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The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 8:17 pm
by admin
According to the OED the Isle of Wight is from L. Vectis (c.150), originally Celtic, possibly meaning "place of the division."

This accords with Dan's view:

Dan wrote:
A Dan Cruikshank(?) programme caught my eye a few years ago: alum shale mining and alum production up near Whitby. Very interesting.

They pointed to a ridge of rock offshore and said that's where the coast used to be before they dug it away. The Needles look much the same, only bigger. And, bugger me, the Needles are on the edge of Alum Bay... which the telly prog said was named because they didn't find any alum there when they were looking for domestic sources in the 15th century (or so)!!!

I'm seriously entertaining the notion that the Solent was dug out on the left hand side, making Wight an Isle.

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 8:19 pm
by Mick Harper
So Dan was correct in his assumption that the Isle of Wight was artificially created by cutting round the Solent, thus creating a mystical lozenge shape i.e. Wessex was "divided" at this point. Though of course he only got this idea because of my even more brilliant insight that the Straits of Dover were dug out to create the mystic shape of Britain.

It should be noted that Ireland too is mystically shaped, with its four quarters being the unimaginably ancient Munster, Ulster, Leinster and Connacht. So the St George's Channel (not to mention the Giant's Causeway) are all artificial. Jesus, where's it ever going to end? Ladbroke Grove is precisely aligned north and south which means I am obliged to sleep every night precisely aligned east and west. But does anyone know whether I should have my head at the eastern or the western end?

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 8:21 pm
by DP Crisp
Place of the division, eh? Interesting.

The division is the Solent: the path of the Sun, or something to that effect.

Are the edges of the Isle of Wight parallel to the Icknield Way/Michael Line and other ancient roads?

Wight also means man, so it's another Isle of Man...?

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 8:27 pm
by hvered
The Isle of Wight seems to have been named after the first Saxon King of the island, Wihtgar, d. 544 (though he may have been a Jute). Wiht is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'rise' or 'rising' and was translated as Vectis in Latin.

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 8:37 pm
by DP Crisp
Wiht is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'rise' or 'rising' and was translated as Vectis in Latin.

Umm... Ptolemy's Geography already called the Isle Wight Vectis only about a century after Roman occupation, long before any (known) Saxon king.


Tacking back to a place we've been before: on the subject of the Isle of Wight, says

There is an oft-quoted passage by the great polymath Pliny the Elder (Natural History Book XVI, verse 104) dating to the late 70's AD which names the island Mictis as the centre of the British tin trade, stating that it lay off the south coast of Britain some six days sail from Gaul. This name has often been mistakenly associated with the Isle of Wight, but is now known to refer to Saint Michael's Mount off the Cornish coast opposite Marazion, known in ancient times as Ictis.

Wilkens mentions St. Michael's Mount as the centre of the tin trade, but I dunno whether he read it or postulated it.

On Ictis, says:
St. Michael's Mount was widely known as a port and trading market from very early times. Prehistoric traders passing between the western parts of Britain and the Continent would not have wished to risk the rough and dangerous voyage around Land's End, and so sent their cargoes across the narrowest and most level part of Cornwall from the Hayle estuary to St. Michael's Mount.

Wilkens locates Scylla and Charybdis around there, which were perilous to pass. The Hayle is where St. Ives is, per an earlier discussion.

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 12:29 am
by Jacqui
Interesting that the Isle of Wight and St Michael's Mount are both associated with trade. The Jutes, who practically disappear from the history books, seemed to have ended up down south mainly in the IoW.

St Michael's Mount is connected to Marazion via a causeway. I've read that the name Market Jew Street (Penzance) dates back to the days of Phoenician tinning, but apparently....
Market Jew Street derives its name from the Cornish "Marghas Yow" which means Thursday Market.Neither the name Marazion or Market Jew Street has anything to do with Jewish people,

So there you have it. Another myth exploded.

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 10:37 am
by hvered
On TV last night there was a programme showing how tree bark was stripped and after retting (rotting) became pliable enough to use as fibre, like hemp, and it reminded me of jute. The importance of strong ropes hardly needs to be emphasised even today. In the past boats were sewn together with strong fibres, an example of such a sewn boat was uncovered at Ferriby on the Humber. I'm wondering if 'Jute' may relate to a profession such as fibre-maker rather than a place?

Marazion could refer to 'walled zone' or 'sea wall' cf. Basque murrutzar. Jews were traditionally walled up in medieval times and later, the word ghetto is supposed to have been 'invented' by the Venetians. Jutes and Jews may both have long-established connections with the rag trade.

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 11:18 pm
by Boreades
I thought the Jutes were bigger in Kent?

Like, trading from Tanatus?

The etymology of the name Tanatus, seems to stem from the Celtic teine 'fire, bonfire' + arth 'height'. The ending is uncertain, but seemingly related to the Gaelic aird(e), ard 'height, promontory' and the Welsh ardd 'hill, height'.

Celts in Kent?

Re: The Isle of Wight

PostPosted: 11:20 pm
by Boreades