By Staffan Nyström & Svante Strandberg
In the 17th century, the village of Hundsgran in Gryt parish, Södermanland, was turned into a säteri, a nobleman’s tax-exempt country estate. The new estate was given the name Graneberg, which is used to this day. Early occurrences of the name Hundsgran include j hundsgranom (1381), Hwndsgraan (1447), j hundzgranom (1451) and Hundzgran (1466). The oldest known records are thus plural in form.
In this essay, different possible interpretations of Hundsgran are discussed. The first element could conceivably contain the genitive of a man’s name, Hun or Hund. The authors prefer, though, to interpret it as deriving from the word hun, used as an appellative or nature name referring to an elevation. OSw. hun corresponds to OWScand. húnn ‘bear cub; dice; piece of whale blubber’ etc. An original sense of the word has been assumed to be ‘block, coarse piece of wood’. Close to Graneberg there is a prominent height, which could aptly have been named using a word for ‘block of rock, rocky hill’ or the like.