PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

Domesday

[Image: Excerpt from the Domesday Book]
[Image: Durham Liber Vitae, folio 38r (extract)]

Agemund


Author: CPL
Editorial Status: unknown

Discussion of the name

Agemund is a masculine name of Scandinavian origin, often normalized as Agmundr. The meaning of the first element is debatable but most probably identical with the stem in Old West Scandinavian agi (‘awe, terror, uproar’); the second element is mundr (‘protection’). The name occurs frequently in Norway from c. 900 onwards and was probably also used in Denmark (Fellows Jensen 1968: 2–3). Its earliest known bearer connected with England was Agmund 1 (= Agmundr 3), a Viking from Northumbria slain in battle by Edward the Elder’s army in 910. Otherwise the name did not appear in England until the early eleventh century, when it was borne by one of Cnut’s thegns (fl. 1019–24), grantee of a large estate in Dorset afterwards given to Shaftesbury abbey, perhaps by Agemund himself (Agemund 1; S 955; Charters of Shaftesbury, no. 30). In southern England, the name was in use in and around Winchester in the twelfth century (NMHLV: 41, 73; Winton DB: 147) and as the name of a moneyer at Canterbury under Henry I (EMC).

In Yorkshire and Lincolnshire the name is entirely absent from place-names, both major and minor (Fellows Jensen 1968: 2–3), a circumstance which may point to its arrival in the eleventh century rather than earlier. In the twelfth century, by contrast, it was widely used as a personal name, especially in Lincolnshire (Fellows Jensen 1968: 2–3), and it also appears in the Durham Liber Vitae from the early twelfth century (DLV: II, 213, 263).

The broad geographical pattern of the name outside DB is so consistent with the distribution within DB as to suggest that the name was introduced independently in Wessex and Lincolnshire, and spread from each of those two areas.

Bibliography

Charters of Shaftesbury : Charters of Shaftesbury Abbey, ed. S. E. Kelly, Anglo-Saxon Charters 5 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1996)

EMC: On-line Early Medieval Corpus of Coin Finds/Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/dept/coins/emc

Fellows Jensen 1972: Gillian Fellows Jensen, Scandinavian Settlement Names in Yorkshire (Copenhagen: I Kommission hos Akademisk Forlag 1972)

DLV: The Durham Liber Vitae. London, British Library, MS Cotton Domitian A.VII: Edition and Digital Facsimile with Introduction, Codicological, Prosopographical and Linguistic Commentary, and Indexes, ed. D. W. Rollason and L. Rollason, 3 vols. (London: British Library, 2007)

NMHLV: Liber Vitae: Register and Martyrology of New Minster and Hyde Abbey, Winchester, ed. Walter de Gray Birch, [Hampshire Record Society 5] (1892)

S: P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 8 (London, 1968), revised by S. Kelly, R. Rushforth et al., The Electronic Sawyer: Online Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Charters, published online through Kemble: The Anglo-Saxon Charters Website, currently at http://www.esawyer.org.uk/about/index.html

Winton DB: ‘The Winton Domesday’, ed. and trans. Frank Barlow, in Winchester in the Early Middle Ages: An Edition and Discussion of the Winton Domesday, ed. Martin Biddle, Winchester Studies 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 1–141 [cited by entry no. in Survey I, of c. 1110]

Forms of the name

Spellings in Domesday Book: Agemund(us); Aghemundus

Forms in modern scholarship:

  von Feilitzen head forms: Aghmund, Ogmundr

  Phillimore edition: Agemund (most counties), Agmundr (Lincs., Yorks.)

  Alecto edition: Aghmund

Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

People of this name

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