate to draw on the lack of such formal criteria in support of an appellatival derivation. In discussing Barkwith, she argues that the Scandinavian personal-name Barkr is a formally satisfactory explanation, but that the
"complete absence of any trace of gen[itive] ending"
makes it perhaps more likely that the first element is the appellative Old Icelandic borkr, 'bark'. Many of the names are derived from appellatives which are found in Scandinavian names. Why draw a parallel with the Continent when none seems to be obvious? The author admits on page 27:
"Even if the minimum figure of 40 pct. of the býs containing personal names is accepted, this is still four times as large as the figure for býs in Denmark containing personal names".
The importance of the volume as a discussion of the significance of the place-names is two-fold. Dr. Fellows Jensen has both applied earlier methods and consolidated new interpretative techniques. Thus she extends to the East Midlands the methods perfected by Cameron in Scandinavian settlement in the territory of the Five Boroughs: the place-name evidence, (1965), and applied to Yorkshire in 1972 by the author herself, of relating place-names to the drift geology of a region. She gives on pages 306-28 a detailed examination of the relationship between settlement, topography and drift geology only after prefacing this on page 301 with a reference to the now recognized inadequacies of small scale geological maps when used in isolation. Her conclusions are substantially the same as those of the Yorkshire survey of 1972 which confirmed Cameron's 3-tier chronology of hybrid, bý, and þorp names, but with a distinct modification of these theories. The summary on page 368 begins:
"Seen against the background of recent studies which have suggested that the Vikings must have arrived in an England that had already been extensively settled and brought under cultivation by the English and whose parochial and administrative boundaries were largely of pre-Viking and possibly pre-English origin, the Scandinavian settlement names in England are capable of a more sophisticated interpretation than that offered in my study of the Yorkshire names."
The significance of such studies for place-name research is that the býs and þorps are now seen as stages in the detachment of small units of settlement from old estate centres, rather than secondary and tertiary colonisation involving occupation of the best available land. The ideas of Dr. Fellows Jensen, and those of scholars writing in the last decade (which are fully reviewed in this volume) indicate a revolution in thinking about the Scandinavian settlement of this country. We have come very far from the arguments of 1962, when Peter Sawyer in The age of the Vikings (1st ed., 1962) described the settlement in terms of an expansion and extension by descendants of the Viking military leaders.
The earliest permanent settlement of the Viking invaders in this country is recorded in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the annal for 876 when a Danish army settled in Northumbria. The settlement there, however, was apparently restricted to Yorkshire, and in particular to the Vale of York. In the following year part of Mercia was occupied, presumably the district of the five boroughs of Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Stamford and Lincoln, and some three years later East Anglia was occupied. These three areas of England were settled by Viking armies, mostly composed of Danes, and later known as the Danelaw, i.e. the area subject to Danish law.
… The settlers in eastern England are usually referred to as Danes and, indeed, the general history of the Danelaw shows this to be true. At the same time, however, place-names indicate that Frisians and Norwegians were also present. Later, some of the Danes moved westwards from their kingdom with its centre at York into parts of Cumbria, as well as into parts of Lancashire and Cheshire. But in all these districts settlements were made by men of Norwegian origin, who had formerly lived in Ireland or the Isle of Man. In 901 such a settlement was made in the Wirral, and there were others in Cumberland and in parts of Lancashire during the first half of the i oth century. From Cumbria they moved eastwards to establish a Norwegian kingdom at York, but such place-name evidence as there is for this is found particularly in the North Riding, much less so in the East and West Ridings.
In the north-west too several distinctively Norwegian words are found, which occur only rarely elsewhere. Brekka, fell, gil and slakki have been noted in other chapters, but here we can add bað "booth, temporary shelter". This is normally represented by such early spellings as bouthe and buthe, whereas the corresponding Old Danish both has usually given Middle English both(e). The first is the source of Bewcastle (Cu), Bowerdale (Cu), Bouth (La) and Bootham in York, this last from the dative plural. The Danish word on the other hand is the source of Booth (Db, La), Hay Booth (La) "enclosure with a booth", and Dunnishbooth (La), and Thurlowbooth (Db) from the personal names Dunning and Thurlak.
A similar word is sætr "mountain pasture, shieling", as in Amble-side (We) "river sandbank", Appersett (NRY) "apple-tree", Selside (We) "willow" and Summerseat (La) and Wintersett (WRY), denoting shielings used only in summer and winter respectively, as well as Arkleside (NRY) and Hawkshead (La), of which the first elements are the Scandinavian personal names Arnkell and Haukr, and Oughterside (Cu) from the Old English Ühtred.
