London – City of the God of Light?

In his illuminating book, Ancient Paths, Graham Robb slips in this intriguing alternative source for the name of London while cycling along a ‘Druidic pathway’ in France unraveling the secrets of the Celtic world.

“The northernmost point of the meridian, five hundred kilometres from Chateaumeillant, lies at a place disconcertingly named  Loon Plage. The ‘beach’ is a desolate zone of wind-bent poplars and container trucks queuing for the cross-Channel ferry. In the late Iron Age, when sea levels were higher than they are today, Loon was an island called Lugdunum, which means ‘fortress of Lugh’, the Celtic god of light.

Lugdunum shared its name with several other important Celtic towns: Laon, Leiden, Loudun, Lyon and perhaps London.”

London not as old King Ludd’s hill, or the Llyn din from Welsh meaning ‘lake fort’, or the Londinium of the Romans, but the City of the God of Light. On those days when London lies snugly beneath a duvet of grey cloud I must say it’s hard to imagine but it deserves to be added to the list – who knows, maybe the Druids had a sense of humour.