Sunday, July 15, 2018


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). 

Saturday, July 14, 2018


West and East Wittering, West Sussex, England 

In previous blog posts I've talked a little about possible locations for the Cymenesora (Cymen's shore) mentioned in the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE and in some later medieval charters.  In these last, the shore is at or near Wittering in West Sussex.  There is the possibility that Arthur's Camlann (Crooked shore) might be a Welsh attempt at rendering this English place-name.  However, I've also shown that The Cams on Portsmouth Harbour would more closely match the actually meaning of Camlann.

Here I wish to address my idea for an etymology for Cymen, one which will allow us finally to pinpoint this shore on the map.

Wittering is derived from a personal name Wihthere, plus the usual -ingas suffix for the region belonging to 'Wihthere's people.'  Now, ordinarily one would interpret Wihthere as 'wight-army/host', in a literal sense.  However, given the fact that Wittering is coastal and directly faces the Isle of Wight across The Solent - Wight being Wiht in Old English - it is tempting to see in Wihthere a sort of artificial construction meaning '[Isle of] Wight-host.'  

In the ASC, Cerdic and Cynric give the Isle of Wight to their nefan Stuf and Wihtgar.  Stuf is the eponym for Stubbington just across The Solent in Hampshire, while Wihtgar is a corruption of Wihtwara, the 'men of Wight.'  

I've remarked before that Cymen is otherwise unattested as an English personal name.  Furthermore, there are several demonstrable Celtic names present in the early part of the ASC, most notably those belonging to the Gewissei (descendants of Cerdic).  It is for these reasons that I would relate Cymen to Welsh cyman, a word first found attested in the 9th century.  From Alexander Faileyev's ETYMOLOGICAL GLOSSARY OF OLD WELSH:

And from the GPC:


[cym-+?man(n) (fel yn y S. man), cf. Gwydd. commann ‘cymdeithas, cwmni’, cummann ‘cyfeillach’] 

?eb. ac a.

Llu, tyrfa, cynulliad, cwmni, cymdeithas; teulu, llu mewn brwydr; brwydr, cyfranc; coflys, math o lys cofnodion:

throng, host, assembly, company, society; bodyguard, battle-host; battle, encounter; tourn.

This word - not a personal name - should be related to the -here of the "name" Wihthere.  From Bosworth and Toller:

HERE; gen. heres, heriges, herges; m. An army, a host, multitude, a large predatory band [it is the word which in the Chronicle is always used of the Danish force in England, while the Egglish troops are always the fyrd], hence the word is used for devastation and robbery :-- Ne dohte hit nú lange inne né úte ac wæs here and hunger bryne and blódgyte it is now long since matters were thriving at home or abroad, but there has been ravaging and famine, burning and bloodshed, Swt. A. S. Rdr. 106, 68. Micel here turba multa, Mt. Kmbl. Lind. 14, 14. Here legio, Lk. Skt. Lind. 8, 30: exercitus, 23, 11. Þeófas wé hátaþ óð vii