Old Norwegian skáli, dialectal scale, "temporary hut or shed" has given Scales (Cu, La) and Scholes (WRY) but occurs occasionally as far south as Scole (Nf). In addition, there is Bowscale (Cu) "hut on the curved hill", Portinscale, with a first element meaning "prostitute", Seascale "sea" and Winscales "wind(y)", in Cumberland; Brinscal1 "burnt", Feniscowles "muddy" and Loudscales "on the River Loud", in Lancashire; Holmescales "belonging to Holme", in Westmorland; Gammersgill "Gamall's hut", in the North Riding; and Summerscales (identical with Summersgill La) and Winterscales, huts used in summer and winter respectively, in the West Riding.
A further feature of the Scandinavian place-names of the northwest and of parts of Yorkshire is the survival of the genitive singular -ar- as -er-, as in Beckermet, Bowderdale and Harter Fell in Cumberland; Winderwath "Vinand's ford" and Witherslack "valley of the wood" in Westmorland; Amounderness "Agmundr's headland", Litherland "land of the slope" and Harterbeck "stream of the hart", in Lancashire; Amotherby and Bellerby in the North Riding; Holderness in the East Riding; and Aismunderby and Beckermonds in the West Riding. Elsewhere, the formation is by no means so common, but occurs occasionally in Lincolnshire, as in Dalderby "farmstead of the valley".
… A few names containing Old Scandinavian holmr, holmi "island, water-meadow, dry land in a fen" survive as Hulme (Ch, La, St) and, as second element, Kettleshulme (Ch) and Levenshulme (La), with the personal names Ketil and Leofwine. These forms in hulme were till recently thought to represent the distinctively Danish spelling of the word, hulm; and hulm(e) is in fact found in the early spellings of many more names which are today spelt holme. It has now been demonstrated, however, that the -u- spellings either reflect a traditional medieval scribal tradition or represent a Middle English dialect form, and so they can no longer be used as evidence for Danish as distinct from Norwegian settlement.
There are, of course, many place-name elements which could equally well be either Danish or Norwegian, as for example by, the commonest Scandinavian element in English place-names, and found in all parts of the Danelaw as well as in the north-west, where it was certainly a living word in the early Middle English period. Its meaning is "farmstead or village" and as a rule it is impossible to decide which is the exact sense in any particular name. In Cumberland, Westmorland and the North Riding, however, it still often denotes individual farms, and Professor Hugh Smith has suggested that this usage is rather Norwegian than Danish. But in general the nationality of the settlers can only be determined when the first element is an Old Irish personal name, and therefore to be associated with Norwegian settlement, or one used only by the Danes, not by the Norwegians, and denoting Danish settlement.
Scandinavian by is particularly common as the final element, but is rare as a first element, and is not found at all in the simplex form By. It is, however, sometimes difficult to distinguish between a Scandinavian compound and one consisting of an English and the Scandinavian word. For example, the first element of Fenby (L) "fen", Moorby (L) "moor" and Smisby (Db) "smith" could be derived from either a Scandinavian or an English word, and in these cases the former is perhaps more likely. On the other hand, there are some names of which the first element is definitely Old English - Brooksby (Lei) "of the brook", Riby (L) "rye", Walby (Cu) "by the (Roman) wall", Wauldby (ERY) "on the wold" and Welby (L) "by a spring or stream". It has been suggested that in some of these names Old Scandinavian by has replaced an earlier English word, such as tun. Certainly it is remarkable that there are at least nine examples of the hybrid Willoughby (L, Lei, Nt, Wa), as well as Wilby (Nf) "willow farmstead", and this name may well originally have been identical with Willoughton (L), Willington (Bd, Db) and Wilton (C, ERY, He, Nf, NRY). This is perhaps also the case with Appleby (L, Lei, We) "apple-tree farmstead", originally identical with the common Appleton.
There is, however, documentary evidence to show that by has replaced an Old English byrig, the dative singular of burh "fortified place", later "manor". In these cases the similarity of the forms may be partly responsible, but at any rate it has taken place in Greasby (Ch) "fort by a grove", Thornby (Nth) " by a thorn-bush", as well as Badby (Nth), Naseby (Nth) and Rugby (Wa) from the personal names Badda, Hnæf and Hroca respectively, and Quenby (Lei) probably originally "queen's manor". In one or two examples, moreover, we know that a Scandinavian name has completely replaced an earlier English one, as with Derby (Db) and Northworthy, and also with Whitby (NRY) "Hvíti's farmstead" or "white farmstead", the site of which has long been identified with Streoneshalh "Streon's nook of land".
