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Eleanor Rye
Associate Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics



Ellie joined the department in 2018 as Associate Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics.  She completed a PhD at the University of Nottingham and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Universities of Nottingham and East Anglia. Her research focusses primarily on place-names as sources of information about language, society and landscape in the past.


  • Associate Lecturer
    University of York (2018–)
  • Senior Research Associate
    University of East Anglia (2017–18)
  • Research Fellow
    Institute for Name-Studies, University of Nottingham (2014–17)



  • History of English I
  • Middle English in Context
  • English Place-names across Time and Space



Current research:

From November 2017 to October 2018, I was place-names researcher on the project 'Lordship and landscape in East Anglia CE 400-800', a project investigating early medieval East Anglia. I continue to contribute to the project, exploring the place-name evidence for early medieval settlement, infrastructure, land-use and power structures across East Anglia.

Past research:

From November 2014 until October 2017, I was Research Fellow on 'Travel and Communication in Anglo-Saxon England', an interdisciplinary project investigating overland and riverine travel in Anglo-Saxon England using textual, archaeological, and place-name evidence. Combining archaeological and linguistic expertise, we were able both to identify previously unknown routes and to provide clearer definitions of their characteristics.

My doctoral research assessed the Scandinavian contribution to lexis used in late medieval place-naming. Through case-studies of areas with extensive evidence for Scandinavian language use during the Viking Age, I found that similar language-contact situations left very different traces in later dialects.


  • E. Rye (2019), ‘Markshall (Norfolk) and three Instances of OE mearces-burh ‘boundary fortification’ (Maesbury and Marksbury, Somerset and Masbrough, West Riding of Yorkshire)’, Notes & Queries 66(2), 177–183.

  • E. Rye (2018), Review of Vanessa Greatorex and Mike Headon, eds, Field-names in Cheshire, Shropshire and North-East Wales (Chester: Marlston Books/Chester Society for Landscape History, 2014). Journal of the English Place-Name Society 50, 99–102.

  • E. Rye (forthcoming), ‘Place-names and travel in the early medieval Humber region’, Neue Studien zur Sachsenforschung.
  • E. Rye (2017), ‘Quantifying the Scandinavian contribution to the vocabulary of Middle English microtoponyms from Wirral and Westmorland’, NORNA-rapporter 95, 211–28.

  • E. Rye (2017), ‘What can linguistics tell us about the Vikings in England?’, Science Nordic (5th March 2017) <>.

  • J. Neal, E. Rye and J. Treacher (2017), ‘Bibliography 2016’, Journal of the English Place-Name Society 49, 171–76.

  • A. Crook and E. Rye with A. Finnegan and D. N. Parsons (2015), ‘Bibliography for 2014’, Nomina 38, 143–65.

  • E. Rye (2013), Review of Elizabeth Okasha, Women’s Names in Old English (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011).  Nottingham Medieval Studies 57, 329–31.


Stuart Brookes (University College London)

Tom Williamson (University of East Anglia)

External activities


  • English Place-Name Society: Council Member (2016–)
  • Society for Name-Studies in Britain and Ireland: Member
  • Viking Society for Northern Research: Member

Invited talks and conferences

  • ‘Place-names and travel in early medieval Kent’, Exploring Kentish Naming Practices, Canterbury, 17 November 2018.
  • ‘Characterising early medieval fords: place-names, geology and landscape’, Flood and Flow workshop, Cirencester, 11–13 May 2018.
  • ‘Exploring language and dialect in North-West England through minor place-names’, Northern Names study day organised by the Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster University, 3rd Feb. 2018.
  • ‘Personal names in the names of early medieval crossing places’, 26th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, Debrecen, 27 August–1 September 2017.
  • (with Stuart Brookes) ‘By land and by sea: modelling the transport infrastructure of Anglo-Saxon Kent’, 68th Sachsensymposion, Canterbury, 2–6 September 2017.
  • ‘Losing one’s tongue: place-names and language changes in medieval Wirral’, 18th Viking Congress, Denmark, 5–12 August 2017.
  • ‘Linguistic diversity in the Viking world: place-name vocabulary in the Viking diaspora’, The Viking World 2016: Diversity and Change, University of Nottingham, 27th June–2nd July 2016.

Contact details

Eleanor Rye
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Vanbrugh College C Block
Room : V/B/120

Tel: 01904 328244