What does Novocastrian mean?

If you’re not familiar with writing a blog, I can tell you there are all sorts of statistics available for the nerdy interested blogger. How many people are reading each post, what sites they come from, where they go to, IP addresses, what you all had for breakfast, that sort of thing. Most of them are irrelevant or uninteresting, so I ignore them. One of the things I do find interesting is what search terms people use to find my blog. Regularly occurring terms include my name, “Labour”, “Gordon Brown”, “General Election”, “election spoof posters”, “piri re’is”, “elephant clock”, “David Cameron”, “Alastair Campbell”, “Luciana Berger”, “politics blogs”, “manifesto”, plus slightly strangely, “John Terry” and “Pinot Noir”.

I’ll ignore all the Chelsea fans (who need to know which way to vote) and drinkers of fine red wines (who are discerning enough to enjoy my writing for its own sake).  One phrase that keeps recurring is “what is a Novocastrian?” I’ve looked at who is sending this and it seems it’s mostly school pupils from New South Wales. Poor buggers are trying to do their homework so they can go and surf or have a BBQ somewhere, and ending up reading my political rants about why George Osborne is an arse. So I’ve decided to write this blog as a public service. We in Labour are all about education, education, education, after all.

Pons Aelius

So, what is a Novocastrian? A Novocastrian is someone who was born in Newcastle, principally Newcastle upon Tyne. Novo comes from the Latin Novus meaning new. Castrian from the Latin Castrum meaning fort or castle. However, during the Roman occupation of Tyneside, they did not call it Novuscastrum. It was Pons Aelius, which means the bridge of the Aeli family. Aelian was the family name of the emperor Hadrian who had the city built as well as Hadrian’s Wall. The castle for which the city is now named was built in 1080 by Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror. It was after this time that monastic chroniclers, who wrote in Latin, recorded the city name as Novuscastrum, and its people as Novocastrians.

Anyway, that’s my public service to the Australian education system done. If you are a pupil in Newcastle, New South Wales, (or anywhere else) make sure you put it in your own words. Plagiarism is naughty.

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  1. * its people, not it’s people.

    I think that rugby league commentator Ray Warren popularised this term in Australia, since he commonly refers to Newcastle Knights rugby league players as Novocastrians.

  2. I find the search terms most interesting as well. It does make me wonder how people are making certain word associations. Thanks for explaining. I love learning new words 🙂 Merry Christmas!

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