In most cases, however, the place-names derived from by are Scandinavian compounds and some of them can be compared with similar names in Scandinavia itself. A large proportion have a Scandinavian personal name as first element, and a selection is given at the end of the chapter, while others are named in relation to a neighbouring place, as with Asterby (L) "eastern", Swinderby (L), "southern", Westby (La, WRY) and Westerby (Lei) "western", Itterby (L) "outer", Yearby (NRY) "upper" and the Cumberland Netherby "lower" and Overby "higher". Some are from a natural or artificial feature, as in Aby (L) and Burnby (ERY) "stream", Barby (Nth), Barrowby (L, WRY) and Huby (NRY) "hill", Dalby (L, Lei, NRY) "valley", Keelby (L) and Ribby (La) "ridge", as well as Raby (Ch, Cu, Du), Robey (Du) and Roby (La) "boundary mark". The Lincolnshire Grasby means "farmstead in a stony district" and Grebby "on stony ground", while the common Sowerby denotes a farmstead or village on muddy or swampy ground. The first element is only occasionally the name of a tree, but "lime" occurs in Linby (Nt), "willow" in Selby (WRY), and more frequently "ash" in Asby (Cu, We) and the common Ashby. Animal names are only rarely found, as in Grisby (L) "young pig" and Wetherby (WRY) "wether", and note also Beeby (Lei) "bee farm".
A few are named from groups of people, as with Flotmanby (ERY) "sailors", Hunmanby (ERY) and Hunsonby (Ch) "dog-keepers", and Sutterby (L) "shoe-makers", as well as a group of which the first element is a national name. These, together with a few others, are particularly valuable in that they indicate that the settlers in the various districts were not homogeneous groups, and, further, that even in some areas of the Danelaw the settlements of Danes themselves must have been thinly spread. For example, Danby (NRY), Denaby (WRY) and Denby (Db) "village of the Danes" could only have been given where Danes were an unusual feature in the district. On the other hand, Ingleby (Db) "village of the English" must have been in an area where Danes were settled in considerable numbers. The presence, however, of other nationalities among the Danish settlers is testified by a number of place-names - Norwegians by Normanby (L, NRY), as well as Normanton (Db, L, Lei, Nt, R, WRY), Frisians by the Lincolnshire Friesthorpe and Firsby, and by Frisby (Lei), Faroese by Ferrensby (WRY), and Irishmen or Norwegians from Ireland by Irby (Ch, L, NRY) and Ireton (Db), this last comparable with Normanton. In the place-names of the Danelaw, outside Yorkshire, personal names of Irish origin are unknown, except perhaps only in Mammerton (Db), a hybrid name, where the first element may be Melmor, as in Melmerby (Cu, NRY). If this is so, Mammerton would be associated with Ireton, a name occurring twice in the same district, and would indicate settlement by men from the north-west of England in Derbyshire, for which there is no evidence from place-names elsewhere in the East Midlands.
In addition to place-names wholly or partly of Scandinavian origin, there are numerous English names, whose forms have been modified in various ways as a result of Scandinavian influence. When Old English c occurred initially before e or i, as in cese or cild, it was pronounced as in the modern forms of these words, cheese and child. In the Scandinavian languages, however, the sound in this position is k. Hence, the initial consonant in Keswick (Cu, Nf, WRY) and Kildwick (WRY) is due to the influence of the Scandinavian sound, for these names were originally identical with Chiswick (Ess, Mx) and Childwick (Hrt) respectively. In the same way Kepwick (NRY) would otherwise have given Cheapwick or Chipwick, and Kettlewell (WRY), apparently "stream in a narrow valley", is in place of Chettlewell. Similarly, Old English sc was pronounced sh, as in scelf, modern shelf, or æsc, modern ash. This sound was also unknown in the Scandinavian languages where its place is taken by sk. Hence Skelton (Cu, ERY, NRY, WRY) can be compared with Shelton (Bd, Nf, Nt, sh, St), Skipton (NRY, WRY) with Shipton (Do, Gl, Ha, O, sh), and Skipwith (ERY) and Scopwick (L) with Shopwyke (Sx), as well as the river-names Skerne (Du) and Skidbrook (L). Medially, the same substitution has taken place in Minskip (WRY), derived from Old English (ge)mænscipe "community" , i.e. "place communally held", and finally, in Matlask (Nf), where, however, Old English æsc "ash-tree" may have been replaced by Old Norse askr, as was probably the case in Askham (Nt, WRY) "ash-tree homestead". Similarly Old Norse steinn "stone" has replaced Old English stan in several names such as Stainburn (Cu), Stainforth (WRY), Stainland (WRY), Stainley (WRY), Stainmore (NRY, We) and the common Stainton instead of Stanburn, Stanford, Stanland, Stanley, Stanmore and Stanton respectively. Old Norse rauðr "red" has taken the place of the English word in Rawcliffe (La, NRY, WRY), which otherwise would have given Radcliffe; and it is at least possible that Old Norse austr "east" has replaced Old English east in Owston (L, WRY), and Austwick (WRY) and Owstwick (ERY), which would then have been identical in etymology with the common Aston and Astwick (Bd, Nth).
