Friday, January 6, 2017


Dyrham Camp hillfort, Hinton Hill, South Gloucestershire

In my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, I demonstrated that Ceawlin of the Gewessei was one of the names the great Cunedda went by. Also presented in that work was my observation that the genealogy of Cunedda and his sons had undergone a curious reversal in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. As I've recently identified Cunedda as Uther Pendragon, and his son Ceredig as Arthur, the ASC's year entry for 577 is of remarkable interest.  

In this year the English under Ceawlin defeated the British at Deorham, modern Dyrham in South Gloucestershire, where there is a hillfort now called Hinton Hill.  As a result of this victory, Ceawlin took the British cities of Gloucester, Cirencester and Bath.  Bath is, of course, Arthur's Badon, a battle the Welsh Annals places around 516 A.D.

One of the British kings who fell in the Battle of Deorham is named Conmail.  As Dyrham is very near Nettleton Shrub - in fact, only several kilometers distant - and both sites are only a few miles from Bath, I take this Conmail to either be the god Apollo Cunomaglos, whose shrine was at Nettleton Shrub or a local chieftain who had assumed the name of the god.  Of Conmail I will have more to say in my upcoming piece "Bladud and the Founding of Bath."  As Dyrham is on an escarpment of the Cotswolds, which were named for the Celtic goddess Cuda, is it probable that Cuthwine, the son of Ceawlin according to the ASC, is "Cuda's friend" (wine meaning 'friend' in Old English). Cf. Cutha son of, variously, Ceawlin or Cynric (Cynric = Cunorix son of Maquicoline/Ceawlin), and the name Cuthwulf.  Cutha is generally taken as a hypocoristic name, but I would make the case for all of these names originating with Cuda.   [NOTE: in 556 Ceawlin is said to have fought at Barbury hillfort in Wiltshire.  This is either the Fort of the Bear or, according to Ekwall, the Fort of a man called Bear.  I've made the case before that this 'bear' is a reference to Arthur, whose name could be connected with the Welsh word arth. 'bear.']

There is no way to reconcile the dates of Arthur's presence at Bath (Little Solsbury Hill) with that given for Ceawlin at Dyrham.  But the presence of the Gewessei here points to my latest identification of Ceredig's/Arthur's battles in the region as most likely being correct.  If Arthur were fighting along a line from the sites in Hampshire to those at Bath, Bitton (Trajectus/Tribruit) and Caerleon (urbs legionis), and he was based in NW Wales, the enemy was the British kingdom of Dumnonia and the English were considered allies in this conflict.  

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