Attested: Pontibus on iter 7 of the Antonine Itinerary
Where: Itinerary mileages point at or near modern Cascade Bridge, SU978685, at the south end of Virginia Water Lake, which was formed in 1753 by damming the river Bourne, which collects waters from a series of streams and exits the Lake over a cascade waterfall into a little ravine.
Name Origin: Latin for ‘at the bridges’. The word pons originally meant a path more generally.
Notes: Most authors follow Rivet & Smith in assigning this name to Staines, somewhere near modern Staines Bridge TQ032715, where the line of Margary's road 4a (now the A30) crosses the Thames, but Itinerary mileages do not fit, and archaeology has found no trace of a Roman bridge and little of a Roman town. The Thames there is now about 60 metres wide and on average 2.8 metres deep, so it is hard to imagine a multi-span Roman bridge, and a series of fords and/or small bridges across a swampy, braided, shallow river seems more likely. The zone around Staines officially declared to be now at high risk of flooding is several kilometres wide. Another place called Pontibus is in France at modern Ponches-Estruval, where the Roman road to Boulogne crossed the small river Authie, which now runs through a valley full of fishing ponds and damp meadows, where its braid of streams is crossed by short bridges.
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Last edited 13 April 2020 Back to Menu