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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 73 - 1959  pages 63
A Survey of Kent Place-Names. By P. H. Reaney, Litt.D., Ph.D., F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S.. Continued

impossible for him to use the vast accumulation of such documents now to be found in the Kent Archives Office, but there were others in the British Museum and the Public Record Office. Since 1934, too, many additional volumes have been published in the series of Pipe Rolls, Curia Regis Rolls, Close and Patent Rolls, and Inquisitions post mortem. Work on other counties suggests that these will contain much valuable material.
   Many of Wallenberg’s etymologies will need to be reconsidered. Obsessed at first by Zachrisson’s antipathy to personal-name derivations, he postulated a number of unrecorded topographical terms, the majority being names of hills or streams, and more than once, after a long discussion in favour of a stream-name, he was compelled to admit that there was no stream there. In his later book, he modified his views and agreed that Zachrisson’s reaction against derivation from personal-names had gone too far. But many of his etymologies are inconclusive. He gives two, or possibly three, alternatives and leaves the reader to make his own choice. It is true that for many place-names a definite etymology cannot be reached but it is an editor’s duty to eliminate the impossible, so far as he can. Both unrecorded topographical elements and hypothetical personal-names undoubtedly do occur in place-names and Kent place-names need revision in the light of the advances made in the 25 years since Wallenberg wrote. 

The frequent survival of otherwise unrecorded Old English personal-names in post-Conquest documents not only emphasizes the gaps in our knowledge of these names but, in a few instances, has actually proved that names postulated to explain place-names did really exist. Many place-names originally ending in -ingas, an early type denoting the settlement of a community, contain a personal-name. Rooting, from an original Rotingas, means "the men, followers or dependents of a man named Rota". This personal-name may well be a nickname meaning "the merry one", but Wallenberg’s interpretation that the settlers at Rooting were called "the merry, noble men" is impossible. A nickname may be applicable to a single individual, here the leader of the group, but to assume that all the settlers at a particular place had the same characteristics, physical, mental or moral, is absurd. The founders of Yalding cannot all have been old men or chieftains; Ealdlingas must be "the followers of Ealda ". Nor can all the men of Detling have been "men of a lumpy, rounded stature "or those of Malling" crazy, foolish men ", or those of Ratling "men making a rattling noise ".
   To test how far new material will confirm, correct or add to Wallenberg’s work, a preliminary examination has been made of certain sources, ready to hand and chosen at random, and not used by him.
   1 v. P. H. Reaney, Dictionary of British Surname (1958), xix-xxiv.

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