Canonium

AttestedCanonio on iter 9 of the Antonine Itinerary;  Caunonio on the Peutinger map

Where:  Probably at Elms Farm, Heybridge, TL847082, on the outskirts of modern Maldon, where excavations found a late Iron-Age and Roman settlement, which “lay at the head of the Blackwater Estuary, immediately north of the flood plain of the Rivers Chelmer and Blackwater. It is at this point that the rivers run closest together”.  This site was probably on or close to the Coguveusuron harbour estuary of the Ravenna Cosmography and the Σιδουμανιου river mouth of Ptolemy.

Name origin:  Possibly named from canna/καννα ‘reed’, which survives in English cane but originated in ancient Mesopotamia.  It is within manuscript-copying-error range of Canovium, which had a wharf onto the river Convwy in North Wales.

Notes:  The edge of Britain that survives on the Peutinger Map includes Baromaci xii Caunonio viii Camuloduno where the Itinerary's iter 9 has Cesaromago xii Canonio viiii Camoloduno, but iter 5 goes straight from Caesaromago to Colonia in 24 miles.  Rodwell (1975) resolved this anomaly by proposing that (1) mileages from both Colchester and Chelmsford were measured from the edges of their large Roman zones, not their city centres, (2) the routes did not pass through Kelvedon, as proposed by Rivet and Smith.  This means rejecting the idea previously accepted here of the Kelvedon Roman settlement at TL864185 beside the river Blackwater, with a travellers’ rest place on the Roman road from Chelmsford to Colchester.  With its two water mills at either end of a big bend in a river, Kelvedon looks very like Cunetio turned on its side.  In 998 Kelvedon was called Cynlauedyne, which looks like the láf ‘remnant’ of a *cyn ‘cunette’, apparently present in other East Anglia names, such as Durcinate.

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Last edited 2 August 2020     to main Menu