[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 those 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




Location: on the north side of Castlehill reservoir, north of Yetts o’Muckhart, Clackmannanshire

OS map reference:  NO 001 036                                             

Celtic name: Lindino or Lindinonaco

Source:  Ravenna Cosmography (214) - Litinomago (variant form: Lintinomago)


This is a small hillfort on the summit of a steep-sided hill.

The writer’s reasons for associating the name Litinomago with Downhill are given in Chapter 16 (Roman place-names in Scotland) of the Home menu. Ravenna’s variant form Lintinomago will be closer to the Celtic name, though the t will have been a d originally (cf. names such as Lindum, Lenda, Londinium), the m will be the result of medieval m/n confusion, and the g may have been either g or c in the Celtic name (c/g confusion is common). The late pre-Roman Celtic name will thus have been somewhat of the form Lindinonaco. The name of the hillfort will have been Lindino at an earlier date, this being a compound in the hill-letters l and n, where the nd element means ‘hill summit’. The problem lies in the naco element. This is an inversion-type element meaning ‘hill steep’, so that on the face of it the old-style and inversion-type elements of the name are in the wrong order. But there are a few names in which an old-style element in one hill-letter is followed by an inversion-type element in that same hill-letter, e.g. Omirededertis (the Celtic form of Ravenna’s Omiretedertis) and Bannatia. Lindinonaco may well be another such name.  The entire name Lindinonaco may refer to the hillfort on Downhill. It is alternatively possible that Lindino had been the hillfort and that Lindinonaco was a new settlement built at the foot of the hill to replace the hillfort.

But no matter whether Lindinonaco was the hillfort or a new settlement at the foot of the hill the Romans appear to have adopted the name for a fort which they built nearby, most probably adjacent the river Devon, since it would appear that Ravenna’s adjacent names Lintinomago and Devoni should be taken together as one name, rather like modern names such as Newcastle-upon-Tyne or Stoke-on-Trent.




[This page was last modified on 27 February 2021]