WHO WAS CERDIC OF WESSEX?

Cerdic of Wessex, who was he? It is an important question since his descendants founded the Old English Royal House.

It is well known among “academia” that the Saxon writers who compiled the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which Alfred The Great had commissioned to be written as his dynasty’s epic, turned Alfred’s ancestor Cerdic into a Saxon chieftain when he was actually a native British regional-ruler who employed Saxons as mercenaries as auxiliaries to his shire‘s militia. For the claim of Alfred “The Great”, the “first” King of England (886), to the suzerainty over the English Nation could not be based on his non-English ancestry from the country’s original British royal house. The clerics of King Alfred’s Court therefore altered the records when they compiled the “ASC” in the spirit of “political correctness”, to suit the political conditions of the time. How else could one explain the curious phenomenon that a native British king was the ancestor of a “Saxon” dynasty, i.e., the Wessex dynasty, which dynasty united England under its sway to become the Old English Royal House. This blatant manipulation of the facts and the royal pedigree as a means of expressing a political situation is not new, and this is an example of how the Old British Royal House was to exploit literacy to shape its new image as an Anglo-Saxon royal house. Hence, the true origin of the Wessex kingdom, whose dynasty went on to unify England and give the country its royal house, contrary to many history books, does not lie in the rise of an Anglo-Saxon [English] kingdom, but in the re-emergence of an earlier sub-Roman British kingdom, whose royalty represented the ancient pre-Roman British Iron Age high-kings.

Scholars agree that the name “Cerdic” is not Saxon but Briton; and, if philological evidence is to be trusted the name Cerdic was not even known to Saxon writers before the seventh-century, for the various forms in which the name occurs in seventh-century Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, for example: Cerdic, Ceardic, Caradoc, Ceredig, Keredic, Caratauc, Karadawc, Coroticus, Careticus, Cauritus, Cridous, Caerdic, Cardoc, tend to show that the name had not by the seventh-century been thoroughly naturalized from the Welsh tongue into the English language. The name Cerdic has long been recognized by academics as a variant form of the name of the first-century pre-Roman British hero-king, Caratacus, who heroically fought the Roman invasion, conquest, and occupation of Britain, whose name was very popular among British royalty during post-Roman times, especially in the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries, and it is highly unlikely to have been the name of a Saxon chieftain, especially THIS name, due to the memory of whose namesake could still arouse patriotism among the Britons, the people with whom the Saxons were warring, therefore, the only reasonable conclusion is that Cerdic was a Briton, not a Saxon.

Cerdic of Wessex is called in early sources "dux gewissorum", that is, "duke of the Gewissae". The British client-king, Octavius, who appears in ancient Welsh annals as Eudaf "Hen", who reigned in Britain during the Roman Era, was called "dux gewissorum" as an officer in Roman service before his usurpation of the British throne. And, the Dark Age "proud tyrant" Vortigern is referred to in the "HRB" as "dux gewissorum" before he became King of Britain. This links Cerdic to British tradition rather than to Anglo-Saxon [English] tradition. It is a piece of evidence that points to the fact that Cerdic was a Briton, and not a Saxon as history has made him. Bede says that the West Saxons, who gave Wessex its name, were originally called "Gewissae". The identity of the "Gewissae" is debated among scholars. It is sure that the "Gewissae" were not a Saxon tribe, which medieval writers called them, but Briton by race, which has been verified by the researches of modern scholars, archaeology, etc. The "Gewissae", however, eventually accepted the description of "West Saxon" as they were culturally "anglicized" during the Anglo-Saxon Era. There are three major theories as to the identity of the "Gewissae", each of which may have a grain of truth in them, which are: (a) the word/term "Gewissae" means "compatriots" and originally referred to the combined British militias, i.e., the country’s "home" or "national-guard" (so to speak), which, ironically means that the so-called "tribe" of Cerdic were not Saxons but actually Britons, under Cerdic, fighting the Saxons. This is proved by the records of the encampments of the Gewissae in Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Monmouthshire. (b) the word/term "Gewissae" is a corruption of "Gleuissae", derived from the Latin "Gleuenses", which means "inhabitants of Gloucester"; and (c) the word/term "Gewissae" means "Gwent-Men" or “Men of Gwent", referring to their tribal territory, who migrated from Gwent, the Welsh shire, to Wessex, the English counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire, and Berkshire. It was Cerdic, the "dux gewissorum", many scholars agree, who led the "Gewissae" from Gwent to Gloucestershire and then to Hampshire, where they founded the Wessex kingdom.

