place names/etymology

I need to decide what to call a fortified camp south of Carlisle, that is, what the people of Rheged in the early 7th C might have called it. It’s known these days as Brougham; the Romans called it Brocavum (it was the base of Danubian numerii) but now we’re a few centuries on. I know nothing of Brittonic etymology. However (because, y’know, I’m always willing to take a guess), going by the change of Eboracum to Ebrauc, perhaps Brauc or Broauc might not be too far off the mark. Thoughts?

6 thoughts on “place names/etymology

  1. Do you think a dun- or caer- placename might have carried over into modern-day use? We’re talking about one of the more rugged areas of Cumbria, about twenty miles south of Carlisle, where Cumbric/Brittonic (are those two terms synonymous? I don’t know…) might have survived into the eleventh century, and place names with it. Carlisle itself is a case in point. The Romans called it Luguvalium, something like ‘the place of Lugh’ and two thousand years later it’s ‘Carlisle’ which sounds as though it got a caer- placename added to the ‘Lugh’ bit. I admit to being a bit lost, though, when it comes to tracing this stuff through the centuries.

  2. I think it really depends on how many Anglo-Saxons or Norse were in the area. The fact that the name survived so well must mean some continuity. -ham means farmstead so it may have devolved into an estate eventually. If it was a small fortified place then Dun probably fits much better than Caer. I think I lot of Caers turned into -burghs (Bamburgh, Edinburgh). There were a lot of Roman and post-Roman forts in Northumbria, so how many other Caer-s or Dun-s survived around there? That might tell you something about replacement or translation of names in the area. Considering you know that it was transformed into a -ham I think you could use it with or without the Dun. Here is a wikipedia site with lots of placename elements.

  3. Many thanks for that. I'll add her info to my hoard of people to pester with questions once I have a rough draft.

    Meanwhile I'll start practising my ingratiating smile…

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