Κενιωνος

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,4  Κενιωνος (or Κεννιωνος) river mouth

WhereFalmouth harbour, which opens to the sea around SW8331, but extends far inland, to narrow down into the river Fal around SW8338.

Name Origin:  Greek κενεωνος, from κενεων ‘hollow’.  The parent word κενος ‘empty’ seems to have few cognates, but it had many derivatives with various spelling differences, and it appears in other place names (Iuliocenon, Alithacenon).  The estuary of the river Fal is one of the largest deep-water harbours in the world, yet has rarely been thronged with ships or surrounded with settlements on anything like the scale of other large British estuaries.

Notes:  The river Kenwyn forms the harbour district of Truro at SW828447 and flows towards the river Fal.  Ekwall (1928:229) was willing to consider derivation from Κενιωνος, but reinterpretation (since its earliest attestation in 1259) towards Cornish words for ‘white ridge’ and/or Saint Keyne has made that impossible to prove.

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Last edited: 12 June 2019
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