Bannovalum

AttestedBannovalum at position 105 in the Ravenna Cosmography (Bannovallum in one ms).

Where:  Probably Templeborough Roman fort at SK413916, near Rotherham and close to Wincobank hillfort.

Name origin:  Rivet & Smith wrote that the root of Banna- “is British *banno- *banna- ‘peak, horn’, surviving in Welsh and Breton as ban, and in Old Irish as benn”, but Latin bannus ‘legal proclamation’, which survives in banns of marriage and is discussed at length here, may offer a better explanation of Roman-era bann- places.  The -valum part might come from various words derived from PIE *wal- ‘to be strong’ or *wel- ‘to turn’, but most likely it resembles Latin vallum ‘palisaded rampart’, which did not generally apply to city walls of stone, but was applied to Hadrian's Wall by the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan.

Notes:  Horncastle, favoured by Rivet & Smith, is unlikely to be the correct location, for two reasons: (1) The Cosmography lists Bannovalum after Lincoln, heading west towards Brough-on-Noe; (2) the straight Roman roads of Lincolnshire avoid Horncastle, which must have become important only late in the Roman period, perhaps around AD 300 when Britannia was being attacked by North Sea pirates, after the period from which most of the Cosmography's names seem to date.  Much the same objections apply to Caistor.  Roman forts at Newton-on-Trent, Bawtry, and Rossington are other less good candidates to be Bannovalum.

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Last edited 16 April 2020     to main Menu