Itinerary XIV

Another route from Caerleon to Silchester

Roman place-name Roman Miles English Miles Modern place-names Margary route number
Item alio itenere ab Isca Calleva m.p. sic. CIII 93.75 Another route from Caerleon to Silchester
Venta Silurum VIIII 9 Caerwent 60a
Abona XIIII 13 Seamills  [sea crossing]
Trajectus VIIII 9 Bitton  54
Aquis Solis VI 5.75 Bath  54
Verlucione XV 14.5 Sandy Lane  53
Cunetione XX 16 Mildenhall  53
Spinis XV 15.5 Speen  53 & 41a
Calleva XV 12 Silchester  41a

This route must involve a crossing of the River Severn somewhere, as the distance from Venta Silurum to Abona can only be that covered by the journey across land to the ferry terminal somewhere of the Welsh coast. Seamills is between Avonmouth and Bristol, on the River Avon. The exact route between Seamills and Bitton is rather difficult to determine with precision due to Bristol filling the intervening space.

It is sad that Bitton somehow lost its Roman name of Trajectus, which appeals to me. Hopefully some businesses around here remember their Roman heritage, and include the name in the company title. Would suit a company producing projectiles.

Abona is sometimes noted elsewhere as Avona, and of course relates to the River Avon, upon which Seamills is situated. This demonstrates the antiquity of the name for the River Avon. It is often pointed out that afon is Welsh for river, and this kind of place-name evidence is often used to conclude that a form of Welsh (or more correctly Brythonic) language was spoken in these areas. There are of course other River Avons, including those in Wiltshire and Hampshire.

Although there is other evidence of Brythonic language use in Hampshire, it is not widespread but the existing evidence features another river-related word, defr, meaning waters. we have this in Andover, Micheldever, and the Candovers, names which are spread across the central and western areas of Hampshire.

Vindomi is made up of another possibly Brythonic word, Vindo-, a root common in several words related to white, or winter (as in snow covered), both of which share this root. In Vindomi’s case it probably relates one one way or another to the local geology around Neatham. Either it relates to a chalk hill, or bare chalk feature that was somehow significant, or it may relate to the clarity of the spring water hereabouts. There were a series of votive wells in the neighbourhood of Roman Vindomi(1). Nearby Alton is named after the Wells (‘Well-town’)(2).

(1) Britain after Rome, Fleming, Robin, Penguin, London, 2011 p.13.
(2) The Place-Names of Hampshire, Coates, Richard, Batsford, London, 1989 p.22.

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