Catherine's point about topographic celtic place names makes, I think, the
most realistic approach. The first order of business for settled as well
immigrant groups was to identify features of the landscape. At Droitwich
which sits on a tributary of the R. Severn, the river is documented as
Saluuarpe, later Salwarpe (meaning sallow) is so described because of the
deposition of clay being washed down the river.
The three springs exploited for salt are all positioned along this river
as I noted previously, were topographically named as Upper, Middle and
Lower Pit. Further abroad one early reference simply refers to a place
at a bottom of a hill (Dodderhill) where there was gustario salt! There
was not greater specificity until much later.
>But a lot of the Celtic placenames are attached to landscape features, and
>while this may explain why so many major rivers have celtic names it does
>not explain why many smaller rivers and even smaller subsidiary streams
>have celtic names and why other landscape features which, at best, have
>only local significance also have celtic names. Indeed the majority of
>survivimh celtic place names in the Anglo-Saxon heartland are topographic.