Too, another clue to Cerdic's nationality is given by St. Gildas, who was a contemporary of Cerdic. He wrote in his "De Excidio" that the British victory at the Battle of Badon Hill [or Mount Badon], was so decisive that it gave the Britons a generation free from "barbarian" ["Saxon"] attacks, though the peace was often broken by the Britons fighting in civil wars among themselves. The glaring contradiction between St. Gildas’ assertion in his "De Excidio" that Britain was free of "barbarian" attacks for a generation, and the record in the "ASC" of a string of barbarian victories during that period in which Gildas wrote has longed puzzled historians. That is, since Cerdic of Wessex fought many of his battles during the period which according to the contemporary testimony of St. Gildas was free of "barbarian" attacks, then, the only answer must be that St. Gildas did not consider Cerdic to have been a Saxon, but a Briton; nor the Wessex kingdom to have been a barbarian ["Saxon"] kingdom, but just another British regional-kingdom, which employed barbarians as mercenaries, which were the private armies of the British regional-kings, of which Cerdic of Wessex was doubtless one. No other conclusion is possible. The activities of Cerdic therefore should be put in a British context instead of the English context that history books usually place them, due to the influence of the “ASC”. The wars of Cerdic were civil wars among the Britons themselves, not an English foreign invasion! And, there is other evidence that points to the fact that Cerdic was a Briton, and not a Saxon.

The pedigree of Cerdic of Wessex, the founder of Wessex's royal house, given in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, has been shown by modern scholarship to be a fabrication constructed from the traditions of other dynasties, those of Sussex, Bernicia, and Mercia, nevertheless, the pedigree does have some historical value. There are even traditions of Denmark’s royal house borrowed from the Viking settlers, who were included in Alfred’s kingdom, in the list of Cerdic’s ancestors which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle gives, perhaps to integrate the Vikings into the English Nation by adding the ancestors of their royalty to the pedigree of the new English royal house. Now, if the pedigree of Cerdic of Wessex given in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was the invention of its writers, then, who were Cerdic’s ancestors? Most historians believe that if an earlier pedigree for Cerdic was ever known that it is now lost, however, some disagree, and believe his pedigree may be found in early Welsh genealogical tracts. Indeed, the true ancestry of Cerdic is to be found in early Welsh genealogical tracts rather than in the "ASC", that is certain. Surely, none could deny that Cerdic was a Briton and not a Saxon from (a) the evidence of his name, that of his father, as well as those of his son and grandson, which are Celtic names, (b) the designation of his people as the “Gewissae”, who were Britons, and (c) the classification of Cerdic’s military activities as civil wars among the Britons by his contemporary St. Gildas. Indeed, one can only conclude that Cerdic was a Briton, not a Saxon. Then, question: why do modern publications still refer to Cerdic as a Saxon? To ignore this issue would be to continue to perpetuate this medieval "cover-up", which would be an injustice to history to say the least!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                               various theories

Theories proposed in books and journal articles on the identity of Cerdic of Wessex generally agree that he may be identified with one of the contemporary British royals of that name, who include: (a) Cerdic of Gwent; (b) another Cerdic (Cauritus) (Carahes; Caradoc) of Gwent; (c) Cerdic, a contemporary who maybe identified with Cerdic of Wessex; (d) Cerdic of Hampshire, identified with Monmouth’s Keredic (d541); (e) Cerdic (d534), son of King Arthur, which theory was proposed by Geoffrey Ashe in his book "Discovery".