Finally, a group of names which belong to the period after the Norman Conquest contain Middle English bigging "building, house", a word derived from the verb big, itself from Old Norse byggja "build". This element is common in the East Midlands, but has been noted as far south as Surrey. It frequently survives as Biggin, and in the self-explanatory compound Newbegin (NRY) and the common Newbiggin. Indeed, many of the names which survive today in the simplex form are first recorded as Newbigging.
The following are examples of names containing a personal name compounded with the elements discussed above:
East Riding: by Gunby "Gunnhildr (feminine)", Scalby "Skalli", Thirkleby "þorgils", Uncleby "Hunkell". þorp Hilderthorpe "Hildiger" (Old Danish), Kettlethorpe (also L), "Ketill", Raisthorpe "Hreiðarr". hybrid tun Barmston (also Du) "Bjorn", Rolston "Hrolfr", Scampston. "Skammr". North Riding: by Ainderby "Eindriði", Amotherby "Eymundr", Bagby "Baggi", Battersby "Boðlvarr", Bellerby "Belgr", Cleasby "Kleppr", Helperby "Hjalp (feminine)", Romanby "Hromundr", Slingsby "Slengr", Thormanby and Thornaby "þormoðar", Ugglebarnby "Uglubarði". þorp Agglethorpe "Acwulf" (Old English), Carthorpe "Kari", Ganthorpe "Gamall", Towthorpe (also ERY) "Tofi". toft Antofts "Aldwine" (Old English). hybrid tun Oulston "Ulfr", Scruton "Skurfa", Sigston "Sigge". West Riding: by Balby "Balli" (Old Danish), Flasby and Flaxby "Flatr", Fockerby "Folkvarðr", Hellaby "Helgi", Thorlby "þoraldr". þorp Armthorpe "Earnwulf" (Old English), Gawthorpe (identical with Gowthorpe ERY) "Gaukr", Goldthorpe "Golda" (Old English), Hexthorpe "Heggr", Oglethorpe " Oddkell", Streetthorpe "Styrr", Wrenthorpe "Wifrun" (Old English feminine). hybrid tun Brotherton "Broðir", Flockton "Floki", Thurlston (also Sf) "Thurulf" (Old Danish).
Addendum to Chapter 6
Note: In recent years a reassessment of the place-names of Scandinavian origin in eastern England has been taking place, and some significant findings have already emerged. There are various pieces of evidence which suggest that the Danes settled in existing English villages without altering the names. In the past, it was also believed that many of the Danish-named places in -by were older English villages renamed by the Danes. By comparing and contrasting these with adjacent English-named places in terms of land-utilisation I have been able to suggest that, though this has happened in some cases, the majority of the names derived from Old Danish by represent new settlements on land little occupied at the time. Far too often the sites and situations of the places with names in -by were inferior for settlement to the English-named places for this not to have been the case. It would appear that, though Danish settlement here was in origin essentially an army one, the Danes also came as colonisers in a real sense.
By using the same techniques, I was further able to confirm that the majority of the places with names derived from Old Danish þorp did in fact represent secondary or outlying settlements, though it may transpire that these were rather the result of Scandinavian influence than ScandinÂavian settlement itself. It may well be that þorp was taken over into the local vocabulary (as indeed we know it was) and as such was used to denote a secondary settlement wherever this took place in the area.
I was further able to confirm the theory that the hybrids in -tun represenÂted older English villages taken over and partially renamed by the Danes. But, again using the same techniques, my evidence suggested that such names belonged to the earliest stratum of Danish name-giving in the east Midlands, and it did not, as suggested on p.82, represent extension of Danish settlement away from established (Danish) centres.
