Author Topic: Kent Place Names  (Read 441 times)

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Online MartinR

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2020, 10:57:06 AM »
Ronald Marsh* states that after 175 there was systematic fortification of the town.  What is known of the walls indicates that the castle hill was within them.  Brown** states that the castle used the remains of the Roman town walls as foundations.  There is no evidence of a formal fortress (though strong supposition of Plautius setting up a small fort during the invasion) but the fortified town enclosed the castle hill.  Subsequent Norman building has erased the previous property there (from Domesday we know that the land yielded an annual rent of 17/4 to the bishop in 1086 values).  That's why I used the term "strong point" and eschewed "stonghold", "fort", "fortress" or "castle".
Pre-Roman Belgic remains and coin dies have been found.  The Celtic "kingdom" of the Cantiaci had two main administrative centres or 'oppida': Canterbury and Rochester.  Due to two millennia of changing land use there is no evidence whether this was a true oppidum (a large fortified Iron Age settlement) or something much smaller.  Hence my final warning sentence about "How much importance and how much size is, however, pure speculation and nearly devoid of evidence!"
There is a suggestion that the Watling Street is based upon an earlier trackway which crossed the Medway at this point.  I've not been able to find any details of how, there wouldn't have been a bridge and I would have thought the bottom too silty for a ford.  However, at that time the currents and depth were less (Strood hadn't been built up narrowing the river) so a low tide crossing might have been possible, alternatively there might have been some sort of ferry.  The river used to cut in to below the castle (until the Esplanade was built) and early drawings show it being used by boats as a landing place.

*Marsh, Ronald (1974), Rochester, The evolution of the City, Medway Borough Council
**Brown, Reginald Allen (1969), Rochester Castle, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office

Offline Cosmo Smallpiece

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2020, 10:54:04 PM »
I'm in some agreement until the bit about the Romans and the castle hill strong point. I thought there was no evidence of a Roman castle there? I know the town wall that eventually surrounded the Roman town also passed that point, but strong point?


Back to the Rochester name, as you said, we take the derivative as the Roman fort by the bridge, then it follows that that Roman name can only have been applied after the Romans built the bridge. It therefore does nothing to prove there was a pre-Roman strong hold there. There was one at Canterbury, and traces have been found of that.

Online MartinR

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2020, 07:27:49 PM »
But if the river is your main highway, then Rochester has the advantage of firm(ish) banks and access to the hinterland.  It would be a lot easier to transport goods from the Maidstone area to Rochester by water than over the escarpment.  Likewise goods imported from or exported to places further afield on the Thames and beyond would have a natural port in the Rochester area.  As both the Romans and Normans realised, Rochester Castle hill is a strong point from which you can control the Medway, further downstream, for instance at Upnor,  weapons of the date would not have the range.  Downstream the area was basically marsh (excepting Frindsbury and Upnor) which merged into the tidal mudflats.  In Rochester itself 1961 Belgic remains were found under the Roman layers, and pre-Roman coin dies have also been discovered.  These may indicate that it was a centre of some importance.  How much importance and how much size is, however, pure speculation and nearly devoid of evidence!

Offline Cosmo Smallpiece

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2020, 06:39:55 PM »
I thought about Kitt's Coty, etc after I had posted.Since then, I've been wondering why there would even be any Ancient settlement in Rochester, as the site is fairly pointless before the Roman bridge. It would be hemmed in by a marsh to the north and river to the west. I could imagine Burham being a much more logical location.


 We'll get Time Team onto it after the lockdown!

Offline Smiffy

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2020, 06:22:20 PM »
There seems to be a lot of Roman and pre-Roman archaeology around Burham, so perhaps it had some ancient significance that has yet to be determined?

Offline Cosmo Smallpiece

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2020, 01:55:05 PM »
Found this interesting and thought provoking. If no pre-Roman settlement had been found in Rochester, then is it possible that Burham was the actual location of the large Briton settlement here? This would place it closer to the ancient fording places, Pilgrims Way and nearer the perported location of the Battle of Medway.

Offline Smiffy

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2020, 01:42:00 PM »
You may well be right - Burham is some 4.5 miles from Rochester, so there could have been some other unknown and nearer stronghold. If it was some kind of wooden fortification this may have disappeared long ago without trace.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2020, 10:06:29 AM »
Smiffy. Burham. My friend's uncle had a farm at Burham Down, which was on top of a ridge, overlooking the whole area, so it could have been a fortress in its own right originally. Not dependant on the nearness of Rochester.

Offline Smiffy

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2020, 11:21:10 PM »

Milstead
 
From the Old English meolc stede "Milk place"
 
Milstede – c.1100
Milkstede – 1243
Milsted – 1247
Milcstede – 1278
Milstede – 1313
Mylsted – 1596
 
Probably the site of a dairy farm. Noted as Milsted on OS maps until 1961, changed to Milstead sometime in the later 1960's.


Capstone
 
Old English Cybbles tūn "Cybbel's farmstead"
 
Kebbeliston' – 1254
Kilbeston – 1292
Keblistone – 1347
Capston – 1769


Burham
 
Old English burh hām "stronghold settlement" or "settlement near a stronghold"
 
Burhham – 995
Burham – 1016
 
The stronghold probably refers to nearby Rochester.


