Coordinates: 53°19′26″N 3°08′10″W / 53.324°N 3.136°W / 53.324; -3.136

Dingesmere is a place known only from the Old English poem[1] of the Battle of Brunanburh. The name is found in versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle from the year 937.

Lines 53-56 of the poem in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (version A) read:

Gewitan him þa Norðmen nægledcnearrum,
dreorig daraða laf, on Dingesmere
ofer deop wæter Difelin secan,
eft Iraland, æwiscmode.

(The B, C, D and W versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle contain the variant spellings Dyngesmere, Dingesmere, Dynigesmere and Dinnesmere.)

These lines have been translated [2] as:

Then the sorry remnant of the Norsemen, who had escaped the spears, set out upon the sea of Dinge in their nail-studded ships, making for Dublin over deep waters. Humiliated in spirit they returned to Ireland.

As Dingesmere does not correspond to any known place-name its meaning has caused considerable controversy. Apart from “sea of Dinge”, suggestions have included: “dingy sea”;[3] “sea of noise”;[4] and “wetland of the Thing (assembly)”.[5]

One of the locations that has been cited is situated on the Dee Estuary at Heswall, Wirral.[6] Another possible location is Lingham, on the Irish Sea coastline of Wirral at Moreton.[7]

It has also been proposed[8] that Dingesmere corresponds to Foulness Valley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, which in Anglo-Saxon times would have been a wetland, or mere, from the region of Holme-on-Spalding-Moor to the Humber estuary. The name ‘Foulness’ comes from the Old English fūle[n] ēa, meaning “dirty water”,[9] because iron deposits in the water produced a brown discolouration; i.e. a ‘dung-coloured wetland’, or, in Old English, ‘dinges-mere’ (Old English ding, dung[10] + mere, wetland).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Battle of Brunanburh". Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  2. ^ Chadwick, Nora Kershaw. 1922. Anglo-Saxon and Norse Poems. Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Ellis, George. 1801. Specimens of the Early English Poets. 2nd ed. See also the Oxford English Dictionary, ``dingy´´ 2.a.
  4. ^ Bosworth, Joseph. "An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary Online." Dynge. Ed. Thomas Northcote Toller and Others. Comp. Sean Christ and Ondřej Tichý. Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, 21 Mar. 2010. Accessed 27 Aug. 2018.
  5. ^ Cavill, Paul. ‘Revisiting Dingesmere’, Jnl English Place-Name Society, 30 (2003–04), 25–38.
  6. ^ "Revisiting Dingesmere" (PDF). University of Nottingham. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  7. ^ Website, Nyanglish. "Dingesmere". Nyanglish. Japan: Gödel Inc. pp. One. Retrieved 19 November 2015. Prior to the Norman conquest, the Lingham area of Moreton was a possible location for Dingesmere, mentioned with regard to the Battle of Brunanburh, in Egil's Saga. At the time of the Domesday Book, the area formed part of the large township of Eastham.
  8. ^ England, S.A., 2013, The Battle of Brunanburh, Archaeological Forum Journal: CBA Yorkshire 2, 35-48.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Clark Hall, J.R, 1960, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, 4th ed., Cambridge University Press.