Township: Mannal

Map Reference: Mannal 300

Name Type: township

Meaning: There are at least four plausible reconstructions:
• ON man ‘slave’, thought to be the derivation of Manvik in Vestfold (NS). ‘OI man ‘man’ is an ancient word only used in old laws and poetry. [Another meaning is] ‘bondman’, probably originally of prisoners of war, who were sold as slaves. [Man-heimar is] the name of a farm in western Iceland. Local legend attributes the name to English captives kept there by Lady Olaf for having slain her husband during the English trade (1467). But at that time the word man had become quite obsolete, and so the name must be older, probably dating from the time of the first settler Geirmund, who had been a freebooter in the British waters before he came to Iceland. He may have had his house-hold of bondmen at this farm’ (CV, 409) ON man (genitive manna) ‘men’, suggesting a meeting place (Berit Sandnes, pers. comm.), or a settlement exclusively of men (Macniven 2015, 219). There is a Manni Geo in Shetland; names in Manna- are quite common Norway, for example Manna and Mannaberg (NG)
• ‘The prefix man(n) in Hebridean settlement names is a common one as in the names Manish [on poor land on the east coast of Harris and Raasay]. It is also common in Norway where Rygh gives its meaning as a ‘hillocky landscape feature’’ (Johnston 1991, 93)
• Man(n)dal(en) occurs four times as a place-name in Norway (NG), and Mandal and Mandalen are farm names in OR. Mandal could, therefore, be a transfer name. Mandal in Vest Agder derives from an older river name M?rn (NS). (Interestingly, a nearby beach Sjøsanden ‘the sands of the lake’ at 800 m is one of the most popular in Norway)
There seem to be two distinct generics used for the settlement name: ON v?llr ‘field, meadow’ and ON dalr ‘valley or piece of ground’. ‘Substitution by synonymous elements in the same language: place-name elements are occasionally replaced by more or less synonymous elements in the same language...[for example] during the eighteenth century spellings for Obreck [with ON brekka ‘slope’] and Oback [with ON bakki ‘slope’] alternate for Oback in Harray [Orkney]’ (Sandnes 2010a, 352). V?llr and dalr are hardly synonymous, but there appears to have been two distinct settlement names, which have been picked out in the rentals in an almost alternating manner. They later fused to form one farming township name. This may account for the reduction of the generic.

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Languages : Norse