[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)]
This name also appears as Tectoverdi in the literature, but the tribal name is deduced from an inscription appearing on an altar stone found at Beltingham in Northumberland, the inscription including the name Textoverdorum. The form Textoverdi will thus be taken here to be the correct form of the tribal name.
Normally the letter X in a Romano-British name stands in for CS in the corresponding Celtic name, even where the c and the s belong to different elements of the Celtic name, as in Racstomessa → Raxtomessa. It is this which enables us to deduce that the tribal name Textoverdi is based on a river-name Lutecstobertena (though the ending need not have been ena). This river-name is of a well-known structure, comprising a river-suffix, here bert(ena), attached to a place-name, here Lutecst(ion). The river-letters b and t in the river-suffix respectively correspond to the hill-letters s and l in the place-name. The hill-letter l is used in the inversion-type manner and in this case is l2. The river-suffix also includes the river-letter r, so it is possible that the corresponding hill-letter m had earlier appeared in some element such as omo between the Lutec and st elements of the place-name. The Lutec element of the place-name means ‘hill high steep’ and the st element means ‘hill high’. The river-name Lutecstobertena experienced common changes, namely the deletion of initial Lu (as in Lucoganges → Coganges), the replacement of cs by x, the change of b to v and of t to d, these changes giving us the modified river-name Textoverdena, the tribe then being called the Textoverdi. The place called Lutecstion need not have been at Beltingham. Indeed it can have been anywhere along the course of the Tyne/South Tyne. It would actually be preferable to locate it to the east of Beltingham, nearer to an area where place-names in the hill-letter l2 are known, names such as Lobocarion (Corielopocarium) at South Shields, Lucoganges (Coganges) at Chester-le-Street and Lincobigla (Lincovigla) at Lanchester, and nearer to an area which had been inhabited by people who used the river-letter r, as seen in Derbentione (the Derwent) and Vedra (the Wear). It is thus here proposed that Lutecstion was the hillfort at West Wylam (NGR: NZ 106 636), this standing adjacent a steep slope just south of the river Tyne. The river-name Lutecstobertena will thus have been applied to the Tyne itself. None of the names of places on the north side of the Tyne/South Tyne from Vindovala at Rudchester to Bindolande (Vindolanda) at Chesterholm appear to include the hill-letter l2, the later of the two hill-letters in Lutecstion, so we can deduce that the territory of the Textoverdi lay to the south of the Tyne/South Tyne. That territory may well have been large enough to include both West Wylam and Beltingham.
But note that the suggested form Lutecstobertena rests on the fact that some people who used the hill-letters s and m continued to use their river-letters b and r in the old-style manner after they had switched over to coining inversion-type place-names. The form bert for the river-element is thus in order. It is also possible, however, that the name had been Lutecsd(om)obertena (though there would probably have been a vowel between the s and the d, and the element in the hill-letter m need not have been present in the place-name since the people who used the hill-letter m may have lived somewhere else along the course of the river). In the form Lutecsd(om)obertena the hill-letters s and m are used in the old-style manner and so one would expect the river-element to have the form bert. Starting from Lutecsdobertena one would only need the additional common change of d→t to arrive at the modified river-name Textoverdena, the basis for the tribal name Textoverdi.
Note further that regardless of whether the river-name was Lutecstobertena or Lutecsdobertena the modern river-name Tyne may simply be a slightly modified form of the tena part of the old name.
[This page was last modified on 26 March 2022]