Cerdic of Wessex is sometimes identified with the contemporary prince of Gwent whose name was "Cerdic, son of Eliseg", the cousin of Gwrawd "Gwent", King of Gwent. John Rhys noted the name of Cerdic’s father, Elesa, in the "ASC", was remarkably similar to the Welsh name Elise, whose variants include Eliseg; Eliset; etc. Cerdic of Gwent appears as Cauritus, Caradock, Cheldric, Caradoc, etc., in various medieval manuscripts. If the identification is correct then we have an alternative genealogy for Cerdic of Wessex, for the genealogy of the royal house of Gwent has been preserved in a collection of early Welsh genealogical-tracts, and is traceable in direct male-line descent from the first-century AD British patriot-king, Caratacus, who so persistently fought the Roman invaders, conquerors, and occupiers, of Britain, whose ancestry is traceable to the first-century BC British patriot-king, Cassivellaunus [Caswallawn], who fought the initial Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar a century earlier, who descended from a long-line of pre-Roman British kings, who represented the Old British Royal House, which was very likely over a thousand years old by the time the Romans came. It is well known that the family of Caratacus was given refuge by the Silures, the British tribe which inhabited Gwent, and it is also known from ancient records that one branch of Caratacus’ descendants held sway in Gwent, where they established themselves as regional-rulers during the Roman Era, which shire came to be their estate, with their seat at Caerwent, occupying senior administrative posts in Gwent in Roman service. The descendants of pre-Roman British royalty, after the Roman occupation was over, re-emerged in post-Roman times as the earls/dukes/kings of their estates; and Cerdic in all probability was one of these. It is virtually sure that as a prince of the royal house of Gwent the late fifth/early sixth century Cerdic was directly descended from his famous first century namesake.

The misidentification of Eliseg, the father of Cerdic of Gwent, with Alesa, whom the "ASC" makes the father of Cerdic of Wessex, whom legend says was the brother of Aella of Sussex, the first Anglo-Saxon Bretwalda, wrongly connects the genealogy of the native British Wessex dynasty to the foreign Saxon conquerors of the Sussex royal house. The "ASC" calls Alesa [Else] of Wessex the son of Esla [Else], who traditionally was the father of Sussex’s first king, Aella [Elli], in the attempt by the Saxon writers of the “ASC” to connect the native Wessex dynasty to the Saxon traditions of the foreign Sussex dynasty. The father of Esle in the "ASC" is called Gewis. Gewis, however, is not a personal name but an eponym invented by the Saxon writers of the "ASC", who did not understand Cerdic’s Celto-Roman title "dux gewissorum", and, thus, inserted the eponym into the pedigree of the Wessex kings to represent the ancestor of the "Gewissae", who originally were Britons but were turned into a Saxon tribe [the "West Saxons"] by the Saxon writers of the "ASC". Asser, in his "Life of Alfred ["The Great"], drops Esle [Esla] from the pedigree, thus, unraveling the royal Wessex genealogy from the royal Sussex genealogy, which leaves the record as "Cerdic, son of Elesa", which tends to identify him with the contemporary British prince "Cerdic, son of Elise[g]" of Gwent.

