Identification: the river East Rother

This is the Roman name of the river which reached the sea at the fort of Lemanis, at Lympne in Kent, the fort-name simply having been transferred to the river. The name of the fort is thought by scholars to be derived from a root meaning either ‘elm tree’ or ‘marsh’, but the most obvious feature of the fort is that it stands on a hillside adjacent what was then the coast. The l and m in the name are thus most likely to be the hill-letters l and m, the corresponding river-letters being t and r, both of these being present in the river-name Rother (the t being changed to th). The name Rother is thus most probably derived from the Celtic name of the river. The initial R of Rother is presumably just the river-letter r applied by later people who used the hill-letter m in an inversion-type manner. The river East Rother is said to have flowed past the fort until changes were effected during the Napoleonic period, when the military canal was built. Note that one sees the same t, r river-letter compound in Ravenna's Durbis river and the modern Dour (the river at Dover), and in Turupis (apparently the original form of Romano-British Rutupis at Richborough) and in the modern river-name Stour. 


 [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]


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