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Have you ever wondered to yourself - why is Rochester called Rochester?

In AD 43, the Roman's arrived, but at the time the land was not called Rochester. They built a settlement and named it Durobrivae, which is thought to mean 'fort by the bridge', or possibly 'swift stream', depending on the translation. Both clearly references to the River Medway (although interestingly there was actually no bridge there at the time, not until the Romans built one there some years later). If you look hard enough, you can still see signs of this Roman settlement today.

In the year 730, a man called St Bede the Venerable copied the name Durobrivae down, but mistook its meaning as 'Hrofi's fortified camp' (Hrofi being a Saxon warlord). Easy mistake to make, right? This then led to the area becoming known as Hrofaescaestre (Hrofi's fortified camp).

Fast-forward to around the year 1080 and this area had more visitors, the Normans, who also settled here and decided to build themselves a castle and cathedral - the very same cathedral you see today. In the period between the Romans and Normans, the name changed again twice, once in 811 (to Hrofescester), then in 1086 (to Rovescester). Now you can see where we are going.

Finally, in 1610, Rochester was named Rochester.

Extra fact: if you were wondering, there are 23 places called Rochester in the world, many of which are in the United States.

Featured photo by Brian Fuller used under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)


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