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?
Nicola Griffith is an English novelist living in Seattle. Now dual US/UK citizen. Author of Menewood (2023), Spear, Hild, So Lucky, and five other novels, plus a memoir. Two-time winner of the Washington State Book Award; winner of (among others) Nebula, Tiptree, and World Fantasy Awards, the Premio Italia, and six Lambda Literary Award. Runs a personal website, as well as a research blog. Also on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
6 thoughts on “place names/etymology”
Sounds reasonable… or maybe something like DunBrauc. Dun meaning fortified place like Dumbarton and Dunkeld, Dunbar etc. Either that or a Caer- placename. Depends on how large and fortified it was…
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.
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. >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_forms_in_British_place_names
Thanks for the link. I’ll go have a good scrum about.
The go-to person for Brittonic/Welsh language is Heather Rose Jones at heatherrosejones.com
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…