men from vii. hlóþ óð xxxv siððan biþ here up to seven men we call thieves, from seven to thirty-five a gang, after that it is an army, L. In. 13; Th. i. 110, 14. [Cf. L. In. 15; Th. i. 112, 1, be herige; and L. Alf. 28; Th. i. 52, 2.] Hé gearo wæ-acute;re tó ðæs heres þearfe he would be ready to supply the needs of the Danes, Chr. 874; Erl. 76, 32: 878; Erl. 80, 3. Ðæs heriges hám eft ne com æ-acute;nig tó láfe of that host came no remnant back home, Cd. 167; Th. 209, 30; Exod. 507: Elen. Kmbl. 410; El. 205. Herges, 285; El. 143. On Eást-Englum wurdon monige men ofslægene from ðam herige in East Anglia many men were slain by the Danes, Chr. 838; Erl. 66, 15: Andr. Kmbl. 2397; An. 1200. Herge, Cd. 4; Th. 4, 9; Gen. 51: Beo. Th. 2500; B. 1248. Se ðæm here waldeþ who rules that host, Bt. Met. Fox 25, 30; Met. 25, 15. Sió fierd ðone here gefliémde the English force put the Danish to flight, Chr. 894; Erl. 90, 26. Swá oft swá ða óðre hergas mid ealle herige út fóron ðonne fóron hie as often as the other armies marched out in full force then they marched, Erl. 90, 5. Tuelf hergas duodecim legiones, Mt. Kmbl. Lind. 26, 53. Hergia[s] agmina, Rtl. 115, 10. Ðý læs æ-acute;fre cweðan óðre þeóda hæ-acute;ðene herigeas nequando dicant in gentibus, Ps. Th. 78, 10: Andr. Kmbl. 1304; An. 652. Herigea mæ-acute;ste with the greatest of hosts, 3001; An. 1503. Herega, Cd. 209; Th. 259, 29; Dan. 699. Heriga, Elen. Kmbl. 295; El. 148. Herga, 230; El. 115. Betwuh ðæ-acute;m twám hergum between the two armies, Chr. 894; Erl. 90, 9: Elen. Kmbl. 219; El. 110. Herigum, 811; El. 406. [Laym. Orm. here: Goth. harjis. O. Sax. heri: O. Frs. hiri, here: Icel. herr: O. H. Ger. hari, heri exercitus, agmen: Ger. heer.] DER. æsc-, égor-, flot-, forþ-, gúþ-, inn-, ísern-, sin-, scip-, þeód-, út-, wæl-here.

If I'm right, then the Cymenesora thought to be at or near Wittering actually IS Wittering.  In other words, cyman (= Cymen) is the British version of here (or here is the English version of cyman!), and the shore in question is that of Wihthere's people.

I should add that according to the ASC Aelle and his sons "ofslogon monige Wealas"/slew many Welsh at Cymenesora.  It is conceivable, therefore, that the cyman/'host' being referred to was a British army and and not an English one.

The question I will address in my next post is whether Cymenesora could have been corrupted into Camlann, or whether we should instead opt for The Cams on Portsmouth Harbour.   

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Aerial Photo of Cams Hall Estate Golf Course

My identification for Arthur's and Modred's 'Camlann', the Crooked Shore, is The Cams in Hampshire on Portsmouth Harbour.  However, when I first made this discovery, I knew little about the actual geography (see  This blog post is intended to make up for that deficiency.

I found Cams mentioned at this excellent Website:

"Fareham Harbour, formed by a long broad inlet called the Cams..."

'The Cams', as they were called, stretch from Cams Bay in the southeast to Cams Lodges in the northwest.  In other words, the  camas/cemais, 'bend or loop in a river, inlet of sea, bay', was the entire waterway that surrounded the Cams peninsula.  The maximum extent was generally measured as beginning at Cams Bay just on the other side of Wicor Lake and ending at Wallington River.

Nowadays, this inlet is called Fareham Creek, ending in Fareham Lake south and east of Wicor Lake.

Cams Shore is used to describe the entire shore around the peninsula (information courtesy Chris Mallin, Administration and Support Officer, Fareham Borough Council).

The following early Ordnance Survey maps show the various Cams place-names:

NOTE: Having read Charters of Selsey by Susan E. Kelly, British Academy, 1998, I'm convinced that Cymenesora was, indeed, located near the Selsey Bill.  While it is tempting to link this to Camlann (for the reasons I've previously expressed), we can only do so by assuming a gross error in rendering the former English name into the later Welsh name.  I think it is more likely that Camlann, the Crooked Shore, is a reference to The Cams.  Still, it is not impossible that the two place-names somehow became confused with one another in the tradition.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Maegla of the 'Portsmouth' Battle in 501 A.D.

Ordnance Survey Map of Hampshire & Isle of Wight LXXV.SW (includes: Alverstoke; Fareham.) Revised: 1895
Published: 1898
[Note Bedenham Farm, Upper and Lower Bedenham and Bedenham Lake]

Readers of my previous blog posts will recall that I identified Arthur's 'Badon' with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle battle of 501 A.D.  I did this because that battle, featuring a Bieda (= Beda, Baeda), was fought between two Cerdic battles.  Cerdic (= Ceredig son of Cunedda) is my candidate for Arthur.

