Attested: Axium at position 237 among the harbour estuaries in the Ravenna Cosmography
Where: The river Axe leading to the Woodbury Farm fort near Axminster. Not the River Exe, leading to the legionary fort at Exeter.
Name Origin: Probably related to Latin axis ‘axle’, whose fundamental meaning was a shaft with a wheel at each end, referring to the two hill-forts that bracket the river mouth: Seaton Down Camp (near the site of a huge coin hoard find) and Hawkesdown Camp. This rejects the derivation from Isca by SK/KS metathesis suggested by Ekwall (1928: 151-7).
Notes: See here for a fuller discussion of the candidate explanations. In Roman times the Axe was probably engaged in trade with Brittany and was less choked with silt.
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Last edited: 16 January 2020 To main Menu