Place name experts to hold Berwick conference

Place names in Northumberland and Berwickshire, along with street names in Berwick, are to be the subject of a special conference.
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The Scottish Place-Name Society (SPNS) is venturing across the border for its annual spring conference in Berwick and have lined up six speakers for a full day looking at the naming of places.

Meeting in the Berwick Community Trust William Elder Building, in Castlegate, on Saturday will be some 50 place-name enthusiasts.

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Dr Catherine Kent, Honorary Fellow, Department of History, Durham University, will talk on Berwick street names, and Professor Diana Whaley, University of Newcastle, on Naming the Border Uplands. Colm O’Brien, of the Bernician Studies Group, begins the day’s place name studies by looking at Early Northumbrian Monasteries and Territories: the case of Lindisfarne.

Marygate, Berwick.Marygate, Berwick.
Marygate, Berwick.

Looking at Berwickshire place names will be Professor Carole Hough, of the University of Glasgow, one of those involved in a Leverhulme-funded research project entitled Recovering the Earliest English Language in Scotland: Evidence from Place-Names.

One of the outcomes of this was the website The Berwickshire Place-Name Resource, but also an upcoming volume on part of Berwickshire will be the latest book in the growing Survey of Scottish Place-Names series of thoroughly researched studies which the SPNS aspired to when first set up 27 years ago.

Each spring members meet for their conference at different venues throughout Scotland. When Berwick was suggested for 2023 it was thought this would present an excellent opportunity to highlight the similarities and differences of place-names on either side of the border.