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BRITARCH  July 2006

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Subject:

Re: Wicks, vics and wiches

From:

Catherine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Catherine <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 22 Jul 2006 14:55:52 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Placename formation took place over a very long period and it is clear just 
by  looking at placenames in one's immediate locality that the reasons for a 
placename formation are many and various.

As far as I know there is no connection between 'wic' placenames and whether 
or not there has been continuous occupation  since prehistoric times.  but 
we need to be very clear what continuous occupation means , is it of a 
specific site or a specific area. because you have only to look at any 
modern village to see even when it is a relatively cohesive whole, various 
parts of it can acquire a separate name as a means of location, 'Somewhere 
Churchend', or  'Somewhere Winterbourne'. Even more so when the new part is 
a recent addition to an existing settlement. If village centres shift or 
decay the  subsidiary name becomes the centre of the settlement and its name 
becomes the name of the settlement. hamlets can hav completely separate 
names, evenwhen they are only hundreds of yards from the main settlement

Similarly there is no reason to think, 'wic' or not, that a place with an 
Anglo-Saxon name was new-founded by the Saxons. Roman Calleva Atebatum 
becunes Saxon Silchester,

One of the difficulties I have with the 'separate development' theory is 
that in the Roman period, when as well as having overall Roman governance, 
and in areas, Roman military occupation, most of the higher echelons of the 
native population were Romanised, when you look at placenames, most remained 
essentially celtic. The Romans romanised the celtic names of large towns but 
the celtic element remained. Looking at the Norman Conquest the same is 
apparent. Their effect of placenames is even less. Most of the placenames in 
England are essentially Anglo-Saxon. However the Anglo-Saxons reach these 
shores and we see a complete renaming of the country side and while I can 
understand that the newer owner of an estate may want to call it 'My town' 
and even call another area 'My water meadows' What I do not understand why 
he then goes round renaming every minute place in his estate. If the serfs 
call their hamlet 'Our hovel' in their own language, he might Saxonise it 
but not transalate or change.This to me suggests either the old idea of 
large numbers of Anglo-Saxons coming in to colonise an empty land or a far 
closer mixing of AS and the existing population, which would preclude 
apartheid

Catherine Petts


From: "Andy Horton" The question was how do your local wics fare?

Suthwic (Southwick) Sussex, archaeological continuous occupation through
Roman times, before and after

Nearby, Highdown, the same continuous occupation through Roman times,
before and after

Why was one a wic and another not?

An unprovable speculative possibility:  One area Suthwic was predominately
Romano-Brit in tribal make-up and retained its Latin component to its name
whereas the other area was under political control of the Saxons.

Archaeological evidence will not reveal the answer. Back in Ektall's time
Roman coins could have been very usual finds.

There was a topographical difference though. Suthwic juxta Portus Ladda was
on a haven, Wychkham was next to a navigable River Adur (not a
Welsh/Cornish name origin), whereas Highdown, despite being near the coast
was not directly navigable.

Anyrate, place name is study is a bit speculative. It is always the most
believable explanation. -ora name components is one example.



On Sat, 22 Jul 2006 08:11:08 +0100, kevin wooldridge <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>In 5th to 9th century Britain surely every settlement was by definition 'a
place where something was made' be it metalwork, ceramic, textile, bone
tools, coinage, straw hats, fishing nets, fish hooks, salt, milk, cheese,
bread, illuminated manuscripts, weapons, buckets, houses, pointed sticks,
ice skates, amber jewellry, roof tiles, tin trays, loom weights, mirrors,
glassware etc etc. We are discussing an iron age (note lower case)
agricultural/semi-industrial society. But not every 5th to 9th century
placename is a  -wich, -vic or -wick.
>  I am personally quite happy to accept that -wich, -vic, and -wick place
names could have a multiplicity of origins, but it is probably only
archaeology (at the end of the day), that will demonstrate whether such
settlements were newly founded in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th centuries,
refounded on settlements of Roman origin or were continuously occupied over
a longer period of time, and what 'activity', may or may not have taken
place in that settlement at different times. 

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