Cerdic of Wessex has also been identified with "Cerdic [Caradoc] ap Bran Fendigaid", that is, Cerdic, son of St. Bran "Bendigaid", The "Blessed", who represented another branch of the Old British Royal House [pedigree below]. If the identification is the correct one, we would still have an alternative genealogy for Cerdic of Wessex, since the ancestry of "Cerdic [m]ap Bran" has been preserved in early Welsh genealogical tracts, which is traceable to, and beyond, the British prince Beli [son of the British ex-king, Dubnovellus, in exile in Rome] and his wife, Anne, one of Jesus’ so-called "sisters" (Mt. 13:56), through whom later British royalty claimed The Virgin Mary as their ancestress, which is why the Welsh "Triads" name the descendants of St. Bran "The Blessed", i.e., Cerdic’s father, one of the "three holy families" ["desposynic"] of Britain. The castle of St. Bran is identified as Castell Dinas Bran, at Llangollen, in Clwyd, which was his estate. Cerdic "ap" ["son of"] Bran "Bendigaid" is called in the "Triads" one of the "three chief officers" of Britain, referring in his case to the office of "dux gewissorum", which was a national-office. Cerdic of Wessex, who appears as Kadeir "Wledic" in "The Book of Taliesin", is called "one of the chief officers who guarded the country", which tends to identify him with Cerdic, son of St. Bran "The Blessed". It was his office as "dux gewissorum" which took Cerdic from his father’s estate of Clywd in Wales to Hampshire in England to challenge the Saxon invaders; and later Hampshire was granted to him by the King of Britain as his estate. [note: the Cerdic who appears in the "Triads" as one of the "three conventional monarchs" may be identified with fourth-century British king Cerdic II [Caradoc of Cornwall] and not with either the first-century hero-king Cerdic I or the sixth-century Wessex founder Cerdic III.] Cerdic, the son of St. Bran "The Blessed" ["Bendigaid"], floats about in British chronology and appears in medieval literature in different historical settings, which means that he has been confused with some of the others who bore the name Cerdic, or its variants. He appears in "Breuddwyd Macsen" as the father of Eudaf Hen, which is chronologically impossible. The confusion probably derives from the misidentification of Cerdic, son of St. Bran, with Cerdic [Karadawc], the half-brother of Eudaf Hen, by a medieval writer, then, perhaps a copyist made Eudaf Hen’s half-brother, Cerdic [Karadawc], into his father? Next, Cerdic, son of St. Bran, was misidentified with his famous first-century namesake, Caratacus, son of Cunobelinus, by Hugh Thomas (1700), since the true parentage of Caratacus, recorded by the classical writer Dio Cassius, was generally unknown at the time. This misidentification was accepted by many historians of later generations, including Iolo Morganwg, who, too, apparently was unfamiliar with classical literature. Rice Rees was one of the first modern historians to point out the impossibility of the identification, however, the misidentification is still made today by modern historians. The stories of the ancestors of "Cerdic [m]ap Bran", as well as his story and pedigree tends to place him in the late fifth and early sixth centuries. Thus, he and Cerdic of Wessex would have been contemporaries if not the same person.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

alternative ancestral-lines for Cerdic of Wessex

alternative-line A: ancestry of Cerdic of Gwent

01. Caswallawn, King of Britain, fought Julius Caesar’s 54BC invasion

02. Andocoveros, sub-king

03. Tasciovanus, King of Britain 4BC-AD9, sole king from AD5 [not to be confused with Tenvantius, an earlier king]

04. Cymbeline, King of Britain AD 9-39

05. Caratacus [Caradoc], hero-king 40-43, deposed by Romans, resistance-leader 43-50, died in exile AD 54

06. Guidgen, anti-king & resistance-leader, killed 78

07. Lou "Hen", "dux" ["duke"] of Gwent

08. Cinis "Scaplaut", "dux" of Gwent

09. Decion, "civitas" of Gwent (175)

10. Cadell, "civitas" of Gwent

11. Catleu, "civitas" of Gwent

12. Lledan, "civitas" of Gwent

13. Serwan, "civitas" of Gwent

14. Cawrdaf, "civitas" of Gwent

15. Cathen, "civitas" of Gwent

16. Neiton, "civitas" of Gwent

17. Run, King of Gwent (383)

18. Owain "Finddu", King of Gwent [confused in some sources with Eugenius, son of Maximus, his contemporary]

19. Mor, King of Gwent

20. Dolor "Deifyr", King of Gwent, his brothers were Filwr (Filur) and Solor

21. Eliseg, prince, whom some identify with Elesa of Wessex

22. Cerdic of Gwent, who possibly may be identified with Cerdic of Wessex?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

