Downton and Cerdic 519 AD
Birthplace of King Arthur's Kingdom of Wessex and England
by Michael Alwyn Slade
Copyright 2010 ©
Aelwyns Campaign with Cerdic from Downton around 465AD
I was brought up in Downton my father was Ector and my brother was Kay. My foster brother was Cerdic.
I was ordered to join a 50 man warrior team and make for Bath from Downton to meet with Ambrosius Aureleanus. We were to be a show of strength he needed to impress to both east and west. I was aware that this was to be a trial for me my first command of a key force operating out of Winchester and Llyr Merini. It would further my military skills in gaining knowledge of the tribes encroaching towards us. Aella from Caent needed to be shown in no uncertain terms that he should stay within his own territory securing his marauding Saxons or suffer the consequences. Ambrosius Aureleanus had not long returned from Gaul and various fringe factions have been obstructing trade and sending raiding parties across our domains.
A show of strength and lightning attacks from us were intended to force them to retreat into their shells. We were to be the Pathfinders force with noble-men heavy cavalry as the key warriors. Ambrosius knew he could rely on his brother Llyr Merini to supply him with a force that would be experienced and thorough in their trade, professional soldiers. I was to be the least experienced but would be well supported by battle hardened team who had not long returned from active service in Gaul for a couple of years, They were itching for the relative freedom of action this flag waving campaign would become.
We firstly completed a circle of the area from Gloucester to Gwent where Natan was having troubles that needed a new and more direct threat to the waverers and we left them in no uncertain terms that we were the ruling force that would be a spearhead of replacements regularly impressing on them every few weeks. We visited all the key forts and burghs and dispensed justice rather more harshly than the local aeldors and troops had been doing. Natan was a trusted and honest man local leader but lax in discipline that proved dominance. We knew the message would get through to Ireland since just our presence brought respite from their irregular raiding.
We left with Natan taking up his responsibilities behind us. Our duties now took us East. We had a wonderful time making surprise visits to our strongholds along the way. After initial panic it was wonderful to see their response, realising we were only passing through, and by so doing were consolidating their peaceful existence. We knew that Ambrosius Aureleanus had agreed with Llyr Merini that we would indeed have a similar following operation shortly here-after. There's nothing better than having great friendly neighbours.
We were feted wherever we stopped, fed watered and lightly provisioned. We were able to concentrate on a few scouting missions into areas where we were informed there were likely pockets of resistance or more usually discontent.
Llyr Merini impressed on me that we were to report at least weekly by special messenger scouts reporting to him on our mission and our findings. He would be making notes and if necessary preparing possible later missions.
As we progressed we were allied with another ten forces equal to ours. They were from Cornaille, Dumnonia, Bath and some more from Llyr Merini in Durotriges.
We were to travel each independently not to overload our people along the way. We travelled fast, we had no need to dwell too long. Cerdic was now running a duplicate team parallel to us pressing North and then returning as we progressed Eastward. Our five forward sections were soon approaching less friendly Saxon controlled areas particularly Aelles.
My section comprised five noble heavy cavalry and another ten secondary cavalry troops, ten scouts and 25 foot soldiers were all we needed to impress all but the larger of the forts we were to visit. Our boys were having the time of their lives their adrenalin flowed as we treated every new day as if we may initiate a surprise attack. We would tread farther off our own territory as a mini show of strength and by so doing sent a message forward that we were around and moving with speed. They could not understand what our objective might be so found it impossible and indeed undesirable to meet us except on our terms. We showed all centres that we were just passing through and indeed were well regarded by the predominant number of local Celtic Britons that were the local inhabitants and made up the local militia.
When we ventured further we would team up and arrive at larger centres with forty or more cavalry with standards and discipline not seen since the Romans executed the same such operations. We were using active noble cavalry again. This had been instituted by my father Ector who came over from Gaul with Cerdic to join Llyr Merini his brother. Ector trained us all in the techniques such that with experience we acquired in Gaul and local action rendered us virtually unbeaten now for many a year We had a wonderful summer. We had word back from Bath and Winchester that all was calm on all fronts and that our exercise had not gone unnoticed. We continued as far as the east coast and we ventured north into Mercia as we realised our near invincibility.
We confused any potential opposition, we seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time; they could organise no organised attack even defence against our mobile tactics.
We had a few engagements as we wheeled around and prickled our way through to the Weald. As soon as we met any opposition with our section we operated our usual pincer movement with Cerdic, his men having served alongside mine for many years they understood their colleagues and could second guess their very next move.
Some of them died, we were to ensure that they would be Saxons and thus not unduly upset the locals.
As we advanced our team grew in number, many renegade Saxons who had been the disgruntled and disruptive saw our force as sensible potential for advancing their trade. They joined our Saxon mercenaries that made up more than a half of our force anyway. We knew well to keep an eagle eye on them and install extra discipline amongst them. They made life easier for our regulars as the incomers assumed the role of lower ranks and our loyal men and any injured became our cavalry support teams.
As we progressed Ambrosius Aureleanus dropped off traders and entrepreneurs to cement relations and reward local industry and agriculture to make secure trade routes to all our advantage into the future. Even before we returned to Winchester Lyr Merini was seeing a great increase in produce passing through the south on its way to Gaul and indeed to Rome, these days as general trade not tax for Rome. We had a major objective throughout our mission to bring firmly under our control, firstly the iron production and smithies. Then the grain production, storage and transport was a high priority, we also made sure that meat farmers were secure and that potteries were restarted. All we visited knew that we were to re-instate judiciary discipline, taxes and provision of military for their and our common use. Moots would be held as we returned each month.
We returned to Winchester as others were forwarded to replicate our efforts the following year. Ambrosius Aureleanus was to expand the operation Northward all the way to The Wall of Hadrian. It was to be a great time for Britain but no sooner than one threat is quelled another begins. We have great allies and kin in Gaul and there were to be many more similar missions to come across the sea.
Never mind we were up for it. We were matchless.
Cerdic and I were honing our skills that would help us form a new nation in the years to come,
we knew it, it was our destiny.
Aelwyn = Wise Magical Friend. Foster Brother to Cerdic to Arthur.
Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23