Gloster River 'misnamed'

A Wellington man has approached the the New Zealand Geographic Board after discovering what he believes is a misspelt river name in Marlborough.

George Holmes believes the Gloster River, which contributes to the Clarence River near Kaikoura, was in fact intended to be named the Gloucester River.

He believes the river was named by well-educated Victorian men, and was intended to be named after Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, but was misspelt.

The theory makes sense, he said, because he believes the Clarence was named after the Duke of Clarence, Richard's brother, and not after Queen Victoria's Uncle, which was the original belief.

"There can be little doubt that the Gloster River and the Clarence River, which follow converging courses and meet at the confluence of the two rivers, are named after the two brothers," he said.

The brothers were made famous by Shakespeare's play, Richard III.

Other rivers in the area also have reference to the play, including George Stream and Murderers Stream, which both flow into the Clarence, he said.

"It is unlikely that the Clarence River was named after Queen Victoria's uncle, since it is now known that the river was not given this name until 1851. By that time, Queen Victoria's uncle had been dead 14 years."

Holmes believed he did not have enough "documented evidence" for the New Zealand Geographic Board to be able to change the spelling of Gloster to Gloucester, but wanted to share his finding with Marlborough people.

"Sometimes it's just so clear that it has to be true even though you can't produce any documented evidence," Holmes said.

The Marlborough Express