[NB The brief explanation given below has been drafted on the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the basic building-blocks used in Celtic topographical place-names (Chapter 1 of the Home menu), with the structure of compound place-names (Chapter 2) and with the structure of Celtic river-names (Chapter 19)]
Faint inscriptions on lead pigs found in Chester and Staffordshire are thought by some to include the name DECEANGL.
This tribe appears to have used the hill-letter s (see ‘Ptolemy’s Celtic tribes’, 4) and so the tribal name will be based on a topographical place-name somewhat of the form Descecanglion, where Desc means ‘summit of hill steep’ and can and gl are both old-style elements meaning ‘steep hill’. Descecanglion will thus have been a hillfort on the summit of a steep hill and since the can element uses the hill-letter n1 the hillfort will date back to the 3rd or even the 4th century BC. We see the can element again in Canubio, a river-name (of the river Conwy in North Wales) comprising the river-letter b (corresponding to the hill-letter s) attached to a topographical element Can meaning ‘steep hill’. The reason for this is that Canubio is a modification, a simplification, presumably carried out by the Romans, of a Celtic name for the river, a name somewhat of the form Descecanglubena (place-name Descecanglion + river-suffix ubena). The river Conwy is one of a number of rivers which had two alternative names, one a pure river-name made up of river-letters and the other a name comprising a river-prefix or river-suffix attached to the name of a place on the river concerned. In the present case the pure river-name was Ptolemy’s Tuerobis. But to return to Descecanglion, at some stage the s and second c were lost or omitted (a common change in Romano-British place-names) to leave the modified place-name Deceanglion, and the people of, or the people ruled from, Deceanglion were called the Deceangli.
[This page was last modified on 24 March 2021]