Dr Philip A. Shaw

Dr Philip A. ShawBA (Oxford), PhD (Leeds)

Senior Lecturer in English Language and Old English

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Research Interests

Dr Shaw's research focuses on Old English and other early Germanic languages, with particular interests in linguistic evidence for pagan religious life and conversion to Christianity.

He has published on a range of areas of medieval language and literature, including Old Norse mythography, Old English charms, hairstyles in Old English literature, miracles of the Virgin Mary and Anglo-Saxon coin inscriptions. He co-edited Texts and Identities in the Early Middle Ages (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2006). Together with Joan C. Beal, he updated Charles Barber's The English Language: A Historical Introduction for its second edition (Cambridge University Press, 2009). He has recently published Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World: Eostre, Hreda and the Cult of Matrons (Bristol Classical Press, 2011), a re-assessment of the goddesses Eostre and Hreda mentioned by Bede in his De Temporum Ratione.

He is currently working on the origins of Old English orthographic practice and the Middle English metrical chronicle attributed to Robert of Gloucester, as well as ornithological terms in Old English, Old Norse and medieval Latin.


Dr Shaw is part of the team working on the major Leverhulme-funded project The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain. His project, Dialect in Diaspora: Linguistic Variation in Early Anglo-Saxon England, began in October 2011, with Dr Martin Findell as the Research Associate on the project.

Postgraduate Supervision

Dr Shaw is currently supervising two PhD students:

Sanne Van Der Schee (early Old English phonology and orthography)

Freya Brooks (female readerships for the Canterbury Tales)

Dr Shaw would welcome enquiries from postgraduate students interested in the following topics:

  • Old English language and literature
  • Pre-Christian religion and conversion in the Germanic-speaking world
  • English Place-Names
  • Onomastics

Teaching and Administration

Director of Admissions

Recent Publications

'Telling a hawk from an herodio: on the origins and development of the Old English word wealhhafoc and its relatives', Medium Ævum, 82 (2013), 1-22

'Adapting the roman alphabet for writing Old English: Evidence from coin epigraphy and single-sheet charters', Early Medieval Europe, 21 (2013), 115-39

'The composition of the metrical chronicle attributed to Robert of Gloucester', English Manuscript Studies: 1100-1700, 17 (2012), 140-54

Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World: Eostre, Hreda and the Cult of Matrons (London: Bristol Classical Press, 2011)

'The role of gender in some Viking-Age innovations in personal naming', Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 7 (2011),157-78

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