Branodunum

Attested:  ND Branoduno (twice)

Where:  Brancaster fort, Norfolk, at TF782440.

Name origin:  An etymology based on Celtic bran ‘crow, raven’ has been much favoured, but it seems better to look at words related to brand and burn, which throw up two problems.  Burn can mean ‘to be on fire’ (which might make sense referring to a beacon for ships) or it can mean ‘small stream’ (which raises a question whether there was one in the ancient landscape).  See here for a detailed discussion of the possible meaning of brano- and where it shows up elsewhere.  About dunum ‘fort’ see here.

Notes: A 2013 Time Team TV programme generated excellent geophysical maps, which show exactly where a big Saxon Shore sat (on an area now called Rack Hill), 100m or so inland from the present sea wall.  An earlier fort sat right against that line, but the extent of fringing marshes etc in Roman time is unknown.  Somewhere near here would make sense as a terminus for a Roman-era ferry across the Wash, called *Trajectus, represented now by the surviving name Tric in Skegness at the other end.  It could also have been a landmark for ships coming across the North Sea and heading for the rivers Glen, Nene, Ouse, etc inside the Wash.

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Last Edited: 21 April 2017.