The techniques I developed were used by Dr. Gillian Fellows Jensen in a study of Scandinavian place-names in Yorkshire and her work conÂfirmed the broad conclusions I had reached. At any rate, our joint work has provided a framework and a firm basis for future discussion. As a result, a new stratification of Danish name-giving, at least in Yorkshire and the east Midlands, suggests itself:
- that the earliest identifiable place-names are the hybrids in -tun, representing Danish take-over of existing villages and partial renaming;
- the earliest new Danish settlement is represented by the names derived from by; and
- a later stage is represented by those derived from þorp, with the proviso stated above.
It must be clearly remembered that we are talking about Danish-named places. Of course, it is accepted that the Danes took over existing English villages without changing the name and that this must have happened in a good many instances.
The detailed evidence which lead to these conclusions is to be found in:
- Kenneth Cameron, "Scandinavian Settlement in the Territory of the Five Boroughs: The Place-Name Evidence", Part II, Place-Names in Thorp, Part III, The Grimston-hybrids, all reprinted in Place-Name Evidence for the Anglo-Saxon Invasion and Scandinavian Settlements, E. P. N. S., 1975, and
- Gillian Fellows Jensen, "Scandinavian Settlement Names in Yorkshire", Copenhagen, 1972.
For a convenient summary of these, see Kenneth Cameron, "The Significance of English Place-Names", British Academy, 1976.
In conclusion it would seem that once the Vikings began to settle in the British Isles, they intermarried with the native population and sometimes gave their children non-Scandinavian names or names newly coined from Scandinavian material. Some of these names were later carried to Scandinavia. In Shetland and Orkney Norse personal names drove out all the names employed by the earlier settlers, whether Pictish or Gaelic, whereas in the Hebrides, Western Scotland, Man and Ireland, Norse names were employed side by side and in combination with names of Gaelic origin. Some of these Norse names have survived as forenames or in patronymic surnames to the present day, even though the Norse language has been supplanted in all these areas by Gaelic and/or English.
In the Danelaw, Scandinavian personal names were adopted by the native English population in the areas of dense Danish settlement in the ninth century and the Anglo-Danish nomenclature was continuously reinforced by the arrival of new waves of settlers right up to the time of the Norman Conquest. The personal names borne by the Norman conquerors, however, achieved such high prestige so quickly in England that they drove out of use names of Scandinavian origin together with native English names. It is therefore in place-names and not in personal names that the degree and nature of the Danish influence on the native population is most clearly reflected.
Reviewed by R. A. Buck, Department of English, Eastern Illinois University
Matthew Townend, in "Language and History in Viking Age England", is concerned with the extent to which Old Norse and Old English were mutually intelligible to the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings when they established and continued to maintain contact in England from the eighth to the eleventh centuries. Earlier historians (Stenton, Baugh, Jesperson, Fell, among others) have argued that the language situation among this mixed group of speakers was most likely one of mutual intelligibility, but Townend argues justifiably that to date no one has provided a detailed descriptive account of the textual and linguistic evidence that supports or disputes such a claim. His book, which has evolved from his doctoral thesis, is an attempt to fill this gap within the field of the history of the English language.
The book consists of six chapters, the first an introduction which establishes his argument and methods, the last a conclusion which suggests a preliminary linguistic historical model for the study of Old Norse in England, and four chapters of argued evidence (phonological, lexical, textual, and literary) for mutual intelligibility rather than for a language situation that was bilingual and requiring the use of interpreters. An extensive corpus of Old English place-names showing Scandinavian influence is included in chapter 3.
… In Chapter 3, "The Scandinavianisation of Old English Place-Names", Townend articulates several key theoretical assumptions he relies on in his study that are based on the work of Hockett, and Milliken and Milliken. Essentially, intelligibility by the hearer in spoken interaction is achieved by the hearer's holistic and perceptual knowledge of individual words, knowledge that allows for a certain degree of variation that may be encountered in dialects. The hearer also has the ability to parse words, thereby allowing certain properties (including correct phonemic correspondences) to be switched easily where variability exists, thus facilitating comprehension. So Townend investigates how the Vikings dealt with place-names they encountered in Old English (all of which would be heard since the Vikings, Townend argues, were not literate in Old English). He analyzes a significant corpus of data based on Gillian Fellows-Jenson's studies of recorded settlement names in order to note phonemic and lexical substitutions made by the Vikings: the Old English form (pre-Viking contact) is included along with the Scandinavianized form. A thorough appendix to chapter 3 lists 228 such examples of recorded place-names. Townend's linguistic analysis reveals that intelligibility was successful on the part of Norse speakers in the sense that they conducted predictable and patterned phonemic and lexical "switching-codes" throughout the data. His evidence demonstrates that the language situation was not one of bilingualism (requiring interpreters), for different types of lexical substitutions would be expected if that were the case.
