In a series of papers, Leonard Neidorf has argued that Germanic heroic legend circulated in Anglo-Saxon England predominantly in the seventh and eighth centuries, manifesting itself in Latin testimonia, vernacular poetry, visual art, royal genealogies, and personal names. These papers, together with conversations with their author, gave new impetus and purpose to a note I had been contemplating writing off and on for two or three of decades, a note on the other Heorot.
In two firmly historical passages Bede speaks of a place and a structure, the name of which is built on the word or name Heorot. And as unlikely as it seems, Beowulf scholarship has largely neglected to mention this potentially interesting fact. When I began research for this note, I thought that, against all probability, that neglect had been total; on the whole this initial belief has so far held true, with the unusual nineteenth-century exception of Daniel Henry Haigh, whose views I discuss below, together with brief modern allusions to Haigh. I cannot explain how this second Heorot has escaped the attention of Beowulf scholars – if it really has – and even the brashest scholar would be uneasy about too confidently asserting a negative, especially in such highly cultivated fields as Bede and Beowulf. I will at least affirm that this connection is not noticed in the encyclopedic recent edition of Klaeber or in the older commentaries known to me and so cannot, at the very least, be well known in our field.