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Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World$
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Michael D. J. Bintley and Michael G. Shapland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680795

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680795.001.0001

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References to Timber Building Materials in Old English Place-Names

References to Timber Building Materials in Old English Place-Names

(p.78) 4 References to Timber Building Materials in Old English Place-Names
Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World

John Baker

Oxford University Press

The landscape of Anglo-Saxon England was characterized by timber architecture, contemporary perceptions of which can be approached through place-names indicative of timber building practice. Terms can be divided into those which occur as natural features of the landscape, which probably indicate places from which timber could be obtained, and those which refer to structures of human origin. Relatively few place-names of either type are recorded before 1086, possibly because localized knowledge had rendered this unnecessary. Similarly, the lack of references to timber in the names of settlements makes sense in a landscape dominated by wooden buildings. Place-names highlight the importance to the early medieval mind of places where one might find particular types of wood, and where structures were executed with striking or peculiar carpentry techniques. Thus, we can approach the subtle role of timber in architectural aesthetics and perceptions of landscape in Anglo-Saxon England.

Keywords:   place-names, landscape, architecture, resources

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