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Viking Names

Thorlak

The male name Þorlákr is recorded in a number of Scandinavian runic inscriptions. It is rare in England but is possibly recorded in a minor name Thurlowbooth in Crich, Derbyshire. There is a further East Midlands connection, as its best-known bearer, the Icelandic bishop Þorlákr, studied in Lincoln in the twelfth century.

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Viking Names

Gunnhild

Gunnhildr is a very common female name throughout the Viking world. In England, the name has a particularly wide geographical distribution that extends beyond the Danelaw and beyond the Viking Age. Its popularity was most likely influenced by its use in the Danish royal family in the eleventh century, when it was borne by an aunt, a daughter and a niece of King Cnut. The name is also the first element of the place-name Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire.

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Viking Names

Hrafn

The Old Norse male name Hrafn is found throughout Scandinavia, but is particularly common in Iceland. It means ‘raven’ and belongs to a common group of male names which refer to animals, such as Arn ‘eagle’, Björn ‘bear’, Ulfr ‘wolf’. It is frequently compounded in personal names with other elements, as seen in the Old Norse personal name Hrafnkell, and others. When found in place-names, it is possible that it represents either the Old Norse common noun hrafn ‘raven’ or the Old English common noun hræfn ‘raven’, rather than a personal name. It may also represent a possible Old English personal name HræfnHrafn is seen in the first element of the minor place name Ranskill in the Bassetlaw Wapentake of Nottinghamshire.

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Viking Names

Kol

Kolr is a common male personal name in Norway and Iceland. It is probably related to the Old Norse noun kol  ‘coal’ and is attested as the first element in the hybrid name Colston (Bassett) and (Car) Colston in Nottinghamshire. It is also attested as the first element in other Old Norse names, such as Kolbeinn.

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Viking Names

Kati

Káti is a fairly common male personal name in the Viking world, occurring in the inscriptions on at least six Swedish rune-stones. It  is the first element in the place-name Caythorpe, Nottinghamshire. There are also several place-names in Lincolnshire which contain this name, including Cadeby and Caythorpe. The name may originally have been a nickname, as it means ‘the cheerful one’.

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Viking Names

Stari

Stari  (also Starri) is mainly found in Iceland, though there is one in a Swedish rune-stone inscription and it has been suggested as the first element in Staythorpe, Nottinghamshire. It derives from a by-name meaning ‘one who stares’.

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Viking Names

Skeggi

The male name Skeggi is sporadically recorded across Scandinavia and Iceland in the Viking Age and later. It forms the first element of Skegness in Lincolnshire, with Old Norse nes ‘headland’. The name possibly derives from the Old Norse word Skegg, meaning ‘beard’.

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Viking Names

Hreidar

The Old Norse male personal name Hreiðarr is very common in Norway but relatively uncommon elsewhere in the Viking world. It can be found as the first element in the place-name Rearsby, Leicestershire. It also features as the name of the main character in the short tale of Hreiðarr the Foolish.

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