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Post-Roman Britain

Southern Britain's Lost Kingdoms

by Peter Kessler, 1 April 1999. Updated 14 February 2007



Part 7: Lost Kings

As can be seen in the previous sections, there were many far less well-attested British kingdoms which almost certainly existed for a time in central and southern Britain.

However while there are many kingdoms or territories which do not always have kings to go with them, occasionally there are also records of kings or chieftains who cannot be positively identified with any particular kingdom.

St Germanus, soon after his second landing in Britain in the 440s, met a British leader named as Elaf (Elaphius - Bede, A History of the English Church and People, ch.21). He may have ruled the area around Caer Gwinntguic (Roman Venta, now Winchester in Hampshire).

A second possible king is Nudd, who may well have been the King Natan or Natanlaod killed by Cerdic in 508 at the Battle of Netley (Natanleag). This area covers the western side of the Southampton Water, placing it firmly in Caer Gwinntguic's proposed borders once again.

Caer Celemion (from Roman Calleva, modern Silchester in Hampshire) was certainly a centre of resistance by the British, as indicated by protective dykes that surround its northern borders. Legends exist of a giant named Onion living there. This indicates a potential leader, or king, called Einion. The appellation of "giant" could equate a strong or particularly tough warrior, appropriate for a British enclave that held out, almost entirely isolated, until the seventh century.

Part 1: Intro
Part 2: Cynwidion & Pengwern
Part 3: Gloui, Dumnonia, & Ceint
Part 4: Celemion & Colun
Part 5: Gwinntguic, Lerion, Lundein, & Went
Part 6: Linnius, Rhegin, & Weith
Part 7: Lost Kings
In Depth


Text copyright © P L Kessler, from various notes and sources. An original feature for the History Files.