alternative-line B: ancestry of [another] Cerdic of Gwent

01. Caswallawn, King of Britain, fought Julius Caesar’s 54BC invasion

02. Andocoveros, sub-king

03. Tasciovanus, King of Britain 4BC-AD9, sole king from AD5

04. Cymbeline, King of Britain AD 9-39

05. Caratacus [Caradoc], hero-king 40-43, deposed by Romans, resistance-leader 43-50, died in exile AD 54

06. Guidgen, anti-king & resistance-leader, killed 78

07. Lou "Hen", "dux" ["duke"] of Gwent

08. Cinis "Scaplaut", "dux" of Gwent

09. Decion, "civitas" of Gwent (175)

10. Cadell, "civitas" of Gwent

11. Catleu, "civitas" of Gwent

12. Lledan, "civitas" of Gwent

13. Serwan, "civitas" of Gwent

14. Cawrdaf, "civitas" of Gwent

15. Cathen, "civitas" of Gwent

16. Neiton, "civitas" of Gwent

17. Run, King of Gwent (383)

18. Owain "Finddu", King of Gwent [confused in some sources with Eugenius, son of Maximus, his contemporary]

19. Mor, King of Gwent

20. Filwr (Filur), prince, the brother of Dolor "Deifyr" & Solor

21. Cerdic [Cauritus] [Carahes; Caradoc] of Gwent, who possibly may be identified with Cerdic of Wessex?

[note: this Cerdic of Gwent had a son Cynric [Cunorix] just like Cerdic of Wessex; he was also the father of two daughters, Gwawl, the wife of Glywys "Cernyw", King of Glywysing, and Ysave, wife of Taredd "Wledic", and, the mother of Trwyth "Wledic".]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

alternative-line C: ancestry of another Cerdic

01. Caswallawn, King of Britain, fought Julius Caesar’s 54BC invasion

02. Andocoveros, sub-king

03. Tasciovanus, King of Britain 4BC-AD9, sole king from AD5

04. Cymbeline, King of Britain AD 9-39

05. Caratacus [Caradoc], hero-king 40-43, deposed by Romans, resistance-leader 43-50, died in exile AD 54

06. Coellyn [Cyllin] [St.], [1st] King of Ewyas [at Caerwent]

07. Owain, King of Ewyas

08. Meirchion "Fawd-Filwr", King of Ewyas

09. Cwrrig [Gorug; Gorac] "Fawr", King of Ewyas

10. Gorddwfn [Gwrddwyfn], King of Ewyas

11. Einudd "Wledic", King of Ewyas & "Prince of Britain" (d328)

12. Caradoc [Karadawc], his half-brother was Eudaf I "Hen", King of Britain

13. Cynvelyn, prince

14. Owain, prince

15. Meirchion

16. Eidon "Darianlas"

17. Ethrys

18. Ceiliog "Y Myngrudd"

19. Meirnwch

20. Ethrys

21. Llyr "Lluyddogg"

22. Cerdic, another contemporary British prince/or king who bore the name "Cerdic", who possibly may be identified with Cerdic of Wessex?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

alternative-line D: ancestry of Cerdic of Hampshire

01. Caswallawn [Cassivellaunus], King of Britain, fought Julius Caesar’s 54BC invasion

02. Addedomaros, sub-king

03. Dubnovellus [Dubnovellaunus][Dunvallo], King of Britain [whom Geoffrey of Monmouth misidentified with Dunvallo "Molmutius", a fifth century British king]

= Annia, or Antonia, or Ancia, daughter of [the future] Roman Emperor Tiberius

04. Beli [Belus] [wrongly given the epithet "Magni" by a copyist who misidentified him with his ancestor, Beli Mawr, c 390BC], the brother of Bran "The Fisher-King", flourished early first century AD

= Anne, the so-called "cousin" of The Virgin Mary in ancient Welsh annals, however, Sophorius of Jerusalem, a Byzantine archivist, says she was Jesus’ half-sister (Mt. 13:56)

note: see the "Beli & Anne Pedigree"

05. Afallach [variations of the name include: Avallac & Aballac] [Aflech; Amalech; Ballad are corruptions of the name which became duplicates or doublets in some genealogical tracts]

=2 Athilda [her 2nd also], a British princess, and, widow of a Frankish chieftain

06. Eugen[us] [Eugein; Eougueb; Yvaine]

= Emerita, daughter of Old King Cole, King of Britain AD 95-154 (60 years)

07. Brwt [Brutus] [Brywlais, Brychwain, Britguenni/Brithguein, Brictogenios, Britannicus, etc., which are variants of the name found in surviving fragments of various early genealogical tracts compiled over time by different authors], the father of three sons:

