Resemblance Of The Names Of British Rivers
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
It is indisputably certain that the western countries of Europe were formerly in the possession of the Celtic nation, who not only inhabited those parts which border on the British isles, but extended so far that Ptolemy and Ephorus have denominated Europe " Celtica."
"We see every nation in Europe," says General Vallancey, "looking up to the Celtic as their mother tongue." M. Boullet, in his essay on the Celtic language, states, that the Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, English, Swedish, Runic, Anglo-Saxon, and other languages owe their origin to this.
Edward Llwyd, a celebrated Welsh scholar, and well acquainted with Irish, finding that the names of places, lands, waters, hills and dales in this island were in the Irish language, supposed that Britain must formerly have been occupied by that people. Having mentioned that the Cantabrian, the Welsh, and the Irish languages have great affinity, he adds, " Whoever takes notice of a great many names of rivers and mountains throughout the kingdom, will find no reason to doubt, but that the Irish must have been the inhabitants when those names were imposed upon them."
Stukeley had the same opinion. "At this very day," says he, in his Essay on Stonehenge, "in Wales they call every antiquated appearance beyond memory ' Irish.' In the north they call old foundations ' Peights-houses.' Every thing is Pictish whose origin they do not know. These people are conscious that they are not the aborigines."
Camden, speaking of the difference of names, says, " We ourselves in England are called by the Welchmen, `Irishmen,' and the highland Scots ' Sassons.' "
The signification of a few of the names of rivers which occur in Great Britain, has been copied in the present paper from O'Connor's Chronicles ; the -rest are mentioned merely on account of the similarity of their construction.
The Avon, a British word for a river, pronounced by the Irish Aune, gives name to
1. The Stratford Avon, which rising near Naseby in Northampton-shire, passes Rugby, Warwick, and Stratford, and falls into the Severn at Tewksbury.
2. The Salisbury Avon, rising near Great Bedwin in Wilts, falls into the English Channel at Christchurch Bay.
3. The Lower Avon rises at Tetbury in Gloucestershire, and passing Chippenham, Bath, and Bristol, falls into the Severn.
4. The Avon in Monmouthshire, which falls into the Usk at Caerleon.
5. The Avon of Devonshire.
6. The Avon in Merionethshire falls into the sea at Barmouth.
7. The Avon in Glamorganshire falls into the Severn near Neath.
8. The Little Avon in Gloucestershire, rising at Chipping Sodbury, falls into the Severn at Berkely.
9. The Avon in Stirlingshire falls into the Forth.
10. The Aven in Banffshire falls into the Spey.
11. The Aven in Lanarkshire falls into the Clyde.
The Aven also occurs in Bretagny.
The Nen is the ancient Aufona.
The Alan, from Al Aune, the Great River, occurs in Cornwall. The Allan is in Denbighshire.
Alaunus, or Alne, in Northumberland, flows into the sea. The Allen in Dorsetshire.
The Alon in Northumberland flows into the Tyne.
The Allen in Flintshire.
The Aine in Warwickshire.
The Tay in Scotland, is derived from Taoi, winding. So meandering are these waters, that the stream is redundantly called by those who do not understand the meaning of the name, " The winding Tay." The river Theiss or Tobiske, the western limit of the Daci, is of the same name, as well as the Taw or Tajus in Portugal, and many rivers in the lands of the Silures, and the Tees of the Brigantes, all named by the same race.
From " Taoi," winding, also is derived the Towy of Wales. The Tay is found in China. The Taw is in Devonshire, and the Tavy and Tamai of the same county is probably Ta Vech and Ta Maur, " the Great and Little Tay." The Tees occurs again in Hampshire.
The Dart is from " Dorta," poured out with violence.
The Camel in Cornwall, and Cam in Cambridgeshire, from " Cam," crooked. The Cam occurs again in Gloucestershire. There is a river called the Kama in Russia.
The Thames is derived from "Tam," still or quiet. The river Temes gives name to Temeswar in Hungary. The Teme flows into the Severn near Worcester; the Tame runs through Staffordshire; the Taume is a river of Yorkshire and Lancashire.
The Axe, which occurs in Somerset and Dorsetshire, is from " Uisge," water, from which are derived the rivers Esk, and the Exe or Isca.
The Clyst, from " Clist," swift.
From " Tave," still, quiet, which is properly spelt Tam, is derived the Tave, and perhaps the Tavy. The Tave occurs in Caermarthen and Brecknockshire. The Tava flows into the Danube ; another river of the same name in Moravia, empties itself into the Morava.
In Monmouthshire, the Rhymny is Rannwye, " the Water of Division," from the Iberian Ranu, " Division," and the British word " Wye," a river.
The Rhee, a Saxon term for a river, rises at Ashwell in Hertford-shire ; the Rhea is a river of Worcestershire ; the Rea in Shropshire ; the Rhie in Yorkshire runs into the Derwent ; in classical Geography the Rha flows into the Tanais; the Rha is the ancient name of the Volga.
The Dee in Scotland runs through Kircudbrightshire ; another river of the same name passes Aberdeen; the Dee in Wales runs through Merioneth and Cheshire ; the latter is supposed to mean " Holy Water."
In Wales the Cledaugh is from " CIodach," dirty, or slimy.
