Local Gods and Goddesses
Belisama is the goddess of the river Ribble. This is known from Ptolemy's Geography (2AD) where he labels the estuary of the Ribble 'Belisama aest'. Her name is Gallo-Brythonic and means 'Most Shining One' or 'Most Mighty One.' Another interpretation is 'Summer Bright.' Inscriptions to Belisama have also been found in Vaison-la-Romaine in Provence and Saint-Lizier in the Pyrenees, where she is identified with Minverva. As there was a temple to Minerva at Ribchester it is possible the town was an earlier centre for her worship. Belisama is associated with wisdom, fire and crafts.
Brigantia is the Brythonic goddess of Northern England. Her name means 'High One.' She was worshipped by the Brigantes tribes, a confederation that ruled Northern England before the Roman invasions. Their original seat was West Yorkshire. She is a warrior goddess closely associated with the land and its defence. She is known from seven inscriptions, from Birrens, Dumfries and Galloway. In two of these she is identified with Victory. Therefore it is possible that the statue of Victory on the cenotaph on Preston flag market contains resonsances of Brigantia. She is often identified with Brighid, a goddess of healing, forging and poetry.
Maponus is a god of youth, music and hunting. His name is Gallo-Brythonic and means ‘the son.' In a dedication to him on an altar in Ribchester, he is identified with Apollo. In Pythagorean traditions he is referred to as 'the Hyperborean Apollo.' Other inscriptions are found in Northumbria and Cumberland. In medieval Welsh texts he appears as Mabon 'divine son.
Nodens is a god associated with healing, hunting, dogs, the sea and dreams. Tolkien equates the Celtic root 'Noudont' with a German root meaning 'acquire,' hence its meaning is 'The Catcher.' Professor O'Railly claims Nodens means 'Cloud Maker.' His centre of worship was at Lydney, on the river Severn where his temple was used for healing and dream incubation. In 1718 two silver Roman statues were found on Cockersand Moss in Lancashire. One of these was dedicated to Nodens as 'Mars-Nodontis.' This may be an indication there was a Romano-British shrine to Nodens in the area. He is known in Welsh mythology as Nudd/Lludd.
The Mothers or Dea Matronae are female goddesses who were venerated across Northern Europe. They are linked with fertility and often appear as a trio bearing fruit and nursing babies. Altars to the mothers have been found in Lund Church, near Kirkham and at Ribchester. It is possible that the goddess Matrona / Modron the mother of Maponus / Mabon is one of these deities.