Identification: the river Stour, Kent


This name is present in the place-name list of both Ravenna and Ptolemy, but it appears actually to be a river-name transferred by the Romans to the fort/harbour which they built on the banks of the river at Richborough. The r and t in the name are the river-letters r and t present also in the modern name Stour. The pis/pie part of the name appears to be just a name ending - it is not likely to include the river-letter b, changed to p, corresponding to the hill-letter s.


Note that the original Celtic river-name was probably Turupis, the chronological order of the river-letters t and r then being the same as in Durbis (and in the modern river-names Stour and Dour) and the same as the chronological order of the corresponding hill-letters l and m in the place-name Lemanis (at Lympne). It would thus appear that the river-name Turupis was rearranged slightly to give the place-name Rutupis, just as the river-name Durbis was rearranged to give the place-name Dubris (at Dover). Richborough, Dover and Lympne are fairly close together, so it is likely that they were all controlled by the same group of Celts at any one historical time, at one time by those Celts who used the hill-letter m (and river-letter r) and later by those Celts who used the hill-letter l (and river-letter t). Note that the s at the beginning of the river-name Stour corresponds to the hill-letter r in the inversion-type name Averno of Bigbury Camp, just west of Canterbury. 


[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 9 November 2019]



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