Place-names are important to the historian and the archaeologist. Quite apart from the inherent interest of the original meaning of a place-name, the fact that in England there are six successive layers of language reflected in the stock of place-names means that they provide vital evidence for dating and, indeed, for estimating the mixture of races in the composition of the nation. The author, as President of the English Place-Name Society, has succeeded in bringing the story of English place-names to a wider public in this fascinating general study.
The response to the first edition demonstrated the book’s appeal to the reader with an interest in the evolution, meaning and significance of the names of our towns, villages, rivers and hills. The Listener said that the book ‘opens up the whole subject in the most enthralling manner’, while Comment observed ‘…a classic in this field, essential reading for anyone interested in local history’. This new edition emphasises the contribution that this philological discipline can make to the work of the archaeologist and the historian and to our understanding of the long process of human settlement in our island. The sub-title of the book is ‘Place-Names and the History of England’…Dr Gelling and her colleagues have made great strides in exploiting the latent store of information about the past preserved in the names of places.