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It is sometimes claimed as the one between Wells and the Bristol Channel in Somerset, with the settlement being at Bridgwater, but is more likely to be the Axe of Somerset, Dorset, and Devon, rising in Beaminster in Dorset, running through Axminster, and exiting into the English Channel at Axmouth in East Devon (the most likely location of an Uxella 'Estuary').Either choice would place the first century AD Dumnonii well east of the River Exe and seemingly into Durotriges territory, but how recent a development this may have been is unknown.

However, sub-groups within the tribal collective may have named themselves after the god they followed. In the Devon half of their territory the Dumnonii appear to have used hill forts of the common British type, but across the Tamar (into modern Cornwall) these virtually disappear and their place is taken by fortifications which are very similar to those in Brittany and Spain.According to tradition that was first written down by Nennius and then Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Dumnonians were descended from Corineus and his people, themselves the descendants of Trojan refugees and fellow arrivals with Brutus, the legendary first high king of Britain.Corineus was the eponymous founder of Cornubia (Cornwall) and wore one of the 'Three Coronets of Britain'.The second was Uxella, from the Brythonic *iskā, meaning 'water' and with what appears to be a diminutive suffix '-el', providing a meaning of 'little water'.This was located at Uxella Estuarium - the 'Uxella' being the modern River Axe.

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They seemingly predated the general arrival in Britain of Celts of the Halstatt C culture, although it cannot be stated with any certainty that there was no contact with the very earliest proto-Celtic arrivals of the Urnfield or that the Dumnonii were not Urnfield people themselves.