I Didn’t Know That About Lincoln… Actually I Did!

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Photo by Sunyu Kim on Pexels.com

Its strange what you forget and then remember, years afterwards.

Place names, particularly English place names can be pretty strange sometimes, testimony to all the tribes who have invaded this fair isle over the millennia.

Take Lincoln, capital city of Lincolnshire in eastern England, for example. The name that has come down us is composed of two elements, one Celtic or Ancient British, the other Roman.

Lyn or Lindum means a settlement near a pool, in this case what we now call the Brayford Pool, where the university is situated. King’s Lynn in Norfolk probably refers to a pool also.

Then the last element, coln… what is that? It’s a condensed version of the Roman word Colonia, which were settlements dotted throughout the empire where retired soldiers would go to live – Lincoln being one them. So the full Roman or latin name would have been Lindum Colonia. In later times the name got shortened to its present form.

There are other examples too, of course, the most famous one being Koln in Germany, usually referred to as Cologne in English and French.

Very often a place name can tell you quite a lot about the origin of the settlement and can make travelling and map reading so fascinating.

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Beautiful Medieval Wall Art, Castor Church, near Peterborough, England

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We recently visited the beautiful church of Saint Kyneburgha, near Peterborough in the English midlands.

The church stands beautifully on a hill, on the site of an old Roman settlement and palace.

In fact, the name of Castor is derived directly from the Roman/Latin name for a fort or castle. This village is situated near to an important Roman settlement called Durobrivae, or Water Newton in Egnlish, just a few miles west of present day city of Peterborough.

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The church is noted for its surviving medieval wall art. Before the Reformation in the 16th century, all churches had such wall art, which was then whitewashed over. More recently, as in this example above, some of these illustrations have been revealed during restoration.

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Castor church’s appellation is Saint Kyneburgha, who was the daughter of King Penda of Mercia, the last pagan king of that English kingdom in the midlands.

copyright Francis Barker 2019