Welcome

Welcome to The Berwickshire Place-Name Resource. This resource has been created by the research project Recovering the Earliest English Language in Scotland: Evidence from place-names, funded by The Leverhulme Trust at the University of Glasgow from 2016 to 2019. Over the course of four years, the project team surveyed the place-names of the historical county of Berwickshire (now part of the Scottish Borders Council Area), collecting and analysing early spellings from medieval and later documents and maps, undertaking fieldwork, and talking to local people, in order to uncover the languages and meanings of the names. More information on the project is available here, and the place-names can be searched here.

The online resource offers early forms and analysis for all 1,224 Berwickshire place-names on the Ordnance Survey Landranger map series (1:50,000). This map series was chosen because it includes the names of all settlements and major landscape features throughout the county. Another output of the project is forthcoming as a volume within the Survey of Scottish Place-Names (The Place-Names of Berwickshire Volume 1: The Tweedside Parishes), and will offer even fuller coverage of six parishes along the border with England, including names of small landscape features such as streams and fishing pools. Also nearing completion is a PhD thesis on Berwickshire hill names. Other publications resulting from the project utilise evidence from the place-names to explore topics such as early settlement, language varieties, literary influence, source materials and types of formation; publications are listed here. Taken together, they throw important new light on the languages and history of this part of the Borders.

In addition to its core aim of using place-names to investigate the Northumbrian variety of Old English and its development into Older Scots, the project pioneered a new mode of disseminating place-name research electronically, discussed more fully here. Traditionally, the results of place-name survey are published as hard-copy volumes, as with the forthcoming The Place-Names of Berwickshire Volume 1. By developing an innovative relational database for the creation and editing of place-name records, the project has been able to generate The Berwickshire Place-Name resource as a freely available, searchable online tool. The resource is dynamic, and is updated on an ongoing basis. We welcome comments and feedback, which can be submitted here.