Identification: river Axe, Devon  

The Tr is merely a compound element in the river-letters t and r, and axula is a compound land-name, a place-name, in the hill-letters s and l, the acs element (x=cs) referring to a location adjacent a steep slope. This is one of several river-names which were formed by adding a river-element as a prefix to a land-name. The name thus simply means the ‘river Axula’, where Axula was a place on the river. If, then, later Anglo-Saxon settlers were told that the river was the river Axula, they may have taken the l to be the letter l which they knew 'the' Celts had used just to signify 'river' (exactly as in the case of the river Alavna at Stratford-on-Avon), so they will have taken the proper name of the river to be Ax, now Axe.


The development of the river-name Traxula is explained in Chapter 19, 11.4.




[This page was last modified on 05 April 2021]


[NB. Detailed information as to the different river-letters and how they were combined to form compound river-names, together with information as to the four categories of Celtic river-names, is given in Chapter 19: the rivers of Roman Britain. Detailed information as to the different hill-letters is given in Chapter 1, and information as to how these hill-letters were combined to form compound place-names is given in Chapter 2]