Cumbrian toponymy

Cumbrian Toponymy

Cumbrian toponymy

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Cumbrian toponymy refers to the study of place names in Cumbria, a county in North West England, and as a result of the spread of the ancient Cumbric language, further parts of northern England and the Southern Uplands of Scotland.

The history of Cumbria is marked by a long and complex history of human settlement. Geographically, Cumbria is situated near the centrepoint of the British Isles. The contrasting landscapes between the mountains and the fertile coastal areas and the rich variety of mineral resources available in the county have made it a desirable area for habitation since the Upper Paleolithic, and various ethnic groups have been drawn to the area, leaving their linguistic mark since the Iron Age.

Linguistic influences


Since at least the Iron Age, the inhabitants of Cumbria would have spoken Brythonic Celtic, which is related to modern Welsh, Cornish and Breton. Evidence of this language is mostly visible in topographical features such as rivers (Kent, Eden, Ehen, Levens) and mountains (Blencathra, Helvellyn, Coniston Old Man).

In the first millennium AD the Brythonic spoken in north west England and southern Scotland developed into a separate strain called Cumbric, which included some influences from Latin picked up during the Roman occupation of Britain. It is likely that most place names with Brythonic influences have survived from this time (Carlisle, Penrith, Penruddock)

British influenced place names exist throughout the whole county, but...
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