Caistor St Edmund – Origins of Village Name

Further to my riveting post about Caistor St. Edmund (by riveting, I mean not especially riveting), I like that the village has retained its full name. This is primarily likely because of the other Caister in Norfolk, so although the spelling is different, differentiating the two locations has probably proved useful over the centuries, so there’s Caistor St. Edmund and Caister-by-the-sea.

Both places are named Caistor/Caister for the same reason, it’s the old English word for a Roman fort, although it might once have been spelled in different ways, such as caester or castre. The Romans themselves called it Venta Icenorum, meaning the ‘marketplace of the Iceni’.

The surname Caister, and its variants, derives from the same meaning and it’s most common in England, Canada, the United States, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, and for reasons unknown, Ecuador. What’s even more interesting, to me anyway, is that by looking at a map of England and its surnames, there is a basic correlation between where Roman sites once were and where people live today with the surname Caister.

The St. Edmund bit is because the parish was owned by the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, with the village church also dedicated to St. Edmund. The village is also commonly known as St. Edmunds, although I’m not sure that anyone much minds which one is used. But, I’m sticking to St. Edmund since it seems to be the official version.