Place-names

There has been no proper study or review of the place-names of Swaledale since the publication in 1928 of the single volume of The Place-Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire, by A H Smith, which was volume 5 of the county-by-county survey of the English Place-Name Society (EPNS).

Since its early days, the intensity of the EPNS survey has increased significantly so that each county is now the subject of several volumes, each taking years of study. The project continues but even today there are several counties yet to be studied by the survey. It will be many more years before the EPNS gets around to revising and expanding the earliest volumes.

In the meantime, a review of the North Riding is already long overdue. The body of knowledge and understanding of place-names has progressed considerably since 1928, and so anyone well-enough read in the subject can spot errors and opportunities for improvement in Smith’s work.

My intention, as an enthusiastic amateur, is to do what I can to review the place-names of upper Swaledale and its neighbour Arkengarthdale, and to suggest updated interpretations on their origins and meanings, based on my understanding of the latest published researches and findings of the professionals combined with my own field studies and interviews with local people of long-standing residence in each area.

My contributions, which are part of a slowly building, long-term project, are published as they are completed in a separate website to be found here: Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Place-names.

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