Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

April Books 21) Understanding English Place-Names

21) Understanding English Place-Names, by (Sir) William Addison

Picked this somewhat randomly off the shelves this morning. It does exactly what it says on the tin, breaking England down into regions and looking at the place names as a whole and particular individual cases of interest. It brought home to me how little of England I know despite my five years in Cambridge. It is interesting that so few English place names are Celtic in origin, apart from the obvious parts of the west and a few pockets farther east; also surprising that the Normans did not leave a heavier footprint on toponymy. I remain puzzled by the way that the Danelaw failed to really translate into later political divisions, but the book assured me that the pattern of Norse settlement based on place names is very visible. Anyway, an absorbing, quick read.
Tags: bookblog 2008, history
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