(a) Cymryw [Cymryn];

(b) Difwng [Dwywg; Diwng; Dwfwn; Dyfwn; Dubun; Duvun; Duach] [Doug][Dubu]; &,

(c) Alafon (below)

08. Alafon [Lainus] [Lluan]

09. Annyn "ddv vrenin groec" (d196), his epithet says that in Roman service he was onetime governor of Greece

10. Dingad [Dingarth]

11. Cridol [Greidiol] "Galofydd", his epithet speaks of his role as an army-officer during the invasions of Roman Britain in Year 258

12. Keraint [Geraint]

13. Morurun [Meirian; Meryran; Morfran; Meirion]

14. Arch [Arthen]

15. Kait [Ceidio]

16. Serfyn [Secwyn]

17. Keri "Hir Lyngwyn", King of Esyllwg

18. Barar [Barruc; Barrwg; Berroc], gave name to Berkshire

19. Llyr "Llediaith", regional-king, added Wiltshire

20. Bran [St.] "Fendigaid" ["The Blessed"], regional-king

21. Cerdic of Hampshire, who possibly may be identified with Cerdic of Wessex

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

alternative-line E: ancestry of another Cerdic

Cerdic of Wessex has recently been identified by Geoffrey Ashe with one of King Arthur’s sons who bore that name. It is no surprise that Arthur would have given the name "Cerdic" to one of his sons, which was a very popular name among British royalty at that time, and would have given him an estate, which in this case was Wessex. In medieval romance we find that King Arthur, who had numerous mistresses, begot Cerdic of his mistress Ysave, wife of Taredd "Wledic", daughter of Cauritus (Cerdic), Duke/King of Gwent. This identification is based on the "ASC" 534 date of Cerdic’s death; for the Cerdic who died in 534 was King Arthur’s son, who was killed in his father’s [Arthur’s] 534 French campaign. If this identification is the correct one we would still have an alternative genealogy for Cerdic, however, it would not be through pre-Roman British kings [except through female-links] but through the Roman emperors, who were King Arthur’s male-line ancestors.

There is also the possibility that Cerdic of Wessex may have been as many as three contemporary persons who bore that name who successively held office as duke, ealdorman, or king of Wessex!?!, which would be another theory (below).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

alternative-theory: WHAT IF CERDIC OF WESSEX WERE THREE DIFFERENT PEOPLE?

year by year outline of the life of Cerdic of Wessex as if he were three different persons

part 1: CERDIC-I [the first Cerdic of Wessex]

473: Cerdic, son of St. Bran "The Blessed", was captured as a young child by a war-band of Saxons under the leadership of the future Aella of Sussex, during one of his pre-conquest raids, and that his father, St. Bran, gave himself as a hostage in exchange for his wife and son. This is the first time that Alesa, Aella’s brother, meets the British princess, Cywed, the mother of Cerdic. Bran is called “King of Britain” in medieval literature, but actually he was one of many regional-kings scattered throughout the British Isles, whose castle is identified as Castell Dinas Bran, at Llangollen, in Clywd, his estate, reigning under the overlordship of whoever was the high-king of Britain, who was called “King of Britain”. Aella’s raid on Britain in 473 appears to have been undertaken as part of imperial policy against the break-away province of Britain and its so-called "rebel king" [Uthyr "Pendragon"]; for the Saxons took their hostages to Rome, where they paraded them through the streets of Rome and before the Roman Emperor Julius Nepos, in a "triumph". St. Bran was a hostage in Rome for seven months [not "years"], for he was released that same year and returned to Britain carrying with him some holy relics he purchased from the Church of Rome, which had sunk to selling its relics, among which was the “True Cross”, which is mentioned in Welsh legends of the late fifth and sixth centuries.

