Monday, 8 October 2012
Anglo-Saxon God Names in English Place-Names
The evidence for the worship of our Anglo-Saxon Gods is to be found all over the English countryside and in English towns, villages and hamlets. Woden, Thunor, Tiw and Frige are to be found as elements in place-names and managed to survive the christianisation of our people. They exist today as a constant reminder of our natural Gods just as we are reminded about them in the days of the week. Woden features in more place names than any other God and indeed this should not surprise us as He is the All-Father, our most high God. Below are examples of such place names, many of them gleaned from the pages of A Dictionary of English Place-Names by A.D. Mills. I have only included examples which are known to be reliable. Woden[also known as Grim] Wednesbury, Wednesfield, Wednesham, Wanborough, Wansdyke, Woden`s Barrow, Woden Hill, Woden`s Way, Woden`s Den Woodway, Wornshill, Woodnesborough, Grimsdyke, Grimes Graves, Grimsbury, Grimley, Grimspound, Grimscote, Grimsthorpe, Grinstead. Thunor Thundersley, Thursley. Tiw Tysoe, Tuesley, Dewsbury. Frige Frobury, Froyle, Fretherne, Fride. In addition to God names some place-names indicate heathen sites of worship without specifying a particular God`s name. Hearg[Harrow], Wig and Weoh[Wye] are Anglo-Saxon terms for `heathen shrine or temple`. Harrow Harrow, Harrow Weald, Harrowden, Great and Little Harrowden. Wye Wye, Weedon, Weedon Bec, Weedon Lois, Weeford, Wysall and Wyfordby. There are many place names preceded by Freo, Frea and Ing but I am not yet convinced that these are necessarily references to place names named after Anglo-Saxon Gods. I will need to conduct further research. However I would be very surprised if these Gods were not also honoured in our place-names. I have specifically focused on Anglo-Saxon not Scandinavian examples and therefore have not searched for Scandinavian examples although I am surprised how few there are in comparison to Anglo-Saxon ones.