I can’t deny a hefty chunk of my recent work (and for that matter what I shall be researching and writing in the coming months) is based on points in Old English charter boundary clauses. It is also the case that finding accurate transcriptions of the original texts, as well as relevant analyses of them, is at times a tricky task. In the course of a recent exchange of emails, a south London historian lamented to me the lack of a comprehensive source for charter-bounds in spite of the obvious usefulness and popularity of such a project. The LangScape website may prove to be the answer, but in its present, partly-complete state it has its limitations, while Peter Kitson’s book on the subject – widely circulated in draft form in the 1990s to judge from references made to it in place-name works of the time – looks ever-less likely to see the light of day in print.
Though not a panacea for the problem, it was a welcome surprise to come across an uploaded dissertation entitled ‘English Place-Name Elements Relating to Boundaries’ by Boel Jepson, a student at Lund University following in the footsteps of esteemed Swedish philologists like Ekwall, Sandred and Forsberg in studying Old English place-names. I must admit I haven’t had time to read the dissertation through properly, but a quick glance over it suggests it may be of considerable value when approaching questions relating to the nature and types of Anglo-Saxon boundary – I glimpsed a couple of examples from Surrey that I need to go back and ascertain the context of their citation.