Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Avon

AVON, the name of several rivers in England, Scotland, and France. The word is Celtic, appearing in Welsh as afon, in Manx as aon, and in Gaelic as abhuinn (pronounced avain), and is radically identical with the Sanskrit ap, water, and the Latin aqua and amnis. The root appears more or less disguised in a vast number of river names all over the Celtic area in Europe. Thus, besides such forms as Evan, Aune, Anne, Ive, Auney, Inney, &c., in the British Islands, we have Aff and Aven in Brittany, Avenza and Avens in Italy, Avia in Portugal, and Avono in Spain ; while the terminal syllable of a large proportion of the French rivers, such as the Sequana, the Matrona, the Garumna, and so on, seems originally to have been the same word. The names Punjab, Doab, &c., show the root in a clearer shape. (See Taylor's Words and Places.) Of the principal English rivers of this name in its full form three belong to the basin of the Severn. The Upper or Shakespearean Avon, rising in Northamptonshire, near the battlefield of Naseby, flows through Warwickshire, Worcester, and Gloucester, past Rugby, Warwick, Stratford, and Evesham, and joins the larger river at Tewkesbury ; while the Lower Avon has its sources on the borders of Wiltshire, and enters the estuary of the Severn at King's Roads, after passing Malmesbury, Bath, and Bristol. (See Ireland's Upper Avon ; Lewis's Book of English Rivers, 1855.) The Middle or Little Avon has its whole course in Gloucestershire, and reaches the Severn a short distance below the town of Berkeley. Another river of this name rises in Wilts, and flows past Salisbury to the British Channel. In Scotland one is a tributary of the Clyde, another belongs to the basin of the Forth, and a third joins its waters with the Annan, while an Aven is a confluent of the Spey. In France there are two “ Avons” in the system of the Loire, and two in that of the Seine.