Identification: the estuary of the river Great Ouse
Metaris is a land-name in the hill-letters m and r, the corresponding river-letters being r and s, these yielding a river-name somewhat of the form Isur, exactly as in the case of the Yorkshire Ouse. In Yorkshire the place-name corresponding to the river-name Isur was Smetriadum (159) at Bainbridge (this identification is explained in Chapter 15: Navione to Alavna (187)), which has exactly the same letter combination m, t and r as in Metaris. Metaris was presumably a fort or settlement on the Great Ouse, the name being transferred by the Romans to the river. Ptolemy’s reference to the Metaris estuary may indicate that the coastline of the Wash was rather different in Roman days, since it indicates that the Great Ouse had an estuary.
[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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