Attested:  RC Grandena

Where:  An island off western Scotland, probably Iona.

Name Origin:  Latin grandino ‘to hail’ made R&C think of classical authors’ comments about foul weather around some British islands, but Iona is just wet and windy, not especially liable to snow and hailstorms.  So the key issue is probably geology, not climate.  Hailstones look like pebbles, so Latin grando ‘hailstorm’ may be cognate with Germanic words such as OE *grand ‘gravel’ that show up in later names such as Grantham, the Isle of Grain, and the river Granta.

Notes:  The original form of the name Iona seems to have been something like the Hy used by Bede, which resembles Greek ὕαλος ‘crystalline stone, glass’, hence Latin hyalus and modern hyaline.  This may refer to Iona’s outcrop of fine marble, white veined with green, which was quarried in large blocks and used in churches, such as Columba’s abbey.  Saint Columba’s choice of Iona for his base might have been partly due to the ancient fascination with glossy or translucent minerals (think of before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal in Revelation 4,6).  See here for some general comments on Scottish islands.

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Last Edited: 28 May 2016