Old Norse Grani (m.)

The male personal name Grani, or possibly Gráni, is the first element of the place-name Granby, Nottinghamshire. The name occurs sporadically in saga-literature and also appears on the rune-stone from Berezan’ in southern Ukraine, erected by visiting Swedes in the eleventh century. It is also the name of the horse of the legendary hero Sigurd the Serpent-Slayer.

If the name, whether of the horse or as a male name, is Grani, then it is related to the Old Norse word grǫn, referring to the ‘upper lip’ or ‘moustache’, and can be compared to other original bynames like Skeggi from skegg ‘beard’. Alternatively, it might be related to the adjective grár ‘grey’ or verb grána ‘to grow grey’, and would similarly have originally been a descriptive byname.

In Granby, a document from c. 1200 refers to Granehou, a mound (Old Norse haugr) possibly named after the same man who gave his name to the village.

Old Norse Name


Anglicised Name




Features in Saga

Íslendingabók. Landnámabók, ed. Jakob Benediktsson. Íslenzk fornrit I. Reykjavík: Hið íslenzka fornritafélag, 1968, chs 109, 233.

Ascribed Culture


Viking Names


burial mound, Horses, male_name, mythology, Norse_mythology, personal-name, Ukraine

Further information

This object is related to Granby, Nottinghamshire.
Find out about Granby, Nottinghamshire.


J.E.B. Gover, Allen Mawer and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Nottinghamshire. English Place-Name Society Volume XVII (1940), pp. 225-226.

E.H. Lind, Norsk-isländska dopnamn ock fingerade namn från medeltiden. Uppsala: A.B. Lundequistska Bokhandel (1915), col. 351.