475: St. Bran’s death in battle in Ireland, 3rd reign of Caswallawn II, 475-476

476: Caswallawn II expelled by Uthyr Pendragon

477: the “great Anglo-Saxon invasion”; Uthyr “Pendragon fights a desperate defense

478: the advance of the Anglo-Saxons is temporarily reversed by the tireless efforts of Uther Pendragon, King of Britain, and a truce is observed by both sides; meanwhile, civil war breaks out among Britons, with “the enemy at the gates”

479: Arthur conceived at Eastertide; King Uther Pendragon, his father, killed by Duke Gorlois’ men; interregnum; Amlawd "Wledic", id. with Anblaud "The Great", elected king by British nobles; he falls in battle; St. Votemachus suddenly drops dead on the news of the British defeat; and, the Saxon leader, Aella of Sussex, is crowned the first “barbarian” King of Britain [reckoned 1st A-S Bretwalda]. Arthur is born posthumously, 25 Dec., in a monastery where his mother had taken refuge, and almost immediately rumors began to spread among the Britons that an heir of their old royal house had survived the massacre.

the 480s: there is a Cerdic apparently a teenager who was either an hostage or a ward-of-the-state in Aella’s Castle. Aella held the children of the native British nobles hostage in his castle to insure the good behavior of their parents, among whom was a Cerdic.

493: the [1st] Battle of Badon Hill, in which the Saxons were defeated, Aella was killed in the battle fighting the Britons and their Gothio-Roman allies under Theodoric and Marcellus, who as military-governors made appointments, among which was appoint Cerdic of Wessex the "dux gewissorum".

495: Cerdic, who may have served in the provisional government as "Count of the Saxon Shore" (494) set up by St. Dubriticus, was expelled by Natlod "Wledic" [Nathanus "Laudatus"], called "Natanleod" in the "ASC", the King of Britain, and Cerdic went abroad and hired foreign mercenaries and returned with them to Britain to recover his estate.

501: Natlod “Wledic” was killed in battle at Netley Marsh, by Cerdic who claims the British throne; but he is challenged by Arthur.

504: either Cerdic expelled after a battle and lived abroad in exile, or the first person we identify as Cerdic of Wessex was killed in the battle [called Cheldric in the "HRB"]. Cerdic is masked by GM as three different characters in the "HRB"; as (a) Cheldric, who was Arthur’s foe at the Battle of Bath in 504; (b) Chelric, who appears as Mordred’s ally against Arthur in his rebellion in 537, while Arthur was overseas; and (c) Keredic, who appears as King of Britain, 538/9-540, as the sixth in quick succession from Arthur.

508: Cerdic returns to Britain; wins a battle and slays 5000 men, according to the "ASC", and, also their commander, Ystadder; but is again expelled by Arthur.

514: Cerdic returns to Britain, while Arthur was overseas, with a private army of foreign mercenaries, under their own leaders, Stuf and Uhtgar; defeated and slew Theodoric “The Elder”, who was Arthur’s army-commander, in the Battle of Charford, and reclaimed the British throne, and reigned a second-time as King of Britain.

517: After numerous delays Arthur finally returned to Britain and began campaigning to recover his kingdom. He defeated all his enemies, disaffected Britons who supported the rival heir, Cerdic, and the barbarians under their own leaders, who had all joined forces against him, at the "2nd" Battle of Badon Hill [or Mount Badon].

part 2: CERDIC-II [the 2nd of three persons called Cerdic of Wessex]

519: Arthur gives Cerdic the estate of Wessex, which he raised in rank from an earldom to a kingdom, recorded in the "Polychronicon" which is an entirely different origin-story for Wessex. The question here is the identity of this Cerdic, who may have been Arthur's son.

521: the tale that Cerdic, called one of Arthur’s “three most favorite” knights, was defeated and wounded in a joust by Brannor, but recovers. There were at least three contemporary persons who bore the name Cerdic.

526: the “ASC” says that Cerdic won a battle against the Britons, but this statement is misleading; for it does not tell us that Cerdic’s men were also Britons. This is actually a reference to the battle against Lancelot, who had rescued Guinevere from the stake. It appears that this Cerdic is fighting “for” Arthur. However, Lancelot escapes with Guinevere to his castle in France.

