Britain - Tealby Village


In the past the village has been known as Tavelesbi, Tauelesbi, Tauelebi and other variations. Recent study suggests that "Tealby" is probably derived from the East European tribal-name "Taifali" and the Old Danish word "by" meaning a farmstead or village. (Detachments of the Taifali are recorded in Britain in the early 5th century). Therefore "Tealby" probably derives from the village of the Taifali people.

The key source for this alternative explanation of the Taifali/*Tāflas of Tealby is the late Roman Notitia Dignitatum, the western half of which was probably first compiled after 399 and then periodically updated until about 425. This document specifies that a cavalry unit named the Equites Taifali was under the command of the Comes Britanniarum (‘Count of the Britains’) in the very late fourth to early fifth centuries. This unit was part of the late Roman mobile field army in Britain, which was normally billeted in civilian towns rather than assigned to specific military forts, and is thought to have been established between 395 and 398 from the Taifali of northern Italy and Gaul. This is of considerable interest in the present circumstances, constituting as it gives solid evidence for the presence of Taifali in Britain. So, could the post-Roman Taifali/Taiflas of Lincolnshire have been the descendants of members (or former members) of the early fifth-century Equites Taifali who remained in Britain into the mid fifth century and beyond, rather than returning to the Continent in the early fifth century as the vast majority of Roman troops in Britain are usually assumed to have done.