[If the text below uses any of the terms ‘hill-letter’, ‘river-letter’, ‘old-style name’, ‘transitional name’ and ‘inversion-type name’ a reader who is not familiar with these terms may wish to refer briefly to ‘The Celtic names of hillforts’, where an explanation of those terms is given].



The Celtic names of hillforts


Brandon Camp


Location:   just south of Leintwardine, Herefordshire

OS map reference:   SO 400 724

Celtic name:   Bravnogenion or Bravogenion

Source:                                Ptolemy       -  Brannogenium, Branogenium

               Antonine Itinerary (Iter XII)       -   Bravonio

probably Ravenna Cosmography (58)        -   Branogenium


This is a univallate hillfort, roughly in the shape of a triangle with rounded corners, built high up on a hill across the river Teme from Leintwardine. The Celtic name is an old-style compound in the hill-letters r and n2, where Brav means ‘high hill slope’ and gen means ‘steep hill’. The hillfort does not actually surround the summit but stands on the slope below the summit, so the Brav element is correct. The slope is not markedly steep on the actual site of the hillfort but is very steep below the fort, so the element gen is also correct.

The Celtic name was transferred, modified slightly to Brannogenium or Branogenium, presumably initially to a Roman fort built somewhere in the vicinity and later to the Romano-British town at Leintwardine itself. It is not clear whether the second n of Brannogenium is intrusive or is part of the original ending of the name when this existed in the Brav form, a name somewhat like Bravonio, which, strangely enough, is the form actually given in the Antonine Itinerary.