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.

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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 & Humanities > 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: 11 Apr 2023 12:06

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