By Jan Agertz
Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences (2009)
Abstract: The normal assumption is that old Swedish habitation names are original, and the first recorded for a farm or hamlet. There are however other examples – even medieval. The most common reason for a name change was when a farm or hamlet was changed into a mansion, and its original name was considered to be too ignoble. In those cases, one could create a completely new name (e.g., ‘Cathrineholm’ for ‘Horsarp‘) but equally common was to simply add the word ‘säteri‘ (mansion) to an existing name (e.g., ‘Hulta säteri’ for ‘Hulta‘).
But there is another reason for name change that I want to present in my paper. From the mid 12th century, Christianity began to spread and monasteries were established in southern Sweden. Monasteries gradually became owners of large numbers of farms, some of which got new names beginning in ‘Munk-‘ (monk) or ‘Kloster-‘ (monastery). For most of these, we cannot trace the older and original names, but there are some interesting examples of the opposite, based on careful examination of medieval documents. This is what my paper will present.