Identification: the Humber
Gabrantuicorum appears to have lost an m at some stage of medieval copying. The original spelling was probably Gambranduicorum (the t is not possible since the old-style compound gambr and the inversion-type element ant would be in the wrong order within the name), where Gambrand is a compound very like the Gambagland of Gambaglanda (Birdoswald), but employing the hill-letter r rather than l, and the r being qualified only by b meaning ‘high’ rather than by bag meaning ‘high and steep’. The name Gambranduicorum presumably refers to the people of Gambrand, this place being located at the top of a steep, high hill. Perhaps the high ground in question is that between Barton-upon-Humber and South Ferriby, though it is not clear whether the name Gambrand referred to the entire area of raised ground or to one specific place within it. One sometimes reads in the literature that the Iron Age settlement at South Ferriby stood on a hill now lost to river/sea erosion. If that is true and if that hill had been steep then South Ferriby itself may have been Gambrand. The name Humber is presumably derived from the Gambr part of the old name, the g having been anglicised to h.
[NB. Detailed information as to the different river-letters and as to 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. Detailed information as to the different hill-letters is given in Chapter 1 and information as to how the hill-letters were combined to form compound place-names is given in Chapter 2]
[This page was last modified on 06 April 2021]