Saturday, June 24, 2017

COMING SOON: The Introduction to My New Book 'The Bear King: Arthur and the Irish in Wales and Southern England'

I've decided to post as separate blog entries new chapters to my book as they are created.  When the book is done and everything has been posted here, I will only then self-publish the title on CreateSpace and Kindle.  This allows me the luxury of taking my time in the production of the book, and relieves me of all other stressors. It also ensures that readers of my blog will get a first look at what I believe will be the most definitive treatment of a historical Arthur candidate ever undertaken.

I'm not exactly sure when the first installment will be made.  Please be patient, as life always seems to get in the way of such endeavors.  But I promise that if Fortune or the goddesses of Avalon allow, this book WILL GET DONE.  And anyone who has stuck with me thus far will benefit from the effort.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My 'The Arthur of History' Book

This blog has to do with the possibility of historical King Arthur. Dig down deep enough into older posts here and you will find my published book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY arranged in free chapters. Kindly note that since writing it, I have departed from much of the theory presented in that title. But I feel there is still enough of value in it to leave it posted. Thank you for your continued interest in my work.

My 'Secrets of Avalon' Blog

For those of you more inclined towards the mythological aspects of Arthuriana, please see my other blog I will no longer be double-posting material there. If you go back far enough, my entire published book THE MYSTERIES OF AVALON can be found arranged in free chapters. Thank you again for your interest!

The Origin of the Tribal Designation Gewissei


Quite a few years ago now Dr. Richard Coates clarified the etymological origin of the tribal name Gewissei or Gewissae.  He linked the name, correctly, to Old English ge-wis.  Here are the listings for the proper name Gewis (itself concocted from the word) and ge-wis from the Bosworth and Toller dictionary:

Gewis, Giwis, es; m. Gewis, the great grandfather of Cerdic :-- Se Cerdic wæs Elesing, Elesa Esling, Esla Gewising, Gewis Wiging Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa the son of Esla, Elsa the son of Gewis, Gewis the son of Wig, Chr. 495; Erl. 2, 5: 597; Erl. 20, 7. Giwis, 552; Erl. 16, 19. According to Asset it was from this name that the term Gevissæ, applied by Bede to the West Saxons, was derived. 'Gewis, a quo Britone totam illam gentem Gegwis nominant,' see Grmm. Gesch. D. S. 458. For the use by Bede, see Bd. 3, 7-'Gens Occidentalium Saxonum qui antiquitus Gevissæ vocabantur ... primum Gevissorum gentem ingrediens,' where the translation has 'West Seaxna þeód ... Ðá com he æ-acute;rest upp on West Seaxum.' See also 4, 15, 16. Smith's note on the word is 'Gevissæ. Saxonicum est pro Occidentalium. Sic Visigothi præposita tantum Saxonica expletiva Ge.' See Thorpe's Lappenberg i. 109, note.

ge-wis, -wiss; adj. Certain, sure, knowing, foreknowing; certus :-- Gewis be heora gerihtnesse certus de illorum correctione, Bd. 5, 22; S. 644, 45. Ðæt is gesægd ðæt he wæ-acute;re gewis his sylfes forþfóre qui præscius sui obitus exstitisse videtur, 4, 24; S. 599, 14. Wite ðæt érest gewiss ðæt ðæt mód byþ ðære sáwle æ-acute;ge know first that as certain, that the mind is the soul's eye, Shrn. 178, 2. Gewis is constat, Hpt. Gl. 419. Ða úþwitan ðe sæ-acute;don ðæt næ-acute;fre nán wiht gewisses næ-acute;re búton twæónunga the philosophers that said that there was no certainty without doubt, Shrn. 174, 25. Swá litel gewis funden found so little certain, Bt. 41, 4; Fox 250, 20. Gewis andgit intelligence, 5; Fox 252, 20, 30. We syndon gewisse ðínes lífes we are acquainted with thy life, Guthl. 5; Gdwin. 30, 18. He hí gewisse gedyde and gelæ-acute;rde be ingonge ðæs écan ríces de ingressu regni æterni certos reddidit, Bd. 4, 16; S. 584, 35. On gewissum tídum at certain times, R. Ben. interl. 48. Of gewissum intingan of certain causes, R. Ben. interl. 63. Myd gewyssum gesceáde with certain reason, wherefore; propter certam rationem, quapropter, Nicod. 3; Thw. 2, 6. [O. H. Ger. giwis: Ger. gewiss certus.]

