Galava

AttestedGalava on iter 10 of the Antonine Itinerary.  Galluvio in the Cosmography may be nearby.

Where:  Somewhere near Milnthorpe, where the river Bela enters the estuary of the river Kent at the northeastern corner of Morecambe Bay.  Best guess for a lost Roman site is Beetham Castle Hill SD49368082, where a medieval earthwork is on high ground in parkland.  In the absence of an obvious Roman site, this location depends upon Itinerary mileages and geographical plausibility.

Name OriginGal- (or Cal) begins at least three ancient names in the Morecambe Bay area, with many possible explanations.  One, discussed under Galacum, is a word for ‘foreigners’ (?Gaels), as a comment on the ethnic mix in that area.  The second part -ava resembles proto-Germanic *ahwo- ‘water, stream’, the parent of Old English ea ‘river’ and German -au ‘water meadow’.

Notes:  This was a difficult site to find.  Previous guesses have included (1) Cartmel Priory at SD37897881; (2) wild moorland north-east of Lake Windermere; (3) beside the river Leven, which empties the southern end of Windermere; (4) near Watercrook; and (5) at Hincaster.  Less likely linguistic parallels include Welsh gallu ‘power’, suggested by Jackson (1970), and PIE *ghel- ‘to shine’, which led to English yellow, Irish gel ‘white’, Latin gilvus ‘pale yellow’, etc.

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Last edited 27 February 2022     To main Menu