AttestedSpinis on iter 13 and Spinis on iter 14 of the Antonine Itinerary

Where:  At or near Speen, Berkshire.  The exact position is uncertain, but somewhere around SU407709, near Wickham, seems plausible, and may be called “Speen Junction” because that is where two Roman roads joined at a sharp angle and it fits the Itinerary mileage figures .

Name origin:  Latin spina ‘thorn’, here in the locative plural, was probably not botanical but geographical, referring to either or both of two acute-angled points.  One was where the rivers Lambourn and Kennet meet at about SU486673.  The other was where one Roman road forked into two (numbers 43 and 51 of Margary, 1973) heading for Cunetio and Durocornovium.

Notes:  PIE *spei- ‘sharp point’ had descendants in language families other than Latin, liable to affect the evolution of this name.  The suggestion that modern Speen came from an Old English word for wood shavings is unnecessary.

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Last edited 1 February 2022     To main Menu