The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Julliberrie's Grave

Long Barrow


Julliberrie's Grave - origins of the name

According to 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7' by Edward Hasted, published in 1798 Chilham

"LIES upon the river Stour, about six miles southward from Canterbury. It is called in Domesday, Cilleham; in Saxon, Cyleham; which signifies the cold place; and some think this place was antiently called Julham, or Juliham, i. e. the village or dwelling of Julius, in regard to Julius C├Žsar, the Roman emperor, who had several conflicts with the Britons in and near it."

What this suggests is that the name Julli in Julliberrie's grave and the first syllable of Chilham are related - both coming from one source, whether than be the Saxon 'Cille' ('chill/cold') or an earlier (and doubtful) 'Julius'. The similarity between the 'j' and 'ch' sounds are obvious, and can easily be mistaken/swapped.

This further suggests that we are looking at two linked placenames - Chil-ham and Chil-berry, the latter a possible derivation from either Burgh (again, doubtful) or bearw, as in 'barrow' in Anglo-Saxon. In other words Julliberrie's grave is simply the barrow near, or of, Chil-ham.

If this etymology is correct we are looking at an original meaning of the 'cold barrow', or 'the barrow near the cold place' - rather apt for the misty, frosty stour valley in winter. Another idea may be that it comes from ceorl-ham, the settlement of the churl (a landholder) or it is a debased Saxon personal name, such as the Guthlac that survives as 'Gilli' in Gillingham.

The other possibility is that it does derive from an earlier Roman or Celtic word - but seeing as neither possessed the 'j' sound (Julius Caesar being originally Iulius Caesar) this is extremely doubtful.

John Grigsby
Posted by John Grigsby
7th April 2010ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment