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.

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Last Edited: 21 December 2016