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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Name Change due to Monastic Ownership

J Agertz
Jõnkõpings lÃ&cur, Sweden

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 can’t 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.

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