Differing patterns of Viking settlement in East Anglia: an analysis of Scandinavian and Anglo-Scandinavian place-names in their geographical and archaeological contexts

Boulton, David (2020) Differing patterns of Viking settlement in East Anglia: an analysis of Scandinavian and Anglo-Scandinavian place-names in their geographical and archaeological contexts. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the different phases and patterns of Viking settlement and assimilation in East Anglia from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, by means of a linguistic analysis of the Scandinavian and Anglo-Scandinavian place-names of the region, coupled with an examination of the geographical and archaeological contexts of the settlements associated with them. Using an interdisciplinary approach and GIS mapping technology has enabled both the formation and naming of these settlements to be explored and correlated for the first time, and existing interpretations to be reconsidered.

The findings of this thesis are complex, and do not all conform to previously accepted, and largely monocausal, hypotheses for the origins of different types of Scandinavian place-names in England. The evidence suggests that the East Anglian place-names in -thorp and -bý compounded with Scandinavian personal names were formed in differing circumstances from the remaining thorps and býs containing nonanthroponymic elements or forming simplexes. It indicates also that the ‘Grimstonhybrids’ do not all represent well-established Anglo-Saxon villages taken over and renamed by new Danish landholders, as previously hypothesised, but that some constituted new, marginal settlements established in the upper river valleys of the East Anglian clay plateau as this was being brought back into agricultural use.

These contradictions within the individual linguistic categories of Scandinavian place-names suggest that a new paradigm of interpretation is required that identifies broader discernible patterns of Viking settlement in East Anglia – and perhaps elsewhere. The thesis has therefore proposed an interpretation of the formation of the Scandinavian place-names in East Anglia in terms of a possible migrationary process – an approach which has been recently rehabilitated in Viking studies and corroborated increasingly by archaeological evidence. But it suggests also that the patterns of Viking settlement and place-name formation in East Anglia differed from those postulated elsewhere in the Danelaw partly because they coincided with major changes already occurring in the East Anglian rural landscape that resulted from the late Anglo-Saxon expansion of arable farming.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2021 10:00
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2021 10:00
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/81395
DOI:

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