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Naming Shirehampton and the name Shirehampton

Coates, Richard

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Using the example of the place-name Shirehampton in England, this article explores (1) the complications involved in understanding the history of a particularly difficult place-name (an etymological and philological question) and in the history of the naming of the place in question (an onomasiological question), (2) some practical consequences of different understandings of the place-name at different points in history (a historiographical question), and (3) the historical transfer of this name into other onomastic categories (a semasiological question and a culturally and theoretically interesting question). Some new understandings of the name and its history are proposed. The article can be taken as an object lesson in the lexical-semantic and phonological difficulties of historical onomastics (and therefore as academically routine), and also in the pleasures of travelling unexpected byways in the history of onomastics and in cultural history. It endeavours to affirm, by example, the case for historical onomastics as a discipline which ranges more widely than establishing the etymology of a name, and explores finally some issues of theoretical and methodological interest.


Coates, R. (in press). Naming Shirehampton and the name Shirehampton.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 18, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 2, 2019
Deposit Date May 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2019
Journal Onoma
Print ISSN 0078-463X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Pages 5-41
Keywords place-name, Shirehampton, local history, surname, name theory
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The published version is freely available online at


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