Attested: RC Clavinio
Where: Somewhere in the Somerset Levels area, most likely on the Roman road along the Polden Hills, perhaps in the vicinity of Shapwick.
Name origin: It is not obvious how Latin clavis ‘key’ or clava ‘knotty branch’ could fit this name. So a better parallel is probably Latin glaeba ‘land, soil’, the likely source of the place name Glevum (Gloucester). Related words, probably descended from a PIE extended root *gleibh- ‘to stay stuck’, include (in English) clay, cleave, clump, and claw. Here it could refer to land with clay-based soils sticking up slightly higher than the peat and alluvium on either side.
Notes: The following name Morionio (Glastonbury) is rather similar. Modern Clavelshay is probably not relevant, most likely named from Domesday landlord Walter de Claville, though one has to wonder why a follower of William the Conqueror chose to grab land with a name similar to his point of origin, just like Anchetil de Grai did further east.
Last Edited: 21 December 2016