This section is for pieces I’ve written over the past few years – or the past few hours – that I hope may be of interest and use to a wider readership. They tend to focus on particular places or subjects in Surrey but always striving to set them in a broader regional or national context. Some take months to research and write, others are of much shorter gestation, but either way it tends to be that there will be gaps of several weeks between new work being added under the Work heading. My hope is that one day other researchers might like to submit things for posting here, something which should pick up the pace of new content being uploaded. In the meantime, I am happy for people to read and/or download any of the documents accessible via the hyperlinks below, even more so to be cited in other people’s own research (though please email me at email@example.com to let me know if you do or have done so – not because I insist on granting my permission first but because it’s great to hear from people investigating similar subjects to mine).
Just in case readers can’t get to grips with the drop-down menu above, here are brief explanations of and links to the various bits of work made available so far, as well as any separate updates written as sidelights to them.
“Seven ditches” – Correlating a probable early medieval execution cemetery with a tenth-century charter boundary mark whose name hints at earlier non-Christian religious significance. Updates include contemplations of its Dorset namesake, the possible religious/cultural significance of the name and the nature of the lost earthwork.
The Seven Acres – Evaluating the credibility of the notion that a point in two late Anglo-Saxon charter boundary clauses represents the first record of open-field agriculture in Surrey. Updates include notes on aspects of the equivalent boundary descriptions of Chaldon, Merton and modern-day Thames Ditton.
The “Surrey Fens” causeways – A thorough assessment of the origin of two trans-floodplain causewayed crossings of the lower Wey valley in Surrey, plus an update on a related but overlooked Old English place-name.
Guildford and its medieval parks – Suggestions about the location of the Domesday-era “king’s park” at Stoke-next-Guildford and the origins of the historic settlement of Guildford. An update discusses the medieval Stoughton family.
Woking Hundred and Baxter’s land tenure model – Comparing and contrasting the conclusions of a pioneering Oxfordshire-based study with the equivalent evidence from a west Surrey Hundred. The proposed positive correlation between late Anglo-Saxon estate leasing and the emergence of towns is explored in an update.
A Saxon angle on the “British” weala-tun – A long overdue challenge to a particular weak point of Old English onomastics/toponymy/whatever you want to call it.
Some thoughts on Peper Harow – Using topography and portable antiquities to consider afresh a place-name in Old English hearg. Updates evaluate two references I knew about but hadn’t read at the time and an account of an afternoon’s “fieldwork” in the London suburbs.
Thursley (revisited) – Another interdisciplinary consideration of a Surrey “pagan” place-name; can landscape archaeology compensate for the shortcomings of the historical evidence? And should I know better than to take the bait and respond at length to criticism of the published version of the essay?
Thorpe and the changing landscape of place-name studies – A local riff on a groundbreaking archaeological-cum-linguistic-cum-historical study.
What about Tuesley? – Demonstrating why every “pagan” place-name should be considered on its own merits.
Lepers and Friars – Making use of a stray reference after sitting on it (not literally) for three years or more.
Finding the Fæsten dic – Sticking my oar into affairs outside of Surrey (well, I have lived in London for over a year)
St Martha’s on the Hill – A huge piece of work, melding just about every type of evidence I like to deal with. I’ve given a talk on it, next stop will be to commence developing it into an article (hopefully for a peer-reviewed journal!)
Coins, cloth and Chertsey – Or one way to occupy an Easter bank holiday weekend. It turns out I also have a thing for early medieval coins, especially when their provenances seem to correlate so well with the contemporary historical and toponymical evidence. Authored one update soon after, then a parallel round-up of the pick of non-numismatic artefacts from Surrey. No doubt more will follow…
Mercian markets at minor minsters? – AKA part two of the previous piece (I may yet re-title them to make it clearer they are interrelated), in which I tackle a thorny question of the disappearance/appearance/non-appearance of coins in certain places at certain time and in the process break new ground in understanding the history of Surrey in the eighth century. One update finesses one element of the analysis by suggesting a new interpretation of some instances of the common Old English place-name compound middel-tūn, another considers the merits of exclusively archaeological interpretations of “productive sites”.
More to follow!