Clausentum

Attested:  AI iter 7 Clausentum

Where:  Probably the Roman fortified town and naval base at Bitterne, Hampshire, SU43421334, on a promontory sticking into the river Itchen, well written up on Pastscape.

Name origin:  Latin claudo ‘to close’ led to various words such as claustra ‘lock, barrier, dam’, with descendants in later languages such as French écluse ‘pound lock’, sluice, and Somerset dialect clyse.  Many Latin words (and place names) ended in –entum, which often served to create verbal nouns.  Bitterne would have been a highly suitable location for some kind of dam or weir across the river Itchen to raise its level so that cargo boats could travel upstream to Winchester, analogous with the weir at Hylton near the mouth of the river Tees, which Selkirk (1995) documented as originally Roman.

Notes:  AI’s distance from Winchester is right for Bitterne, but its 20 miles to Regno do not fit the actual 30 or so miles to Chichester.  Other candidates to fit Clausentum have their own plausible names, so either there has been a scribal error or another location must be found for Regno.  As R&S explained, Celtic has little to offer on this name.

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Last Edited: 05 June 2016