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The geography of Britain, as of all the modern countries of Europe, has undergone at least two, perhaps in some parts three changes of nomenclature since the beginning of the Christian era. The names of places, which occur in early British history, whilst the ancient Britons still enjoyed independence, were mostly altered or modified by the Romans. The Italian pronunciation still delights to give euphony to the Teutonic and Celtic names of the north, by adding vowels and syllabic terminations to the uncouth consonants of the native idiom.*

After the departure of the Romans, the country, now called England, but at that time Britain, was invaded and conquered by the Saxons. The first leaders of this tribe of barbarians, Hengist and Horsa, landed about the year of our Lord 449, and at the end of a hundred and fifty years, during which there were continual wars between them and the Britons, we find that the names of most of the towns were changed or in some way modified by the new-comers.†

* The British prince, who bravely opposed the invasion of Julius Cæsar, is thought to have been called Caswallon in his native tongue; but the classic ears of the Roman invaders softened the term into the more flowing majesty of Cassibellaunus or Cassibelinus.

Cunobelin or Cunobelinus was another British prince of note: he is called Cymbeline by Shakespeare.

Many instances of this change of name occur in history. In some cases, when the sound suits the idioms of both languages, a change of spelling alone takes place. Thus Daubigny, a freebooting captain of the fifteenth century, is called D'Obigni by the polite Italians, whose purses he took from them.

In proof of this observation, we have several instances in the Ecclesiastical History of Venerable Bede, where two names are given to the same place. Thus in the

In the year 1066, William the Conqueror landed at Hastings, and in the course of his reign nearly all the baronies and great fiefs of the crown changed hands and became the property of the Norman lords, who accompanied the duke. We cannot doubt that many places, of less note or situated in remote districts, received new names according to the fancy or caprice of their new owners.

To these causes may be mainly ascribed the great difficulty, which we have in identifying places, as described in ancient authors, with towns and villages still existing.

There is little doubt that the town of Bampton is one of the oldest in England. The etymology of the name shows it to be of Ancient British origin, unchanged by the tide of AngloSaxon invasion, which swept away so much of British laws, customs, and language. The termination -TON, which marks so many names of towns all over the island, is spelt in nearly all old manuscripts -TUNE, and was probably at first pronounced, as the modern Scotch pronounce it, -TOON. A large number of English towns end with the syllable -DON, and this termination also is written -DUN or -DUNE in ancient manuscripts.

It is not to be denied that these terminations -TON and -DON are also Anglo-Saxon forins, * and pass for such among lexicographers: but those who reflect on the numerous names of towns, ending in -DINUM &c. and existing over all Ancient Britain and Gaul, long before the invasion of the Saxons, can hardly avoid the inference that the Celtic language

second chapter of the first book, he says, "The blessed Alban suffered death on the 22nd of June, near the city of Verulam, which is now by the English nation called Verlamacestir or Varlingacestir."

* It is the prevailing opinion, that the Anglo-Saxons entirely exterminated the Britons : but this is surely a mistake. The inhabitants of all the south of Britain, in the time of Julius Cæsar, were of Belgic, not of Celtic descent, and it is probable that they were a kindred race to the Anglo-Saxons. If so, the victorious Anglo-Saxons would not exter

was the source from which flowed those Saxon names of towns ending in -DON and -TON, as was before observed.

If then this theory be correct, and I think it is hardly susceptible of a doubt, it remains to enquire what was the primitive signification of these syllables -TON, -DON, -TUNE, -DUNE, -DUNUM, DINUM, &c. from which are derived the modern English words -TOWN and -DOWN. Now the theory that these words are of British or Celtic origin, is much strengthened by the fact that the French language, which, like the English, derives many words from the old Celtic, still retains the word DUNE denoting a HEIGHT OF EMINENCE, generally of an open or exposed character, and similar in appearance to that particular kind of country which we call a DOWN. If therefore we can discover any connection between the idea of a town, as we at present understand the word, and that of a down, we shall have no difficulty in proving that -TON, -TUNE, -DON, -DUNE, -DOWN, and TOWN are different modifications of the same word, and, as far as etymology is concerned, denote the same thing. Such a connection is not difficult to find, when we reflect that the towns of the Ancient Britons were all strongholds, erected on DOWNS or heights, according to the description given of them by Cæsar and other ancient writers.

minate,but amalgamate with the subdued Britons, and their future dialect would show traces of the union. The same view of the subject is taken by Sir Francis Palgrave: "It may be remarked, that the influence of conquest was often counteracted and neutralized by the affinity of the conquering and the conquered nations. The waves which flowed in the same channel usually proceeded from the same source. Thus, in England, the original Belgic population of Lloegria, and their despoilers, and those who subdued the vanquished victors were all brethren: Britons and Anglo-Saxons, Danes and Normans, were all relations however hostile, they were all kinsmen, shedding kindred blood: and even when the races were not so nearly connected, the pervading resemblances of the laws of the earlier ages contributed to lighten the yoke of conquest, and to disguise the innovations which were really effected by the transfer of sovereignty." PALGRAVE'S RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE ANGLO-SAXON COMMONWEALTH. 4to Part 1, London, 1832, p. 35.

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