AttestedVeratino at position 87 in the Ravenna Cosmography

Where:  The Wilderspool Roman settlement area and road hub at Warrington around SJ6087 is more likely than Kirkham Roman fort, at SD435319.  Both were historically in Lancashire.

Name origin:  Initial Ver- has absurdly many potential meanings (including some related to the English words fare, guard, inward, very, wart, wary, and weir), but the most likely explanation comes from PIE *wer-3 ‘to turn, to bend’ ahead of *wer-4 ‘to watch out for’.  PIE *ten- ‘to stretch’ led to many words, including tine and thin in English, and Latin tinea ‘worm’.  Rivers now called Tyne all have sticking-out points at their mouths, the Tyne on the Isle of Wight was a sticking-out ledge of rocks used as a quarry, and the Cosmography's Tinea was probably Spurn Head.

Notes:  In favour of Kirkham is the modern name Warton (Domesday Wartun) at the edge of the Ribble estuary.  On a modern map this is well inland, but a flood-risk map gives a hint of what the coastline might have looked like in Roman times, with the Roman fort at the base of a promontory of dry land, inside a sandy spit where there is now the Lytham St Annes coast.  However, this would imply an uncomfortably large jump north (in effect a sea trip) from the preceding place in the Cosmography, Deva Victris, (Chester) and a big jump back to the most likely locations of the following names, Lutudaron, Derbentione, Salinis, and Condate.  So Warrington is a better candidate. It was the lowest fordable place on the river Mersey and an important ancient industrial centre.  The river Mersey is very wiggly there, to fit the turning/bending sense of Ver-, with some meanders being long and thin enough to fit *ten-.

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Last edited 23 March 2020     To main Menu