The Munnou, from " Min," Iberian for smooth, and the British Wye, a river. The Minho of Spain is from the same. The Minio, also in Italy, now the Mignone, falls into the Tuscan sea.
The Dore of Herefordshire, from " Duor," water ; from the same derivation is the Douro of Spain, and the ancient Dur of Ireland ; as well as the four English rivers Derwent. The Duranius or Dordogne falls into the Garonne, and the Dora into the Po.
The Lug, from "Luga," the lesser, in comparison with the Wye. The Lon of Lancaster, from Lonn, "strong, fretful ;" the Lune runs through Durham.
The Ken from Cean, " the Head," occurs in Kircudbright, Westmoreland, and Devonshire. The Kennett from "Cen Tath," the river at the head of the land, occurs in Wiltshire and Cambridgeshire.
The Abus or Humber, from " Aibeis," an estuary.
The Swale, from " Suet," leaping.
The Calder, " Cal Duor," the water that encloses. This river divided the Brigantes of Lancaster and York.
The Wharf, from " Garbh," rough or boisterous.
The Gare or Yare runs through Norfolk ; and another river of that name is in the Isle of Wight.
The Loder, from " Laider," strong.
The Eimot, from " Elm," quick.
Loch Lomond, "Loc Lo Aman," a lake, the water of which is the expansion of a river. The same name as Lacus Lemannus, the Lake of Geneva, and Loc Leiman, the Lake of Killarney.
The Ouse, from "Uisge," water, occurs in Yorkshire, Huntingdon, and Sussex. The Ousa is in Siberia, the Great Owzen in Russia. The Isis springs in Gloucestershire, the Ise in Lunenburg, in Lower Saxony, flows into the Weser; the Oise occurs in Holland; in France the Oise falls into the Seine.
The Adur occurs in Sussex ; the Adour flows into the sea near Bayonne.
The Brent is a river of Middlesex. The Brant of Anglesey rises near Beaumaris. The Brenta runs through the Venetian territory ; the Brentz is a river of Wirtemberg, which falls into the Danube.
The river Colne occurs in Middlesex and Essex; the Colun or Clun is in Shropshire.
The Don gives name to Doncaster in Yorkshire ; another river of this name runs near Aberdeen. The Don of Eastern Europe is sup-posed to be derived from " Duna," a Median term for a river.
The Cher is a river of France ; the Char runs through Dorsetshire ; the Ceira occurs near Coimbra in Spain.
The Cherwell falls into the Isis.
The Ivel falls into the Ouse in Bedfordshire ; another Ivel occurs in Somersetshire.
The Mease falls into the Trent near Derby; the Maese is a river of Holland; the Meuse of France falls into the Rhine; the Muesa of Switzerland falls into the Ticino.
The Lee runs through Hertfordshire, and also occurs in Cheshire. In Ireland the Lee flows near Cork; the Ley occurs in Holland.
The Oke is a river of Devonshire ; the Oak of Berkshire ; the Ochus is in Asia.
The Wye, signifying " water," occurs in Monmouthshire and Derbyshire. The Wey is a river of Dorsetshire; another Wey of Surrey falls into the Thames.
"And chalky Whey that rolls a milky wave."
The Eider is a river of Ireland ; the Eyder, of Denmark.
The Laine of Cornwall runs into the Camel; the Lane is a river in Kerry ; the Lahn flows into the Rhine.
The Sure passes Waterford ; the Sure also empties itself into the Moselle in Luxembourgh.
The Stour occurs in Warwickshire, Dorset, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Kent. Nearchus, by the command of Alexander the Great, sailed down the Stour, a branch of the Indus. The Stura falls into the Po.
The Senus is one of the ancient rivers of Ireland ; the Saone flows into the Rhone ; the Seine passes Paris.
The Rother occurs in Yorkshire, Sussex, and Kent ; the City of Rotterdam takes its name from the Rotte, which there flows into the Maese. The Roth falls into the Inn.
The Leche of Gloucestershire falls into the Thames ; the Lichus or Lech in Germany flows into the Danube ; the Lick of East Prussia flows into the Vistula.
The Laden is a river of Durham ; the Ladon is in Arcadia.
From Dobh, pronounced Dhove, "the Swelling Flood," is probably derived the Dove of Derbyshire, and the Dove or Dyffi of Merioneth. The Frome occurs in Herefordshire, Dorset, and Somersetshire. The Nid is a river of Yorkshire; the Nidus or Nith of Dumfries; the Neath of Glamorgan.
The Usk of Monmouthshire is from " Uisge," water ; the Uzka flows into the Dneister. The Wiske is a river of Yorkshire, a river whose name bears a closer resemblance to "Uisge." The Aisch occurs in Franconia.
The Clyde, a river of Flintshire, occurs again at Glasgow.
The Tilly runs into the Nith, in Scotland ; a similar river, the Willy, gave name to Wilton and Wiltshire.
The Ure is a river of Yorkshire; a stream of the same name falls into the Moselle.
The Tone gives name to Taunton in Somersetshire; the Tun to Tunbridge in Kent.
The Tyne occurs in Northumberland and Cumberland. The Teino flows by Pavia into the Po. The Teign in Devonshire falls into the sea at Teignmouth.
The Clare, a name of a river in Suffolk, occurs again in Ireland.