Attested:  AI iter 5 Causennis

Where:  Possibly the settlement at TF01743305 near Sapperton on the Roman road running through Lincolnshire from Bourne to Ancaster, near the East Glen river.  Or else the settlement at SK92663345 near Little Ponton, near Grantham.  Either would fit AI mileages much better than Ancaster.

Name origin:  A first guess might be a compound of Latin causa ‘cause’ and annus ‘year’, suggesting some kind of annual event, such as a tribal gathering.  Or maybe a relative of modern English causeway and French chaussée, which possibly go back to the same root as chalk or calculus, meaning various sorts of stone, referring to a roadway.  Neither idea is convincing, but archaeological evidence that “prior to the laying out of the settlement, there was a phase of intensive iron smelting in the early second century” suggests the best parallel may be καυσοω (causoo) ‘to burn with intense heat’, one of many words derived from καιω ‘to burn’.  This might fit the way that Greek speakers were often the technicians of the Roman Empire.  A word ending -ενης was common in Greek, occasionally seen in Latin -enis “as a means of integrating Greek names without depriving them completely of their Greek flavour”, but -enis was also productive in Dutch.

Notes:  The idea of Causennis as ‘annual cause’ cannot be completely dismissed, because it is in the modern district of Kesteven, which was Ceoftefne in about 1000 and Chetsteven in Domesday book, which ends like Old English stefn ‘summons’ or Old Norse stefna ‘meeting’.  It is commonly claimed to begin with a Celtic word for ‘wood’, but a better parallel may be Old English ceosan ‘to choose, to elect’.

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Last edited: 21 January 2020       To main Menu