Clausentum

AttestedClausentum on iter 7 of the Antonine Itinerary

Where:  Shedfield, Hampshire, SU556132, on the Roman road between Venta Belgarum (Twyford, near Winchester) and 20 miles to Regno (Fishbourne palace, near Chichester), located by the mileages in the Itinerary.

Name origin:  Latin claudo ‘to close’, with past participle clausus, seems to have acquired the prolific noun-forming suffix -entum for *clausentum to mean ‘enclosure’.  Maybe that refers to a royal park enclosed by the ruler at Fishbourne, much like the later Normans claimed the New Forest.  Or, more likely, it refers to this area of Hampshire being enclosed behind the Isle of Wight, because Latin vectis ‘pole’ could be mean ‘door bar’.

Notes:  No Roman archaeology has been reported at Shedfield, so maybe this site was a mere rest stop (like a later coaching inn), but a Roman settlement has recently been excavated under a new housing estate a few miles along the road at Wickham, SU578111.  This analysis overrules previous guesses about Bitterne, on a promontory sticking into the river Itchen, with Roman engineering work, (e.g. a claustra ‘lock, barrier, dam’) in the river Itchen there.  The whole Solent area is rich in early names with uncertain locations, with Navimago regentium, Portum Adurni, Armis, Ardaoneon, Leucomagno, and Raxtomessasenua all in the mix, along with interesting later places such as Carisbrooke and Mansbridge.  Wickham is on the river Meon, a chalk stream with a formerly navigable estuary, and a name that embodies Latin meo ‘to go’ plus the river ending -onaMeonwara people were mentioned (in a confused way) by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

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Last edited 11 February 2022     to main Menu.