Attested: Ptolemy 2,3,2 Βελισαμα estuary.
Where: The river Ribble in Lancashire, which now reaches the sea at about SD3826.
Name Origin: Apparently a superlative, similar to Latin bellissima ‘very beautiful’. PIE *bhel- has six possible meanings and *bel- has two, so there are multiple opinions on the meaning of this name, with no obviously decisive argument for any one. Delamarre (2003) favoured ‘most powerful’.
Notes: In Roman times the Ribble estuary probably extended far inland, up to modern Preston. In France, Belisama is taken to be the name of a goddess, discussed fully by Lacroix (2007:164-8), but still with no real explanation for where and why it applied.
Last Edited: 21 December 2016