Totnes is a seaport town on the River Dart in Devonshire, England, famed in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae as the first landing place for Brutus when he arrived in Brtain, and for many later persons of importance.
Despite claims by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Totnes only reached in sort of importance rather late. It is not mentioned in extant Roman records and only appears in 907 when it was fortified by King Edward the Elder as one of the defensive ring of burhs built around Devon, replacing a fort built a few years earlier at nearby Halwell. The site was chosen because it was on an ancient trackway which forded the river at low tide. The name Totnes is first recorded in 979. It derives from the Old English personal name Totta and ness or headland. Before reclamation and development, the low-lying areas around this hill were largely marsh or tidal wetland, giving the hill much more the appearance of a “ness” than today.
Totnes in Pseudo-Historical DocumentsEdit
Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae makes Totnes to be the landing site of Brutus when he first arrives in the island to be later called Britain. It is later the port at which Vespasian lands to begin his compaign againt Arviragus; where Constantine, the younger brother of King Aldroen, lands when he comes from Little Britain to take the crown which has been offered; where Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon land, when they come to take the land from Vortigern; and where the Saxons land to retake Britain when King Arthur is in the north.
Some Name VariationsEdit
FRENCH: Totenois; LATIN: Totonesium; ENGLISH: Totenas, Tottenæs, Totteneis, Toteneis, Totnesse, Tottenesse, Toteneys, Totenais; WELSH: Totnais, Tatnais.