I theorized that the name later became confused in tradition with that of Bath, a battle in which Ceawlin (= Macui-coline/Cunedda) participated.  Despite many arguments in favor of a Baddan- site, linguistically Badon can only represent a British spelling of Old English Bathum.

Here I wish to briefly examine Bieda's supposed brother, Maegla.  It has long been suspected that the latter represents a Welsh mael, 'lord, prince, chieftain.'  For the etymology of mael, here is the entry from Matasovic's AN ETYMOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF PROTO-CELTIC:

*maglo- 'noble, chief [Noun]
GOlD: Olr. mal [0 m], Ogam CUNA-MAGLI
W: MW mael [m] 'chieftain, lord'; MW -mael, -fael (in PN) (e.g. Brochfael
< *Brocco-maglos);
BRET: MBret. -mael (in PN, e.g. Tiernmael)
GAUL: Magalos, -maglus [PN]
PIE: *megh2- 'great' (IEW: 709)
COGN: Gr. megas, Go. mikils
ETYM: If the etymology is correc~ the a-vocalism in Celtic should be
explained by Schrijver's rule (*mCvolce-d > *maCvOIce-)d, but this rule is not
beyond doubt. Gaul. Maga/os, if related, might represent PIE *mgh2-lo- with
the expected vocalization of the laryngeal (which was, for some reason, lost
in Insular Celtic and in Gaul. -mag/us).
REF: LEIA M-13, GPC III: 2305, Delamarre 213, Ziegler 1994: 112.

What I had missed in the past was confirmation of this possibility, built into the very text of the ASC itself.

Year entry 501 tells us "ofslogon anne giongne brettiscmonnan, swiþe ęþelne monnan." That is, Port (an eponym for Portsmouth), Bieda and Maegla "slew a young British man, [who was] a very noble man."

It is now fairly obvious to me that the 'very noble man' in question is none other than Maegla/Mael himself. In other words, at some point the tradition became confused.  Maegla, the young and very noble British man, was wrongly converted into one of the parties who slew that very man. 

I have found the following history of Bedenham, named for Bieda, at

BEDENHAM (Bedeham, xiii cent.; Badeham, xiv cent.; Bednam, xvi cent.) gives its name to three farms which lie on a broad peninsula to the north of Gosport, at the head of Portsmouth Harbour, where it is joined by the estuary of the Wallington River. Here as elsewhere in the parish the land is level and the chief feature is the wide expanse of the harbour, with Portchester Castle as its most conspicuous landmark. Beyond Bedenham Farm are the Foxbury Brick and Tile Works.