531: Cerdic expelled Hadugat and his war-band of Thuringians [formerly in his hire] from the Isle of Wight which he gave to another group of mercenaries in his hire, these, however, were Jutes, whose chief Uhtgar, founded a barbarian-kingdom in the Isle of Wight and was its first king.

534: Cerdic, the son of King Arthur, and, also, one of his father’s generals, during his father’s French campaign, was killed in the battle his father won fighting Thierry I of Metz, who also fell in the battle. However, was he Cerdic of Wessex? This is the death date the "ASC" gives, which may serve to identify this Cerdic with King Arthur's son.

part 3: CERDIC-III [the third Cerdic of Wessex]

538: Cerdic renewed his old claim to the British throne after Arthur’s passing, that is, identifying Cerdic of Wessex with "Keredic" in the "HRB", and, after much difficulty obtained the British throne, overthrowing Maelgwn "Hir", and reigned a third time, numbered sixth in succession from King Arthur in "HRB". Cerdic disbands the remnant of what had been Arthur’s “Grand Army”, so that the only standing army in Britain would be his own private army of foreign “Saxon” mercenaries, which proved to be a mistake.

539: Cerdic is rebuked by St. Gildas for bring hordes of "Saxons" into the country, and for permitting them to practice their pagan religion, for which Cerdic banished the saint; and, while in exile, St. Gildas wrote his "De Excidio".

540: Cerdic, GM’s Keredic, was the British king who lost Britain to the Saxons, for his private army of Saxon mercenaries revolted against him and drove him from his kingdom. Cerdic rallied the Britons and fought the mutinous Saxon mercenaries. This squares with a reference in medieval literature which says of Cerdic that he “was present and took part in the fighting of the Saxons”. This was happening in Britain at the time of the great invasion of Britain by a huge horde of other barbarians, the Vandals [called "Africans" in the "HRB"], who came from the Roman/Byzantine province of North Africa in the employ of the empire. The Roman/Byzantine Emperor Justinian "The Great" waged a great campaign to recover the western provinces for the empire, which would have included Britain. Cerdic was defeated in every major battle by the barbarians. He made a last stand at Circencester and was decisively defeated by Gormund, the Vandal leader, 20 June 540, and was chased across the Severn into the mountains of Wales, where the remnants of his forces gathered around him, as well as numerous civilian refugees. Cerdic planned a counter-offensive, which took place early spring of Year 541, but it appears that he was murdered shortly before, during late winter 540/541, by his predecessor whom he had earlier usurped, namely, the ex-king Malgo of Venedotia [Maelgwn Gwynedd], who doubtless sought vengeance against Cerdic during his waning political fortune, and took the opportunity to regain power. The "HRB" says that an interregnum followed Cerdic’s death. Tradition says that Cerdic was buried in "Cerdic’s Barrow" at Stoke, near Hurstbourne, Hampshire, however, that may be referring to his ancestor and namesake the first-century AD British patriot-king Caratacus [i.e., Cerdic I]?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

references: Chadwick, Hector M. The Origin of the English Nation. Cambridge UP (1924);Coates, R. On some controversy surrounding Gweissae/Gewissei, Cerdic, "Nomina", vol. 13 (1989-90), pp 1-11;Higden, Ranulf. Polychronicon. 9 vols. Ed. by Churchill Babington & J.R. Lumby. Tr. by John Trevisa. Kraus Reprint Co. (1964);Kirby, D.P. Problems of Early West Saxon History, in "English Historical Review", vol. LXXX (1965) pp 10-29;Laing, Lloyd R. (ed). Studies in Celtic Survival. British Archaeological Reports, # 37. Tempvs Reparatvm (1977); Peate, David. West Saxons from Powys: A Hypothesis (1997); Sisam, Kenneth. Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies, in "Proceedings of the British Academy", vol. XXXIX (1953) pp 287-348; Wade-Evans, Arthur W. The Emergence of England and Wales. W. Heffer & Sons (1959);Wheeler, G.H. The Genealogy of the Early West Saxon Kings, in "English Historical Review", vol. 36 (1921) pp 161-171.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Hughes, 2001, RdavidH218@AOL.com, genealogical-charts available