The name Romney is derived from Old English 'at the spacious, or wide, river' recorded in 895 as Rumenea, and in 914 as Rumenesea.
This appears to have been an early name for Romney Marsh, whose inhabitants are referred to in 774 as Merscuuare and in 796 as Merscware (Old English merscware: marsh people). Their territory is described in 811 as regio Merscuuariorum (region of the Marsh People); and earlier, in 697, there appears here the name Ruminingseta: 'fold of the dwellers by the spacious river' and Rumeneia
Rumeneia was the name of the river we know as the Rother, which used to flow into sea at New Romney but now flows out through Rye. It would appear that this river had different names in different parts of it, which is not unusual and happens elsewhere in the country.
Near the source or spring head, it was likely called the Rother. Lower down and along the branch which flowed out to the sea at the Roman port Portus Lemanis near the Roman fort at Stutfall, the Limen and as the Rumeneia near New Romney. Hence the name Romney.
The present place names appear as Rumney, Old Rumney in1575, and as Romney, Old Romney in 1610.
Romney Marsh was known by the English Saxons first as Merscwarum and then, in c795, as Merscware. It is not certain when it first became know as Rommene, or Romney. There was mention of this name in 895 related with land owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury near the river called Rumeneia
'Romney Marsh' means different geographic areas to different people, and different geographic areas depending on the context in which 'Romney Marsh' is used.
- The name "Romney Marsh" is often used collectively for four marshes – Romney, Walland, East Guildford and Denge – occupying 100 square miles of England's south-easternmost corner.
- The original Romney Marsh proper is the area lying north of a line between New Romney and Appledore ie north of the roads B2080 and the A259. See map.
- For the purpose of this website, Romney Marsh is taken to be the area bounded by Hythe to the north east, Hamstreet to the north, Appledore to the west, Rye to the south east, Camber to the south and the English Channel to the east. See map.