Naming early monasteries: The significance of Burh in East Anglia

Eleanor Rye, Tom Williamson

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The association of medieval and earlier fortifications with place names incorporating the Old English word ‘burh’ is well known. This article examines another use of burh and suggests, on the basis of an analysis of East Anglian examples, that in many cases the term may refer to monasteries, perhaps expressing a sense of their enclosed character. This is consonant with recent reassessments of the use of burh in place names, which stress the sense of ‘enclosure’ as uniting the various applications of the element. We suggest that place names featuring burh might, both here and in other areas, thus serve as a useful indicator of early monastic sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-243
Number of pages18
JournalMedieval Archaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2020

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