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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna and Lillia de Vaux

- English Place Names -

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June 2011 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

From Pelican: Kepe in placenames

One element that has been popular in SCA submissions but had not been documented in placenames is the Middle English Kepe and the Early Modern English Keep. Current precedent says that Keep and its Middle English form Kepe are registerable in contexts suitable for surnames, but not as placename elements (see the November 2001 and May 2011 LoARs for more details).

The complete lack of it in placenames or as a word was somewhat odd, as it is found in personal bynames as a generic toponymic through much of the Middle English period. Well, we've found it. Studies on Middle English local surnames by Mattias Teodor Löfvenberg dates le Kepe as a placename to 1425 (along with Kepeland 1204 and Kepe mede 1530).

Therefore we can overturn the precedent disallowing the element Kepe or Keep in placenames; Kepe is found both as a standalone placename and as a protheme (first element) in English placenames and can be used as such. It is not clear that the element here is in fact the word meaning "castle," as that word is not otherwise attested before the 16th century. But it is registerable in contexts where a placename can be registered. This does not allow the registration of Keep as a deuterotheme (second element) in placenames; it remains unattested and will not be allowed without further evidence. We are also giving it the benefit of the doubt regarding the meaning and allowing the use of keep as a designator in the same contexts that we would allow a word like Castle.

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