Attested:  AI iter 5 Camborico

Where:  Between Cambridge and Caistor St Edmund (near Norwich), at or near where a Romanised version of the Icknield Way (road 333 of Margary, 1973) crossed the river Lark.  R&S suggested Lackford, but a better guess may be Icklingham, around TL783719, where much Roman archaeology and hints of an early Christian church have been found.

Name origin:  R&S suggested (in accord with Celtic doctrine) that Cambo- pointed towards a bendy river, but, for reasons spelled out under Camboglanna, Cambo- is more likely to mean ‘low hill’.  Gelling and Cole (2003:153) explained the modern name Combs, not far away in Suffolk, as derived from OE camb ‘comb’, commenting on the “series of the series of low ridges which run up to the river” there, which resemble the gentle corrugations in the Icklingham-Mildenhall area suggested here.  R&S also suggested that –rico should be emended to –rito and translated as ‘ford’, but the whole concept of an ancient Celtic *ritu- (ancestral to Welsh rhyd ‘ford’) looks very shaky when one examines the range of apparently related names across Europe, and all the confusable words.  It seems better to retain the observed spelling –rico and note that its most likely meaning was ‘royal’, as in the common name ending –rix.  A name ‘royal low hill’ would suit all the tumuli in Icklingham Barrow Cemetery and its neighbours.

Notes:  The river Lark was an important navigable river, which makes one think of the Sutton Hoo burial, also in East Anglia, and wonder if the apparently singular Camborico hints that there was a main king's tomb, for which How Hill is a candidate.  Several nearby modern names look interesting, including Rake Heath and the river Kennett heading towards Mildenhall, which makes this area a twin of Cunetio.

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Last edited: 20 February 2019
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