Chapter 6, "Old Norse in England: Towards a Linguistic History", effectively articulates Townend's groundwork for a preliminary linguistic historical model of Old Norse in England. He clearly summarizes again the methodology he uses to test mutual intelligibility:
- conducting a linguistic comparison of the two language varieties (chapter 2);
- testing the informant by searching for evidence (place-names) that reveals how the Scandinavians were able to negotiate their own linguistic knowledge with the dialect they encountered (chapter 3);
- asking the informant by examining the way each group describes their linguistic encounters with the other (chapter 4); and
- determining the social attitudes of each group toward the other's language and their social relations with each other (chapter 5).
The book's conclusion is that "Viking Age England was a bilingual society, but not a society comprised of bilingual individuals …" (page 195). Townend emphasizes that his evidence shows "adequate" intelligibility between the two groups, but he defines this in precise terms (page 183):
"By adequate or pragmatic intelligibility I do precisely mean, amongst other things, the ability to understand individual words, if this ability was sufficiently widespread and sufficiently successful to permit face-to-face and day-to-day transactions, and so to preclude the need for one or both of the speech communities in the Danelaw to become bilingual, or for interpreters to be habitually used for the purposes of Anglo-Norse communication."
The focus here is on individual words, for Townend's study relies heavily on phonological and lexical evidence and does not explore, by argued choice, the morphological or syntactic complexities of the two varieties. Townend does at times underplay the difference between lexical meaning and sentential meaning and does not push queries that might show how misunderstandings could and did occur because of morphological or syntactic differences. However, this is not a criticism of the book, for Townend, too, points out that these are certainly areas to pursue along with the study of Old Norse loan words in Middle English, regional studies, and studies of the differences between the Old Norse of England and the Old Norse of Scandinavia during Viking Age England.
The book is lucid, well-argued, thorough, with an extensive bibliography, and is recommended for anyone interested in Viking Age England, linguists, historians, literary specialists, or otherwise. But linguists especially will appreciate the focus on process - what speakers actually did with language - rather than product - the language they produced - a discussion much needed in the field of the history of the English language, especially in textbooks.
Review by Michael Barnes, University College London for Saga-Book Vol. XXVIII
… Chapters 2 to 5 represent the core of the study. They seek to test the mutual intelligibility of Old English and Old Norse by applying the methods just outlined to a variety of sources. Chapter 2, 'The languages: Viking Age Norse and English', examines the history and structure of the two tongues. The author concludes that even after several centuries of separation Old English and Old Norse remained phonologically and lexically similar, even though their inflexional systems had diverged considerably. 'The Scandinavianisation of Old English place-names' is the subject matter of Chapter 3. The incomers' ability to replace English phonological forms with Scandinavian equivalents, 'cognate substitution' (e.g. gāt > geit, scīr > skírr), is offered as evidence of the degree to which they were able to understand the indigenous language.
… The overall conclusion, presented at the end of the final chapter, is that the evidence adduced supports a hypothesis of adequate mutual intelligibility between speakers of English and Norse and undermines the idea that there was widespread bilingualism or use of interpreters.
Language and History in Viking Age England is a competent piece of work. It builds on detailed knowledge of the languages involved and of Anglo-Saxon history and culture. It is also timely, drawing together the widely scattered threads of recent debate about English Norse intelligibility. It will, I am sure, prove extremely useful for anyone wishing to acquaint themselves in a more general way with the history of Norse in England, not least because of its full and clearly set out bibliography. What the book does not do is provide a definitive answer to the question: Could the native English and the Norse settlers understand one another, each using their own language? For the adequate mutual intelligibility Townend identifies can, as far as I can see, cover situations ranging from the slow enunciation of single words accompanied by urgent gesticulation to the use of basic forms of language, perhaps not unreminiscent of the English uttered by native Americans in B-westerns. Doubtless the better educated could achieve somewhat higher degrees of mutual intelligibility, especially with practice. I find it hard to believe, however, that the levels of communication envisaged can ever have approached those which exist between, say, speakers of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish today, a situation nevertheless often judged no better than 'semi-communication'. Yet the three mainland Scandinavian languages have a shared linguistic history; morphologically they are very similar and syntactically almost identical; Danish and Norwegian bokmȧl enjoy a common vocabulary while Norwegian and Swedish have virtually the same phonological system. It is true, as Townend emphasises, that Old English and Old Norse both developed from the North-west Germanic dialect continuum and thus shared a basic vocabulary and certain phonological features, but the similarities are nothing like as plentiful and obvious as those between the present-day mainland Scandinavian languages … We must hope the term 'adequate mutual intelligibility' is understood by future scholars in the context of the various reservations Townend professes and is not taken as synonymous with 'widespread general intelligibility'.
