The Southampton Water Owers, Shown With
Stubbington, Bedenham and The Cams
The Cams in Relation to Cymenesora/Wittering
So, two candidates for Arthur's Camlan battle: the ASC's Cymenesora (Wittering) or The Cams on Portsmouth Harbour. Which one is the right site?
I believe the answer lies in the ASC, There, we learn that Cerdic makes it no further north into Hampshire than Charford on the Avon. After that, his actions are confined to thew Isle of Wight. It seems unlikely that he had consolidated some kind of conquest in the Avon Valley. Instead, the withdrawal to Wight might have been the result of his being driven out of Hampshire. A clue that this may have been the case is the battle of his nefan Stuf and Wihtgar at Cerdicesora in 514. Cerdicesora, named for Cerdic, was the first battle site of Cerdic and his son, Cynric, in 495.
Notice that The Cams are quite close to not only Stubbington, but also to Bedenham. The latter is named for the Bieda (= Beda, Baeda) who takes part in the ASC battle of 501 (the original 'Badon' of Arthur, before it became confused with Bath of ASC A.D. 577).
Clearly, renewed efforts were having to be made to once again penetrate into the interior of the mainland. The second Cerdicesora battle seems not to have been successful. We can surmise, then, that once Wight was secured beyond any doubt, Cerdic tried once again to move north into what had once been the Belgic kingdom of the Atrebates. It does not make sense for him to have sought success in West Sussex, i.e. at Wittering/Cymenesora.
Instead, he chose to go to the next harbour immediately to the east of Southampton Water. This was still in what is now Hampshire. Cymenesora/Wittering was the scene of a significant battle precisely because it represented the furthermost western extent of the Kingdom of Sussex. The boundaries of primitive Sussex were traditionally drawn by the battles listed in the ASC. These occur at Wittering in the extreme west, at Lancing in the south-central, at the River Rother (British Limes, mistakenly associated with Latin limes and thus called Mearcredsburna by the Saxons) in the north and at Pevensey in the east. There is simply no justification for placing Cerdic in this region.
Unfortunately, things did not go well for Cerdic in his attempt to establish a beachhead at The Cams. He met his death there at the hands of Modred of Amesbury (see prior blog posts and my upcoming book THE KING OF STONEHENGE).