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Hannah Lindsay

Research project title

Vikings in Northumberland and County Durham: A Re-assessment of the Place-Name Evidence


Dr Adam Mearns and Dr William van der Wurff

Contact details



Research interests

  • place-names
  • early Medieval Northumbria
  • Vikings
  • Anglo-Saxons
  • settlement history
  • Old and Middle English
old abandoned ship

A brief outline of the research project

I am researching Old Norse place-names in North East England.  Within existing research there is much disagreement about the extent of Old Norse influence on place-names in this region, and there is a general consensus that there are very few examples of this type of name here, meaning little work on this subject has been carried out.

My preliminary research points to a much larger stock of names of Old Norse influence or origin in the region than has previously been assumed, however, and therefore my primary aim is to investigate whether these names represent early medieval Scandinavian settlement, or Anglo-Saxons’ use of Old Norse place-name elements. Some recent research suggests that Old Norse place-names do not tend to be located in areas with no Scandinavian settlement, whilst other scholars argue that these place-names cannot be evidence of the settlement of Norse-speakers as Old English borrowed so heavily from Old Norse, and I will be exploring both explanations.

Later in my project, I will be linking my findings to theories of borrowing into the general vocabulary and the place-name vocabulary of Old and Middle English, and exploring the bearings of such borrowing on the Northumbrian dialect of English.

Research activities

Academic background

  • MPhil Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge
  • BA (Hons) Linguistics, Newcastle University