Offline Smiffy

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2020, 05:06:58 PM »

Capel-le-Ferne
 
Middle English capel Old English ferne "Chapel built where ferns grow"
Villa seē Marie in the Verne – 1369
Capel ate Verne, in seynte Marie in the fferne – 1377
Capell – 1431
Capell' in le Ferne 1535
Named after the 12th century Church of St. Mary.


Folkestone
 
From the Old English Folcan stān "Folca's stone"
Folcanstan – 696
Folcestan – 927
Folcstane – 1052
Fulchestan – 1086
Folkston – 1610
There was a stone here which acted as a land mark for the meeting of the Hundred.


Sheerness
 
Old English scīr næss "Bright headland"
Scerhnesse – 1203
Shernesse – 1221
Shirenasse – 1462
Sheerness – 1690


Offline Smiffy

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2020, 10:02:52 PM »

Painter's Forstal
 
From the family of Robert le Peyntour in 1278.
Paynters – 1535
 
The addition of "forstal" is a dialect word denoting the land in front of farm buildings.


Sheldwich
 
From the Old English seild wīc "Shield farm" A farm shielded against the elements, or possibly shielded against attack.
 
Scildwic – 784
Sceldwik – 1198
Sheldwych – 1254


Sheldwich Lees
 
The affix "Lees" is from the Old English lǣs, an open field or meadow.


Walderslade
 
Old English weald slæd "Forest valley"
 
Waldeslade – 1190
Walderslade – 1278


Waldershare
 
Old English wealdwara scearu "Forest dwellers boundary"
 
Walwalesere – 1086
Waldwereshawe – 1240
Waldwarshare – 1278
Waldershare – 1610


Online grandarog

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2020, 06:00:15 PM »
Thats Great ,Thanks Smiffy. :)


MartinR  :-.
 Referring to your post .I always wondered where it got its name from.Situated, New Road Rochester
Quote, "There never was an actual place called "Roffensis" or any variant thereon"Always wondered where it got its name from





Offline Smiffy

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2020, 06:27:22 PM »

I thought I'd start adding these to compliment the town and village signs

Farningham
 
From the Old English fearninga hām "Fern dwellers settlement"
Frinningaham – 1042
Forningeham – 1086
Færningeham – c.1100
Ferningeham – 1201
Farmyngham – 1596
Farthingloe and Friningham share the same origins.


Hextable
  
Old English hēah stapol "High staple" A staple or post that may have been used as a landmark on high ground.
Hagestapel – 1203
Heghstaple – 1327
Exstapul – 1471
Hackstaple or Hexetable – 1769


East Sutton
 
Old English sūð tūn "South farmstead"
Sudtone – 1086
Est Sutton– 1212
East Sutton – 1265
Originally called "South" because of its position on the estate, "East" was added to distinguish it from Sutton Valence which lies to the west.


Upchurch
 
From the Old English uppe cirice "Church standing high up".
Upcyrcean – c.1100
Upechereche – c.1150
Uppechirche – 1208
Upchurch – 1596


Offline Smiffy

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2020, 04:45:30 PM »

It's odd that a town (or should I say city) like Rochester owes its name to what might be termed a clerical error by the Venerable Bede. It makes you wonder what the name would have been if not for this error in interpretation. If "stronghold by the bridge" had been taken as the Old English name, then we could have ended up with something like "Burbridge" or, dare I say it - "Casterbridge"  :)


Thurnham
 
Old English þorn hām "Thorn bush settlement" A settlement near to a thorn bush. Thorne and Thornden have similar origins.
Turneham – 1086
Thorneham – 1174
Tornham – 1218
Thurnham – 1596
 
The name is still noted as Thurnham in 1819, but after this the name is shown as Thornham. It seems to have changed back to Thurnham again sometime prior to WWII.

Online MartinR

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Re: Kent Place Names
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2020, 12:45:07 PM »
There is a dispute as to the origin of the name Rochester, see below.  It was known to the Romans as Durobrivae.  Over time this changed to Durobrivis (c.730) or Durobrevis (c.844), both clearly alternative spellings of the same word.  Overtime people got lazy, and the "Duro" part was lost giving a name of "Robrivis".  The (Roman) castle was the most significant building in the town: "Robrivis Caester".  Suprisingly this is one of the things that Bede got wrong (but then he was working 300 miles away).  He assumed that the first part was from a Danish name and made it "Hrofes caester" or "Hrofi's fort".  The changes are then fairly straighforward:
  • Hrofæscæstre c.730
  • Hrofescester 811
  • Rovescester 1086
  • Rochester 1610.
There never was an actual place called "Roffensis" or any variant thereon.  The latinised adjective is a relatively recent invention for the benefit of Church, City and school.
(Taken in part from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Rochester,_Kent)Origin disputeTwo origins have been suggested:
  • The Celtic word "Dourbruf" means "swift stream".  Latinise this and you can get "Durobrivae".
  • Treated as a Latin word the meaning would be "Stronghold by the bridge".  Taking these parts separately:
Stronghold: No pre-Roman fort or stonghold has been discovered.  2,000 of settlement would probably have obliterated it.  The invading Romans would have constructed a marching camp which may have remained as a small fort after the Battle of Medway.  It has been pointed out that Rochester was not a formal fort, but after 175 AD there was a fortification of the city walls (still visible in places).
Bridge: There was no bridge when the Romans arrived.  Shortly after the battle a pontoon bridge may have been constructed, a bridge of 9 piers was built soon thereafter, evidence of which was found in the C19 by the Rochester Bridge Trust during building work.