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How Wall Got Its Name

The Roman settlement at Wall was known as 'Letocetum', which we know from the third century Antonine Itinerary which listed Roman roads and staging posts in the Empire. Letocetum was also listed in the Ravenna Cosmography which was a seventh century document describing the Empire.

The name Letocetum was nothing new, but rather a Romanization of the Iron Age name 'leto' meaning grey and 'cetum' meaning wood, hence why 'Letocetum' translates to grey wood. As most people spoke Insular Celtic (Welsh) in the Iron Age, before Britain developed different distinct languages, here is the Welsh translation; 'llwyd' meaning grey and 'coed' meaning wood.

In the Anglo-Saxon period the name 'Letocetum', or 'Lwytgoed', appears as 'Luitcoed' or 'Luitcoyt'. This was then transferred to 'Lichfield' by an Anglo-Saxon conversion into 'Lyccid' and then 'Lichfield'. The name migration suggests Letocetum was the name of an area rather than a place, as by the seventh century no settlement is recorded at Wall, and Lichfield had become the regional centre.

The village's modern name of 'Wall' came about from the remains of Roman walls left in the village as discovered by the locals after Wall was repopulated when the Manor was built in the twelfth century. It is unclear when people started to refer to the settlement as 'Wall' however, as the first Roman remains to be recorded at Wall were coins and pavements which weren't discovered until 1686. The antiquarian William Stukeley is said to have witnessed ruined walls being pulled down in the eighteenth century to build new houses, and these are the walls which it is believed gave Wall its current name.

 

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