- River Lew
The River Lew can refer to either of two short
rivers that lie close to each other in Devon, England.
The more northerly of the two rises just south of the village of
Beaworthy, and flows east, then turns north to run past Hatherleighbefore joining the River Torridgeabout 1 km north of the town. Its name is incorporated into that of the village of Northlew.
The more southerly of the two rises on the northwest corner of
Dartmoor, near Sourton, and flows west and somewhat south, through the Lew Valley past Lewtrenchardand south of Lewdownbefore joining the River Lydnear Marystow. It has in earlier times also been known as Lew Water. The Anglo-Saxon Chroniclerecords a battle in 825in which Devon forces loyal to Egbert of Wessexdefeated the Cornish at "Gafulford"; and this is thought to be Galfordon the banks of this river, though some translations render it as Camelford, some 60km further west.
At their nearest point the two rivers are not much more than 10km apart.
Domesday Bookmentions a Lew Manor in this area, and it may be that both rivers take their name from it. Ekwall enters the southerly river as Lew Water and gives a derivation from British 'Lliw' for both (other river names are known to have the same origin). The manor cannot have been named any earlier than the Anglo-Saxon period (Ekwall, E., "The concise dictionary of English place-names", 2nd ed., 1940, p. 283a).
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