Downton and Cerdic 519 AD
Birthplace of King Arthur's Kingdom of Wessex and England
by Michael Alwyn Slade
Copyright 2010 ©
Natan was related to Llyr Merini and Ambrosius Aureleanus, probably they were all brothers. With similar Romano British roots from the Glamorgan, Hereford areas Natan would have followed the usual duty in supporting the military and trade requirements of his leaders. He is a mysterious man with little history. There is some record of him being a King of Normandy so that may explain some of his lost mystery.
After Vortigerns decline he moved his territory south from the Welsh borders and interlocked with Llyr Merini at Winchester probably with special responsibilities across from the South Coast and inland at times probably as far as Bath. He could have been based in Downton and had a serious falling out with Cerdic. Cerdic later spent many fractious years in adjacent areas to Natan and as time progressed fought two serious battles with him probably in 498 and 519 AD.
Natan Leod and some probably questionable Saxon allies of his were profoundly beaten at Cerdic's Ford. Thousands are reported as having been killed there. Time Team have unearthed several senior royal Saxon burials on the edge of the battlefield near there. Many more have been unearthed all along the Avon Valley.
Nettlebury is the name of the drove leading to Cerdic's Ford, now Charford. Natanbury is the name of a path in Downton beneath the Moot and by the Palace. The road to Downton used by Cerdic to approach Downton is Lode Hill - Leod Hill - Traitor Hill!
Natan is supposed to be buried in a barrow opposite by Breamore. The Moot at Downton may however be his resting place - the steep hill allied to it is called Execution Hill the obvious visible site for gibbets.
Often known as Natan-Leod, the peoples leader, is however known for oppressive rule. Leod is often portrayed as a traitor. And indeed he was a thorn in Cerdic's side for many a year. It can be assumed that he did not meet with great friendship with his Bretwalda brother Llyr Merini in Llyrs' own last few years of decline, and that Cerdic had some old scores to settle. Cerdic and Natan could well have been well distant relatives with little in common. Natan would have been based at Downton probably comfortably ensconced at the Palace by the river overlooked by the defensive Moot. He would have the remnants of a large Roman Villa alongside there too.
Cerdic who was possibly brought up in Downton earlier, probably at one time maintained a family presence at the old Roman Villa but was usurped from there when Natan took advantage of Cerdic's absence and service in Gaul.Cerdic was forced to operate out of Vannes and probably his fate at that time was thought to be terminal allowing Natan to do his worst. Cerdic's family were most probably moved closer to Llyr Merini at Winchester. Cerdic was to return to take out Natan and replicate Llyr Merini as Bretwalda in one of the most decisive battles ever seen on these shores - the battle of Cerdic's Ford.
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