The Celtic names of hillforts
Location: north of Chichester, West Sussex
OS map reference: SU 877 111
Celtic name: Magno
Source: Ravenna Cosmography (44) – Navimago Regentium
Ptolemy - Noeomagus
Antonine Itinerary: Iter VII - Regno
This a contour hillfort some 5.6 ha in size on steep-sided St. Roche’s Hill.
The mago element of Navimago Regentium will have been magno originally, this being an old-style compound in the hill-letters m and n2, where the gn element means ‘steep hill’. The hillfort will have been called Magno. The Navi element, which presumably should be Novio, meaning ‘new’, was probably added by the Romans when they moved the inhabitants of the hillfort to a new settlement at Chichester. It is not clear whether the Regentium element was added at the same time (to distinguish Navimagno more clearly from Noviomagno near Maiden Castle in Dorset) or later, when the territory of the Regni became a civitas of the Roman province. Indeed it is not entirely clear whether the Regni were a people separate from the Atrebates at the date when The Trundle was seized from its previous occupants, who used the hill-letter m. But we see this seizure of control at three other hillforts on the South Downs, namely Cardadonecon (Ardaoneon) at Harting Beacon, Carnis (Armis) at Butser Hill and Claducendum (Clausentum) at Old Winchester Hill. The hill-letter n2 is the latest hill-letter in all three names, as it is in Navimagno. The forms given in all three ancient sources appear to refer to Chichester rather than The Trundle.
[This page was last modified on 01 April 2022]