Conbretovium

Attested:  AI iter 9 Conbretovio;  Peutinger Table Convetoni

WhereBaylham House Farm, Suffolk, around TM112529, where the Roman road from Colchester to Caistor (near Norwich) crossed the river Gipping, passing through two Roman forts with a surrounding settlement.

Name origin:  This name’s core, -bret- came from PIE *bher- ‘to bear, to carry’, possibly via an intermediate form like *bhereti-.  Presumably this referred to a huge amount of cargo transported on the river Gipping (with Ipswich downstream and upstream to Stowmarket upstream) plus the Roman roads known to radiate from near here.  Ending in the *uba etc element ‘water, river’ discussed here, -bretovium would have meant something like ‘cargo river’.  The initial Con- presumably added a sense of roads converging to a point.

Notes:  The modern river name Bret is considered likely to be a back-formation from one of the two places called Brettenham in East Anglia.  The name Duroviguto means essentially the same as Conbretovium, and naturally fits the same location.  Maybe this is like Mons and Bergen in Belgium: same meaning, different languages.

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Last Edited: 05 August 2016