¶Bedenham was evidently originally parcel of the manor of Alverstoke, but was held in 1303 by John de Drokensford, Keeper of the Wardrobe, who was consecrated bishop of Bath and Wells in 1308. The manor of Bedenham was held of the bishop of Winchester, (fn. 21) and is possibly identical with the half hide at Alverstoke held before the Conquest by Sawin and in 1086 by a certain knight. (fn. 22) In 1303 John de Drokensford granted the manor together with the advowson of Bedenham church to Roger Lanceleue for life with reversion to John and his heirs. (fn. 23) By 1316 it had reverted to John, who died 9 May, 1329, (fn. 24) leaving a brother and heir, Philip de Drokensford, then aged forty. (fn. 25) He twice obtained licence for the celebration of divine service in the oratory of his house at Bedenham in Alverstoke, (fn. 26) a fact which favours the possibility that the 'church' granted with the manor to Roger Lanceleue was no more than a private chapel attached to the manor-house. Philip de Drokensford died in 1356 and is said to have been succeeded by a son and heir John. (fn. 27) In 1370 Margaret, then wife of Maurice le Brun, was holding the manor of Bedenham in dower, perhaps as widow of Philip of Drokensford, of the inheritance of Margaret, then wife of Walter Mildecombe. Walter and Margaret then granted it for life to Maurice le Brun. (fn. 28) Later a moiety of the manor was in the possession of Margaret, granddaughter of Philip de Drokensford. (fn. 29) Her husband, Peter Courtenay, held a moiety of the manor in her right at his death in 1404, (fn. 30) but she survived him and her lands descended to her daughter Elizabeth by a former husband, Sir John de St. Lo. (fn. 31) Elizabeth married Sir William Botreux, on whom the moiety of Bedenham was settled in 1417. (fn. 32) Their son and heir Sir William Botreux, knight, held the whole manor jointly with his wife Margaret at the time of his death in 1462. (fn. 33) The latter, with her second husband Thomas Burgh, conveyed it in 1464 to certain feoffees, (fn. 34) probably in trust, for a moiety was purchased from Margaret Hungerford, daughter and heir of Sir William Botreux, by Robert White of Farnham. (fn. 35) After the death of his son John the possession of this moiety was disputed by Robert and Richard White, sons of John, since Richard, the younger son, claimed that it should descend to him according to the terms of the will of his grandfather Robert. (fn. 36) The termination of this quarrel is unknown, but in 1535 Henry White died seised of a moiety of the manor, leaving a son and heir Robert, (fn. 37) who settled it in 1546 on Agnes wife of Richard Bennett. (fn. 38) She conveyed it to her daughter Margaret Tichborne, at whose death it reverted to John Marriner, son and heir of Agnes. (fn. 39) John died in 1593, (fn. 40) and his son and heir Peter Marriner together with his wife Dorothy purchased the other moiety from Robert White. (fn. 41) The whole manor thus reunited was bequeathed by Peter Marriner to his only daughter and heir, Mabel wife of Edmund Plowden, who was aged seventeen at her father's death in March, 1613–14. (fn. 42) Within a few years she had parted with it, for in 1624 Robert Bold of Portsea was in possession of it. (fn. 43) In 1628 his son William Bold conveyed the manor to his kinsman John Mason, (fn. 44) in whose family it remained until 1654, when Robert Tufton otherwise Mason and Anne Gibbon widow were dealing with it, (fn. 45) probably for purposes of sale. Before 1683 it was devided into the two farms of Upper and Lower Bedenham. The 'manor' was settled by Thomas Beverley on his son Thomas and the latter's wife Anne in 1713. (fn. 46) This Anne survived her husband and was in possession in 1729, (fn. 47) after which it appears to have been inherited by coheiresses, Anne wife of John Bonham Smith and Susannah wife of John Carter. (fn. 48) Fanny wife of Daniel Carter Hobbs quitclaimed a third of the manor to Anne Bonham in 1782. (fn. 49) Upper Bedenham was bequeathed by Owen Bird to James White of Portsmouth in 1766. In 1774 he bequeathed it to Sir John Carter, who in 1808 held one-sixth, while his son John Bonham Carter had the remaining five-sixths. Lower Bedenham had been mortgaged by Andrew Wall in 1683 and in 1779 was conveyed by James Stares to Sir John Carter. His heirs sold both farms to Mr. Henry Stares in 1868. He conveyed them to Mr. Woodman Hill, from whom they were purchased in 1904 by Mr. Montague Foster of Stubbington House. (fn. 50)

Monday, July 9, 2018


I've long thought the Wallop battle of Ambrosius and Vitalinus may have happened at the Danebury Ring hillfort.

Recent archaeological evidence may support this possibility.  The following selection is from

An educational video on the fort can be found here:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Framework of New Book Completed

I've completed a sort of preliminary rough draft of the following new title:

Now the really hard work begins... hanging flesh on the bones.

Cover Photo Copyright

Friday, June 29, 2018


Okay... I've been threatening to return to fiction writing FOR YEARS. Partly, life just got in the way, as it often does. But I also held off for another, rather strange reason: I was not satisfied that I had concluded my theoretical work on Arthur. Now that I am, I feel confident in my ability to move in a new and exciting direction.

Of course, because who I believe Arthur to have been has changed dramatically since I first conceived of the Dark Avalon Books, there will be changes to my general approach to the series and the contents will also be quite different from my original vision.

Still, I have republished the somewhat obsolete Dark Avalon Books page for information purposes. As soon as I have completed and published THE KING OF STONEHENGE: MODRED AND THE DEFENSE OF DARK AGE BRITAIN, I will begin work on my first Arthurian novella.