civil parishtownland
Cill Iúir
genitive: Chill Iúir
Saint Iberius'


English church

Explanatory note

  • English

    [Iúr (< Iobhar) — Irish personal name.]

    Examples of the name in -b- are no doubt derived from the latinised version of the name, e.g. nom. sg. Ibarus, Ybarus, gen. sg. Ibari and Ybari (see VSH i pp.4, 7, 8: see also Misc. Hag. Hib. p.247; cf. the vernacular sixteenth-century English form ‘Dyvelin’ for Dublin, alongside latinised forms such as ‘Dublinensis’—see Most historical forms of the name in -b- such as ‘St Iberius’ (14) contain -ius rather than the expected -us; this may be due to analogy with the final syllable of anglicised ‘Ivories’ (5a), etc., or perhaps a fancied similarity with the Latin personal name Tiberius.

    It is unclear what St. Iberius’ (1) was originally called by the Irish, that is to say, whether the church was known by the name Cill Iúir “the church, cell of Iúr”, Teach Iúir “the (religious-)house of Iúr”, or Teampall Iúir “the church of Iúr”, etc. However, in view of the fact that constructions with cill “church, cell” are more common than any other in reference to early religious foundations in Irish place-names, Cill Iúir is proposed as the Irish form of the name here.

    Note the misspelled form St. Iberiu’s on early Ordnance Survey maps, corrected to St. Iberius’ in the Townland Index. The similarly named parish of ST. IBERIUS (without the apostrophe) is located in Wexford Town.

    [The recent suggestion (see [details to be added]) that forms of this place-name in -v- (e.g. ‘lands of Churchton in St Ivores’, ‘St. Ivories’) ‘recall the Old Norse personal name Ívarr’ is unlikely to be correct, given the fact that these spellings are so readily explained as an early anglicisation of the saint’s name described above, E.Mod.Ir. Iobhar. The latinised forms in delenited -b- (e.g. ‘St. Ibaries’, ‘St. Iberius’) echo the forms used in the early Latin lives of that saint as realisations of Middle Irish Ibar with lenited medial -b- (e.g. ‘Ybarus’, ‘Ibarus’). In contrast, the Old Norse name Ívarr is regularly latinised as Iuarus, Ywarus, et var. — never *Ibarus — in medieval texts (as for example in the 12th century Gesta Danorum). Nor would this -b- be expected via a Hiberno-Latin form, as the well-attested realisation of ON Ívarr in Middle Irish was Ímar with lenited medial -m- (Mod. Ir. Íomhar). It is salient to note here the remarks of the Norwegian linguist Carl Marstrander: ‘Old Norse ĩ : Irish ĩ, written imImar Annals of Ulster 857 ff., Íṁar Book of Ballymote 91a50, Ívarr Old Norse; this consistent way of writing Imar, even in later manuscripts (Ioṁar, never Iobhar) demonstrates that the nasal vowel in this word must have been quite striking’ [trans.] Bidrag til det norske sprogs historie i Irland (1915) 67.

    [As English has been spoken in this area since the early days of the Anglo-Norman colony, and as both the latinised forms in -b- and the anglicised forms in -v- are readily reconcilable with the name of the well-known local Irish saint Iúr (< E.Mod.Ir. Iobhar < Mid.Ir. Ibar), any argument for direct Norse derivation for ‘St. Ivories’ would require extraordinary evidence which does not appear to exist at this time.]

    (Excerpt from Logainmneacha na hÉireann IV: Townland Names of County Wexford, 2016, with additional material in square brackets.)


52.2174, -6.38379latitude, longitude
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