Identification: the estuary of the river Parrett, Somerset
Uxella is normally taken to be the former name of the river Axe in Somerset, though ‘estuary’ seems rather too grand a word for the mouth of the Axe. So, either the coastline in that area has changed, on the assumption that there was an estuary there in Roman days, or Ptolemy made a mistake in using the term ‘estuary’. Another, and more likely, possibility is that the Uxella was some other river, though the only river with an estuary in that same area is the Parrett, and this appears to be an acceptable Celtic river-name. The name was presumably originally Baret, where b and t are the river-letters corresponding to the hill-letters s and l in Uxella (x=cs). That that area was settled by people who used the hill-letter s seems clear from the two tributaries both called the Alavna (including the river-letter b, changed to v, corresponding to the hill-letter s), this name being transferred by the Romans to their forts Alavna Silva at Ilminster and Alavna Colonea at Ilchester (for an explanation of these identifications see Chapter 10: Giano to Alavna Colonea(s)). It is thus likely that Uxella was a fort on or close to the river Parrett and that the Romans transferred the name to the river, though it was the Celtic river-name which survived in the modern name Parrett.
[NB. Detailed information as to the different river-letters and how they were combined to form compound river-names, together with infomation as to the four categories of Celtic river-names, is given in Chapter 19. Detailed information as to the different hill-letters is given in Chapter 1 and information as to how the hill-letters were combined to form compound place-names is given in Chapter 2. For a more detailed discussion of the Uxella, Iscalis, Loxa names see Updates: 22 August 2015]
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