Saints in Scottish Place-Names


Image: Internet Archive Book Images / “The archaeology and prehistoric annals of Scotland” (1851) / Flickr (Public Domain)

Christmas has come early here at Vox Hib HQ with the very welcome and long awaited launch of the Database of Scottish Hagiotoponyms, aka Saints in Scottish Place-Names

This website is the result of a project, ‘Commemorations of Saints in Scottish Place-Names’, funded by a Research Project Grant from The Leverhulme Trust (2010-13), and undertaken by staff in the University of Glasgow’s School of Humanities (Celtic & Gaelic, and HATII).
Professor Thomas Owen Clancy (Principal Investigator)
Dr Rachel Butter and Gilbert Márkus (Researchers) & Matthew Barr (Systems Developer)
The database that has been assembled presents the fruits of our research. It contains over 5000 places, 13,000 place-names, and some 750 saints potentially commemorated in these names.

Feast your eyes on the sheer magnitude of the work involved in the project by searching, or browsing via saints, places, map or alphabetical order on the new website. See for example a screenshot of the clear and helpful interface concerning placesnames associated with a certain Patricius Esq:


Screengrab: Database of Scottish Hagiotoponyms

This is of course, a remarkably interesting project for anyone studying the impact and development of insular Christianity in the early medieval period because of Scotland’s central position between Ireland, Northumbria, Saxon & Norse Britain and onwards to Scandinavia. As I have previously written ‘If the Irish and North Seas can be considered major medieval ‘highways’; then Scotland was possibly one of the biggest and most complicated medieval ‘cultural roundabouts’ of its day’. The earliest Insular Irish and Scottish Christianities are intrinsically linked. Questions and answers concerning both, have always lain waiting in each others cultural and physical landscapes.

My congratulations to all involved in this wonderful and historically important project. I look forward to using it,and seeing it used, profusely, in the years to come.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going inside and may be some time…

5 thoughts on “Saints in Scottish Place-Names

  1. Pingback: Saints in Scottish Place-Names « Senchus

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