History of the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland

The history here is largely based on information supplied by Jennifer Scherr, a longstanding member.

The former Council for Name Studies in Great Britain and Ireland (CNS) was set up in 1960 to bring together scholars who were working in the field of name studies in the British Isles. Some of the history from this early period is documented in Nomina 23 (2000), 205–8. The Council originated at a symposium on the scope and methods of place-name research held in the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh on 5–8 October 1960. An Interim committee on name-studies in the British Isles was set up by a resolution of the symposium, consisting of the late Professor A. H. Smith, the late Professor (then Dr.) W. F. H. Nicolaisen, and the late Professor (then Mr.) J. McN. Dodgson. The committee reported to the first meeting of the Council, held in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin on 3 March 1962. This meeting was followed by meetings at:

Membership of the Council was originally by invitation, but in the late 1980s it was felt that an open society would be more appropriate. As a result, the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland was launched on 26 October 1991 with an inaugural meeting and day conference at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester. At that meeting Cecily Clark's paper Personal name studies: bringing them to a wider audience was read in her absence by Dr. Alex Rumble, and Oliver Padel spoke on The structure of Celtic place-names. Subsequent meetings of the Society are listed here.

An archive of CNS and SNSBI papers was deposited in the Institute for Name-Studies at the University of Nottingham in 2012. A catalog is here.

Past officers

Chairmen of Council

Presidents of the Society


The current SNSBI constitution (adopted in 1999) may be downloaded as a pdf file here.