While there’s little doubt the word burgh is a variation of the old English ‘burh’, meaning fort, the claim that Edin derives from Edwin flies in the face of chronological fact.
And the most likely theory of how Edinburgh was named has now been captured in a brand new image, created as part of a series of illustrations depicting the origins of city names across the north of England and Scotland.
This theory, as widely-accepted by modern-day scholars, is that described by the late Stuart Harris in a book which took him eleven years to compile, the excellent The Place Names of Edinburgh.
Mr Harris explains that the name was coined by the Votadini, a British tribe which had inhabited much of what is now the Lothians since before the Roman invasion.
In the poem Y Gododdin, dating from the late 6th century, the Votadini (or Gododdin to give them their Welsh title) described the place as both Eidyn and Din Eidyn.
Din Eidyn was the great capitol of the Gododdin people and translates as simply ‘Fort Eidyn’. The Gododdin name provided the basis for Edinburgh’s Scottish Gaelic ‘Dùn Èideann’, as well as the several Dunedins in former Scottish-founded settlements around the globe.
Stuart Harris declares the ‘fanciful form’ Edwin’s Burgh as a ‘palpable fake that appears in the time of David I and was probably an attempt to manufacture a link’ with the king of Northumbria.