Bovium / Bovivm (The Cattle Market) – The only classical reference which records the name of the small Romano-British settlement at Tilston is the Antonine Itinerary of the late-2nd century. In the middle of the longest British route, Iter II, the journey from Hadrian’s Wall to Richborough in Kent, the name Bovium is recorded 10 miles from Deva (Chester, Cheshire) and 20 miles from Mediolanum (Whitchurch, Shropshire).
The Roman name Bovium appears to stem from the Latin word bos, bovis ‘oxen, cattle’, and related to the word boarium ‘cattle market’, possibly being a contraction of the same. This may be a useful indication of the settlement’s primary source of income during Romano-British times, the town possibly being the principle centre of trade for livestock bred in North Wales. If this is the case, there is also a possibility that the site was the location of a traditional annual market in pre-Roman times.