Once part of Mercia, Nottingham was a key Anglo-Saxon settlement that became one of the five Boroughs of the Danelaw. It is therefore surprising that – according to a foreword by eminent Viking scholar Professor Judith Jesch – this slim volume is the first to be dedicated to Viking Age Nottinghamshire, but it is an informative guide to the region’s early medieval heritage, and an enjoyable read.
Following a clear historical summary, the book touches on recent digs in the wider Danelaw, including at Repton (Derbyshire), Torksey (Lincolnshire, see CA 281), and Thynghowe in Sherwood Forest, as well as some of the major digs in Nottingham in 1969-1980. Discussion of place-, parish-, and street-names is particularly solid (the author is a researcher for the English Place-name Society), with interesting insights into how some seemingly changed to accommodate Old Norse speakers who struggled with soft ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ sounds.
This is more potted history than comprehensive tome, but it is an accessibly written primer, supplemented by plenty of recommended reading, online resources, and places to visit.
This review appeared in CA 341.