Verlucio

Attested:  (1)  AI iter 14 Verlucione;  (2)  writing tablet ... silvam Verlucionium ...

Where:  (1)  The Roman settlement at Sandy Lane ST968677, Wiltshire.  (2)  Somewhere in Kent.

Name originVer- in ancient names has many possible explanations, among which a Celtic intensive prefix meaning ‘very’ (picked by R&S) ranks low.  PIE *per- ‘to pass over’, which led to OE fær ‘journey’ and modern fare, is better.  The –lucio part probably derived from PIE *leuk- ‘light’, which developed a sense of ‘clearing’ at inland sites and became one of the commonest place-name elements in England, OE leah (Gelling and Cole, 2003: 237-241), which developed a meaning of ‘pasture’.  Since the Sandy Lane area is even now relatively wooded and the second Verlucio in Kent was linked with a silva ‘wood’ it seems reasonable to interpret -lucio as ‘clearing’ and therefore to translate Verlucio as ‘passage through clearing’.  Roads through woodland have always made travellers nervous, so the existence of a substantial clearing might have been noteworthy enough to generate a name, especially for a Roman-era road stopping place that was on a fairly dry watershed rather than the usual location by a river.

Notes:  Tomlin (1996) commented that the AD 118 date of the tablet invalidated one of the phonological assumptions made by Jackson (1956).

Standard terms of use:You may copy this text freely, provided you acknowledge its source, recognise that it is liable to human error, and try to offer suggestions for improvement.
Last Edited: 11 June 2016