… Fortunately the value of this book lies not in its contribution to the understanding of Germanic or Viking-Age Norse but in the application of sociolinguistic methodology to a historical linguistic problem. The resulting thesis - my various reservations notwithstanding - seems to me cogently argued and full of useful and interesting insights. I am sure it will give rise to much debate in the future.
IIII. The land of Earl Hugh
In WHITBY and SNEATON, a Berewick, are 15 carucates to the geld, and there could be 15 ploughs. Earl Siward held this as 1 manor. Now Earl Hugh has it, and William de Percy [holds] of him. In demesne [are] 2 ploughs; and 10 villans and 3 bordars having 1 plough. [There is] woodland pasture 7 leagues long and 3 leagues broad. The whole of the open land [is] 3 leagues long and 2 broad. TRE worth £112; now 60s.
To this manor belongs this sokeland: Fyling, 1 carucate; Fylingthorpe, 5 carucates; Gnipe Howe, 3 carucates; 'Prestebi' [in Whitby], 2 carucates; Ugglebarnby, 3 carucates; 'Sourebi' [in Whitby], 4 carucates; 'Brecca' [in Whitby], 1 carucate; 'Bauldbyes' [in Whitby], 1 carucate; 'Flowergate' [in Whitby], 2 carucates; High Stakesby, 2 carucates and 6 bovates; Newholm, 4 carucates.
In all, [there are] 28 carucates and 6 bovates to the geld, and there could be 24 ploughs. Earl Hugh has this, and William [holds] of him. Nearly all [are] waste. Only in 'Prestebi' [in Whitby] and 'Sourebi' [in Whitby], which the Abbot of York has of William, are there 2 ploughs in demesne: and 8 sokemen with 1 plough, and 30 villans with 3 ploughs, and 1 mill [rendering] 10s, and 26 acres of meadow, in places.
Clamores of Yorkshire
In the North Riding
In Langbaurgh Wapentake, Earl Hugh claims against William de Percy 1 carucate of land in Fyling, saying it belongs to Whitby, but he has no witness.
In FYLING, William de Percy 1 carucate ofland. In the same place, Earl Hugh 1 carucate. In Flyingthorpe, Earl Hugh 5 carucates.
In Gnipe Howe, Earl Hugh 3 carucates. In Whitby, Earl Hugh 10 carucates. In 'Prestebi' [in Whitby], Earl Hugh 2 carucates.
In Normanby [in Fylingdales], the king 2 carucates. In Sneaton, Earl Hugh 5 carucates. In Ugglebarnby, Earl Hugh 3 carucates.
In 'Sourebi' [in Whitby], Earl Hugh 4 carucates. In 'Brecca' [in Whitby]. Earl Hugh 1 carucate. In 'Bauldbyes' [in Whitby], Earl Hugh 1 carucate. In 'Flowergate' [in Whitby], Earl Hugh 2 carucates.
In High Stakesby, Earl Hugh 2 carucates and 6 bovates. In the same place, the Count of Mortain 2 bovates. In Newholm, Earl Hugh 4 carucates. In Lythe, the Count of Mortain 2 carucates.
- The rod is a historical unit of length equal to 5½ yards. It may have originated from the typical length of a mediaeval ox-goad. There are 4 rods in one chain.
- The furlong (meaning furrow length) was the distance a team of oxen could plough without resting. This was standardised to be exactly 40 rods or 10 chains (220 yards).
- An acre was the amount of land tillable by one man behind one ox in one day. Traditional acres were long and narrow due to the difficulty in turning the plough and the value of river front access.
- An oxgang (bovate) was the amount of land tillable by one ox in a ploughing season. This could vary from village to village, but was typically around 15 to 20 acres.
- A virgate was the amount of land tillable by two oxen in a ploughing season.
- A carucate was the amount of land tillable by a team of eight oxen in a ploughing season. This was equal to 8 oxgangs or 4 virgates.
