AttestedDurolavi at position 262 in the Ravenna Cosmography, in its tour of harbour estuaries

Where:  Probably near Halesworth, Suffolk, where a Roman road (Stone Street) continuing along the line of the modern A144 would have crossed the river Blyth heading towards High Street on the A12.  Or possibly further south, where the Minsmere wetlands lead towards Yoxford.

Name originDuro ‘transport hub (door)’ plus *lavi ‘narrow channel (lips)’ describing the layout of the estuary in Roman times.

Notes:  Notice the significant distance between the presumptive local Central Place and the outer lips of the estuary.  The modern river Blyth is a silted-up remnant of a much bigger Roman-era estuary, whose likely layout is shown here by David Ratledge, and is remarkably similar to that of Durolevum (Ospringe, Kent).  A Roman fort might have been lost to the sea there and this estuary may be a stronger candidate than the next one for the lost ecclesiastical centre Domnoc.  Much Roman material has been found slightly downriver of Halesworth, around Wenhaston.  Blythburgh became an important administrative centre in Saxon times, with Dunwich as its trading outpost.  Plenty of modern place names in Suffolk have prompted weak guesses that they came from a personal name Leofa (or similar), but the one most likely preserve a memory of Durolavi is Leiston, rather than Lavenham, which is on a different river system.

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Last edited 29 October 2022     To main Menu