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. As explained here, *cambo is best likened to Latin campus ‘flat ground’, and not explained (as previously suggested here) with small hills (like the northern English word kame) sticking out of the marshes, nor with the river bends favoured by Celticists.
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 5 December 2020 To main Menu