Μορικαμβη

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.

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Last Edited: 10 July 2016