The Roman Map of Britain Alaunus Seaton 'Honeyditches' and Ilua Chaffcombe

Alauna silua (R&C 24) next

Alaunou
potamou ekbolai
Alauni fluvii ostia (Ptolemy II 3 3)


PNRB counfounds Alauna (R&C 32) with this.


    (1) What looks to be an Alauna is found at Allowenshay (ST3913).  Aylwynesheye 1315 is 'elwine's enclosure' according to Ekwall. Mills' edition does not mention Allowenshay . The entries that follow Alauna silua progress northeast along the Fosse Way to Ham Hill Dunio Pedretis (R&C 25) and Ilchester Lindinis (R&C 26) . Below Allowenshay are two branches of Lopen Brook, a tributary of the River Parret. Lopen Brook takes its name from the town of Lopen. Villas are located along the brook at ST404135 and ST407137 and another recently discovered near Lopen at Mill House (st4314).

   EPN: OE (ge)hg 'hay, enclosed piece of land, meadow,  ME hay also 'forest fenced off for hunting'.
    Latin silva 'a wood, forest'.

Dinningon (ST4013)

   (2) What bothers me is that the preceding entry positioned at Sidford seems a bit distant from Dinnington. Further, there is the matter of Ptolemy's River Alaunus (II 3 3), which as PNRB notes 'should be the Axe'. An Alauna silua at Axmouth would feel more comfortable, but there is nothing in the way of place-name evidence to justify it.

    (3) Selwood Forest, or a site therein, has been the traditional explanation of Alauna silva. According to Asser, it was known as Coit Maur 'the great wood'. The River Alham, a tributary of the Brue, was once known as Alauna (ERN pp 3-4). As this is the only recognized Alauna in the immediate area of interest, the connection is understandable. But putting this into a sequence with the preceding Moriduno that has a road connection has been difficult. If we take Moriduno to be the 'sea-fort' at Brean Down, then the connecting road is Margary 45b into Selwood Forest, and thus Alauna silva should be on the same road. The junction of Margary 45b and the Fosse Way is approximately ST635451. No significant settlements are immediate to the junction. The closest is at Shepton Mallet (st6242), 2 miles south. Was Shepton Mallet portrayed in a manner such that it appeared to be at the road junction and therefore on M45b? Otherwise, we would have to back-track to Charterhouse on Mendip (st5056). Is there reason to believe that the Selwood Forest extended as far west as Charterhouse? 


     (4) Alauna silua is wrongly divided. It should be Alaunus and Ilua. This would allow for a pair of sites along Margary 49, Moriduno and Alaunus.
    Alaunus would be on Ptolemy's Alaunus river (apparently the Axe) along Margary 49 which would place it at Seaton's Honeyditches Roman port and settlement SY2490.
    Ilua
would take its name from the River Isle Yle 693 (see ERN p.215) and be on the Fosse Way south of Ham Hill. Ilua's position would be quite limited as the branch of the Isle known as Dowlish Brook is also an old British name. A very interesting site is on the south-west slope of Windwhistle Hill very near the source of the Isle. It is also adjacent to the junction ST368090 of a branch road (NMR Linear 646) that runs from Windwhistle Hill to Honiton. Somerset Historic Environment Record 56889 notes "an extensive area of demolition rubble, containing considerable quantities of pottery" at Goldenhaye Tip, Chaffcombe ST3608.
    This seems the best solution, by far.


   Ptolemy's river Alaunus is not necessarily the old name of the Axe. Note that his Ratostathybius river mouth was not a river, but a habitation site, a raft station.


Roman and earlier settlement at Honeyditches NATIONAL MONUMENT NO: 29642