Γαβραντουικων κολπος

Attested:  Ptolemy 2,3,6  Γαβραντουικων Ευλιμενος κολπος

Where:  Near Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast, where two Roman roads are believed to converge on Bridlington at TA183665, near the north end of the broad sweep of sandy beach of Bridlington Bay.  Near the Head itself is the narrow cove of Selwicks Bay.  Ptolemy's κολπος might be a more extensive inlet, since smoothed out by centuries of coastal erosion and siltation, or just the beach itself.

Name Origin:  Ευλιμενος κολπος means ‘bay suitable for a harbour’.  There is no totally convincing explanation of initial Γαβραντ-.  It might relate to the dramatic cliffs of Flamborough Head, either through the parallel of Old English brant ‘high, steep’, preceded by ge- ‘with’, or else to the ‘white horse’ alternative meaning of Old Irish gabor ‘goat’, from PIE *kapro-.  Wulfila's Gothic Bible contains the word gabrannjaidau ‘burned’, with two similar words in other Gothic texts.  Perhaps the best parallel is PIE *gab- ‘to show, to watch’ discussed under Gabrosentio, which was near Flamborough Head's counterpart in north-west England.

Notes:  The ουικων part resembles the later -wick names of bays, presumably dating from Viking times and attributed to Norse vík ‘bay’, If it is correct that words like OE wic and Latin vicus had developed from their original core sense of ‘outlying’ into ‘trading place’ maybe Bridlington Bay was a good place to draw up ships on the beach.  Bridlington Quay became a Harbour of Refuge for sailing ships carrying goods (especially coal) along the east coast after 1500 AD.  Traces of a promontory fort may survive in the so-called Dane's Dyke.

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Last Edited: 23 January 2018