Research for production: Old English Place Names – Meon Valley and its Saxon Heritage

At Focus we do a lot more than video production!  As part of the Meon Valley DVD production we researched Saxon heritage in order to understand what the origin of each village name and how it would have been pronounced in Old English – the language of the Anglo Saxons from the 6th to 11th Centuries before there was an infusion of Norman-French.

Corhampton – as shown using the online database – the Key To English Place Names

For example Corhampton was called Corn-ham-tun in Saxon times and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The name means ‘’Corn-Home-Farm’ or ‘Corn estate’, and it would have been an important agricultural property in the Middle Ages.

Corhampton – as listed in the Domesday Book (the scribe was writing in Medieval Latin in 1086 so shows what they thought would be the spelling)

To ensure we were as accurate as possible we turned to Dr Paul Cavill, Assistant Professor of Early English at Nottingham University. Paul is a Council member of the English Place-Name Society and the Editor of their journal.

Dr Paul Cavill – Assistant Professor of Early English at Nottingham University.

In this interview (click on player below) we talked to Paul about his work, the Place-Name Society (which started its work in 1923) and the great online resource they are developing at Nottingham allowing anyone to research the source and history of places names in England. Paul explains how he became interested in Early English language and how work is progressing on researching place names.