XVI: The Ouse at Lewes by Donald Maxwell
The sketch reproduced above is a view of Lewes that anyone can see from the train as he comes in from the direction of Tunbridge Wells, at the point where the line crosses the River Ouse.
The church is that of St. Thomas à Becket, Cliffe. The choice of a patron saint in this case is enlightening, because St. Thomas of Canterbury owned an estate here. It is recorded of Old Mailing Farm that it stands upon the site of a collegiate church. It was at this farmhouse that the murderers of the Archbishop rested on the way back from their crime. They put their weapons upon a table, but the good table, we are told, refused to bear the sacrilegious burden of their arms, and threw them off in violence to the ground.
Before going any further with the exploration of Lewes, I should like to make a study of the river and its villages from Newhaven to Lewes, and, incidentally, have a friendly argument - well, not an argument at all, but a comparing of observations - with the authors of "The Place-Names of Sussex". The Viking element in the settling of these waterside places does not seem to have occurred to the authors, who are naturally looking all the time for Saxon forms. Here are briefly some of their findings:
Seaford: There is no doubt that this name means what it says - viz., that it is a place where there was a ford by the sea.
Itford, etc.: In Domesday, Litelford, Itesford, 1215. This difficult name may contain an old English personal name, It(t)a.
Iford: Yew-tree ford, or "ford by the marshland". Iford is a good way from the Ouse itself, and we cannot say just which of the numerous watercourses here is referred to.
Now let us begin by assuming that the Viking ships paid attention to this part of the coast, with its excellent harbourage, and see if, on that assumption proving tenable, a great deal of light will not be thrown on to these names and their meaning. The first Norse ships, three in number, appeared off Dorset in A.D. 787, and sacked the town of Wareham. It does not follow at all that this was the first time Viking ships had visited the coast for trading purposes, but this is the first incident of the savage raids of these pirates that is recorded. It is thought by some that there had been what we moderns call peaceful penetration and some settlements before this date.
Now, the name "ford" does not bear the meaning primarily of a possible crossing of a stream, but of a road or highway crossing. It indicates where a road can go (over the river). There is a strong family likeness between this word and the Norse "fjord". The meaning is the same, but, with the Vikings, it was where a ship could go.
If the meaning of Seaford is indeed "ford" in its Saxon sense, a road crossing by the sea, then we are faced with a great practical difficulty. Is it possible, or even likely, that a crossing could be made at the mouth of a river as big as the Ouse? There is no other case of "ford" occurring in any Sussex rivermouth town. Ford on the Arun is four or five miles up the stream.
Again, take Iford. No sane man would try to make a ford of the Ouse at this point, for it must have been a wide lagoon, and Iford stands at its very widest part. There could have been no stream joining the Ouse here big enough to warrant the name "ford" at all.
And now for Ilford. This is spelt Litelford in Domesday, and turns up again as Itesford in 1215. Why assume that this is intended to be the same word ? The scribe who wrote it down in Domesday put down what he heard. So did the scribe in 1215. This was evidently called Little Ford at first, and may have been called Mr. Itas Ford at a later date.
Assuming, therefore, that the word "ford" in these three cases is in the Norse sense of a shipway, all becomes clear at daylight. Look at the map. The shaded portion is the land below the fifty-foot level, now nearly all marsh, and once evidently tidal water. Thus Seaford would be the sea channel. Itford, once Little Ford, would be the little or narrow channel at the point where it is obviously a neck; and where the estuary spreads itself into a marshy lagoon is the fjord of the marsh or broad, Iford.
To support this Viking explanation, I have marked the wicks with a W in a circle. A, B and C were islands in the estuary, A being Rise Farm and B Rise Barn. Hamsey also was, as its name denotes, an island in the channel.
The old Norse word "vik", a creek or bay, is easy to compare with the old English "wic, an abode or a dairy-farm. Both words have some common ancestor. The original idea is that of shelter. To this day the farmers in Kent and Sussex - and elsewhere, for aught I know - use the word "wick" for a hurdle of brush-wood to shelter the lambs. A shelter for people can mean a village, a shelter for cattle a dairy-farm, and a shelter for ships a bay. When on the one-time waterside, especially on tidal water, these may be the Norse "wiks". On this map the old names are Smithwick, near Southover, Orleswick, near Piddinghoe, Bridgwick, in South Malling, and Wick Street, by West Firle.
Thus the Vikings may explain a great deal.
Copyright © David Ramsdale 1997 - 2017
All rights reserved