Gaelic place-names and the social history of Gaelic speakers in medieval Menteith

McNiven, Peter Edward (2011) Gaelic place-names and the social history of Gaelic speakers in medieval Menteith. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF
Download (3MB) | Preview

Abstract

This thesis illustrates that place-names are an essential resource for our understanding of
Scottish medieval rural society, with a particular emphasis on Menteith. Place-names are an
under-utilised resource in historical studies, and yet have much to inform the historian or
archaeologist of how people used and viewed the medieval landscape. We know a great deal
of the upper echelons of Scottish medieval society, especially the politics, battles, and lives of
significant figures, such as various kings and great barons. However, we know next to nothing
of the people from whom the nobility derived their power. The thesis is divided into two
parts. Part 1 begins by defining the extent and geography of the medieval earldom of
Menteith. The source material is analysed, highlighting the advantages and pitfalls of different
sources that can be used for place-name studies. The different languages spoken in Menteith
in the Middle Ages, ranging from P-Celtic to Scottish Gaelic to Scots, can be seen in the
onomastic evidence. A crucial question that is explored, if not fully answered, is ‘what P-Celtic
language was spoken in Menteith: British or Pictish?’. This is followed by an exploration of
what we know of the Gaelic language in Menteith. Documents and place-names allow us to
pinpoint the beginnings of the change from Gaelic to Scots as the naming language in the area
to the later 15th C. A brief survey of the historical background shows the influence the earls of
Menteith and other nobles may have had on the languages of the earldom. The final two
chapters of Part 1 look at the issue of using place-names as a historical resource; Chapter 5
explores secular activities, such as hunting and agriculture. Chapter 6 is a case study
examining how place-names can inform us of the medieval church. Part 2 is a survey of the
place-names of the six parishes that consisted of the medieval earldom of Mentieth, including
early forms and analysis of the names.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Menteith, place-names, social history
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Supervisor's Name: Clancy, Prof. Thomas Owen
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Mr Peter McNiven
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2685
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2013 12:05
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2685

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item