Attested: Lincovigla at position 153 in the Ravenna Cosmography
Where: Roman fort at Lanchester, county Durham, beside Dere Street, at NZ159468, near the head of the river Browney. Rivet & Smith followed Richmond & Crawford in thinking that this site was also Longovicium, which is probably wrong.
Name origin: PIE *klenk- ‘to bend’ developed particularly in Germanic languages, as would have been spoken by the Suebian garrison who left the altar mentioned below. Loss of the initial χ sound led in English, for example, to link and flank, while OE hlinc ‘link, linch, rising ground’ is well known as a component of later place names. See Gelling & Cole (2003:180-2) about hlinc and *hlenc in the sense of ‘bank, ledge, hillside, strip lynchet’. Subsequent evolution to a form in Lanc- presumably parallels the *hlank- in place names of Westphalia. The -vigla part is suggestive of Latin vigil ‘on watch’. A translation of ‘hillside watcher’ fits this fort's location perfectly.
Notes: Altar RIB 1074, found at Lanchester contains letters L⚬N, whose interpretation as LON and an abbreviation for LONGOVICIUM is far from certain. Lanchester is one of the few places in Britain where clear evidence of a Roman dam and aqueduct has survived. It is suspected of being a site of Roman-army iron smelting, and is in an area where coal formerly outcropped at the surface but was worked out long ago.
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Last edited 28 March 2020 To main Menu