[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


Westbury Camp


Location:  northwest of Westbury-sub-Mendip, North Somerset 

OS map reference: ST 492 511

Celtic name:  Dolocindo

Source:  Ravenna Cosmography (29) – Dolocindo


This earthwork stands on the southern edge of a plateau, the ground to the south dropping steeply some 230 metres to the village of Rodney Stoke. The northern half of the earthwork is on the plateau at an altitude above the 265 metre contour, there being a slight eminence inside the enclosure. The southern half of the earthwork is on the slope, going down to about the 250 metre contour.


The name Dolocindo comprises an inversion-type element Dol, meaning ‘summit of hill’, qualified by the old-style element cind, meaning ‘steep hill summit’. The name is thus entirely appropriate for the site.


The name as it appears in Ravenna is likely to refer to a Roman post, so presumably there was a Roman post in the vicinity and it took its name from the hillfort. There appears to be some doubt in archaeological circles as to whether the earthwork really was a hillfort and, if so, whether it was ever completed. The name Dolocindo, however, indicates two-period occupation – the generic Dol element will have been coined at some time later than 120BC. The old-style qualifying element cind is earlier, the hill-letter n being either n1 or n2. The writer’s reasons for associating the Ravenna name Dolocindo with Westbury Camp are given in Chapter 10 of the Home menu: Roman place-names in southwest England.


[This page was last modified on 10 April 2021]