Attested: Ptolemy 2,3,2 Μορικαμβη (or Μοριακαμβη) estuary
Where: Around NY1657 in Cumbria, where the rivers Wampool and Waver flow into mudflats and a large joint estuary.
Name origin: Since at least 1789 Μορικαμβη has been analysed as Celtic *mori ‘sea’ plus *cambo ‘curved’. However, in Roman-era names *mori mostly meant ‘marsh’, which is very obvious here: marshes used to extend further inland, probably close to the Roman forts at Kirkbride and Wigton. And in a landscape heavily sculpted by glaciers with lots of drumlins, *cambo did not necessarily mean river bends, but may have meant small hills (like the northern English word kame) sticking out of the marshes.
Notes: See also about Maglona and Olerica. Lancashire’s Morecambe Bay was so named in about 1700 from a mistaken idea that that was what Ptolemy intended. The present estuary is now called Moricambe, presumably also a relatively recent but more accurate deduction from Ptolemy.
Last Edited: 10 July 2016