Letoceto

Attested:  RC Lectoceto;  AI iter 2 #etoceto

Where:  The Roman settlement at a crossroads on Watling Street at Wall, Staffordshire, SK099065.  Nearby Lichfield was its Mercian successor.

Name Origin:  The first element was Latin laetus ‘joyful, pleasant’ or lectus ‘chosen, rather than letum ‘death’.  The second element was common in ancient place names as catu- ‘lowland valley, basin’, related to Greek κατα ‘downwards’.  It seems to have evolved into (or become confused with) Welsh coed ‘wood’and English heath, but also into a place-name element *chet related to kettle.  A translation similar to ‘happy valley’ fits the local topography and agricultural productivity, plus Bede’s AD 731 name Licidfeld ‘liked field’ for Lichfield.

Notes:  A proposed Celtic explanation as ‘grey wood’ is not convincing.

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Last Edited: 24 July 2016