This is a straightforward compound river-name in the river-letters l and b (changed to v). Detailed information as to the different river-letters and how they were combined to form compound river-names, together with information as to the four categories of Celtic river-names, is given in Chapter 19: the rivers of Roman Britain.
Identification: the river Aln, Northumberland
NB. The numbers accompanying names on this page are those provided by Richmond and Crawford in Richmond and Crawford, 1949.
Identification: the river Avon, Hampshire
In this case Anglo-Saxon settlers appear to have recognized the initial Al as an element which they knew 'the' Celts had used to signify 'river', and so only the proper name of the river, Aunus, was taken into English, this surviving in the form Avon.
Identification: the river Avon at Stratford-on-Avon
The river-name was transferred by the Romans to a fort which they built on the banks of the river at Stratford-on-Avon, Ravenna's Alavna (78) (for an explanation of this identification see Chapter 13 (Corinium to Sandonio). When the river-name passed into English it was evidently known that Al just meant ‘river’, the proper name of the river being taken to be Avna, which was taken into English in the form Avon.
Identification: The river Esk, Cumbria
Alavna (118) is the name after Gabrocentio at Hard Knott pass in the Ravenna Cosmography (for an explanation of this identification see Chapter 15 (Navione to Alavna (187)) and so must have been the fort at Ravenglass. Evidently the Romans simply transferred the river-name to the fort. Presumably at some point the fort was abandoned and was later rebuilt under a new name of the Isca-type, this name later being transferred by the Romans to the river, now called the Esk. The hill-letter s in Isca corresponds to the river-letter b, changed to v, in Alavna.
[This page was last modified on 08 March 2021]
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