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Title: The place-name evidence for a routeway network in early medieval England
Author: Cole, Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 9507
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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Evidence for routes in use in the early medieval period from documents and excavations is fragmentary, and from maps is nil, but place-names help to fill the gap. Known early roads, travellers and possible origins of place-names are considered before detailed examination of the place-names that consistently occur by routeways. Ways of measuring proximity of named settlements to routeways, including the chi-squared test and dispersion graphs, are described. The place-names are considered in detail. The road terms strǣt and weg yielded useful information; pæth and stīg did not. Gewæd and gelād indicated difficult crossings; ford was too ubiquitous to be useful. Facilities available were indicated by mere-tūn and byden-welle (water supply); strǣt-tūn and calde-cot but not Coldharbour (lodgings); mōr-tūn and mersc-tūn (fodder); dræg-tun and dræg-cot (aid to travellers in difficulty); grǣfe-tūn (pay-load). Ōra and ofer, round-shouldered ridges, were used as 'signposts' at significant points on roads and waterways to indicate, inter alia, harbour entrances, cross roads and mineral deposits. Cumb-tūn, denu-tūn, ceaster and wīc-hām were easily recognised and helped travellers to identify their whereabouts. Seaways and rivers in use were highlighted by the use of port, hȳth, ēa-tūn and lād A series of these indicative names occurring along a route, usually Roman, suggests that the route was in use. Certain saltways, Gough (c. 1360) and Ogilby (1675) routes and a few others were also highlighted. Findings are summarised on the end-paper map. As a check on the results, coin-find distributions for the early eighth century and late tenth/ early eleventh century were mapped against route-ways. Routes in use from placename and coin evidence were broadly similar. Evidence from pottery scatters was difficult to assemble, and gave poorer results. The evolution of the naming system is discussed. The consistent way that widely occurring landforms and habitation types were named throughout England enables the mapping of an early medieval routeway network using place-name evidence. The appendices list and map each corpus.
Supervisor: Blair, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Names, Geographical ; Roads ; History ; Roads, Roman ; Transportation ; England ; Great Britain ; Medieval period, 1066-1485