It has been thought (including by the present author) that the term was meant to be a way of distinguishing "good" Britons from "bad", the bad ones being, of course, the wealas or Welsh.  Your enemy is a foreigner and strange to you.  Your friend or ally is known and you can be sure and certain of him.

But I've just had cause to wonder whether there might be more behind the Gewissei name - as well as the Cuth- names who are first brought into connection with Ceawlin/Cunedda in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  I long ago made a case for the Cuth- names being for the goddess Cuda of the Cotswolds. 

Her Ceaulin 7 Cuþa gefuhton wiþ Ęþelbryht. 7 hine in Cent gefliemdon, 7 tuegen aldormen on Wibban dune ofslogon, Oslaf 7 Cnebban.

Her Cuþwulf feaht wiþ Bretwalas æt Bedcan forda. 7 .iiii. tunas genom, Lygeanburg. 7 Ægelesburg. Benningtun. 7 Egonesham. 7 þy ilcan geare he gefor.

Her Cuþwine 7 Ceawlin fuhton wiþ Brettas, 7 hie .iii. kyningas ofslogon, Coinmail, 7 Condidan, 7 Farinmail, in þære stowe þe is gecueden Deorham. 7 genamon .iii. ceastro Gleawanceaster, 7 Cirenceaster, 7 Baþanceaster.

hand8: Her Mauricius feng to Romana rice.

Her Ceawlin 7 Cuþa fuhton wiþ Brettas, in þam stede þe mon nemneþ Feþanleag. 7 Cuþan mon ofslog. 7 Ceaulin monige tunas genom, 7 unarimedlice herereaf, 7 ierre he hwearf þonan to his agnum.

However, this may be wrong.  Cunedda/Cunedag /Kynadaf (Cunedaf) of Welsh tradition owes his name to the Irish Chuinnedha, also spelled Cuindedha, Cunnid, Cuinnid.  Let us bear this in mind as we look at Old English cunnan in the following chart:
ConjugationPronoun"own""know""be useful""dare"
tō āgennetō cunnennetō dugennetō durrenne
Present participleāgendecunnendedugendedurrende
Present indicative
Present subjunctiveiċ/þū/hē/hit/hēoāgecunnedugedurre
Past indicativeāhtecūþedohtedorste
Past subjunctiveiċ/þū/hē/hit/hēoāhtecūþedohtedorste
Past participle(ġe)āgencunnen / (ġe)cūþdugendorren

Suppose this happened: the name Cunedda/Chuinnedha, regardless of its meaning in Irish or Welsh, was intrepreted by the early English as being related to their own word cunnan, which has forms such as cunnaþ. And that the Cuth- names themselves should be derived not from the goddess Cuda, but from a spelling like cūþe.  

If so - and I realize this is highly speculative - we might suppose that the term Gewissei came about as a way of identifying the descendants of Cunedda.  In other words, the Sure or Certain or Knowing Ones were those belonging to the teulu of a man whose name the English believed meant something akin to the Known One.  

What it All Means or the Arthur-Ceredig Paradigm

I've been asked a simple question that is not at all simple to answer: if Arthur's (= Cerdic's/Ceredig's) battles are all those of the Gewissei and are to be found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, what do we make of Chapter 56 in the Historia Brittonum?

The work ascribed to the monk Nennius claims that Arthur fought against the English with the kings of the Britons, 'but he was their leader in battle,' 'He was victorious in all his campaigns.' There is the implication in the first paragraph of the chapter that Arthur's English foes were specifically the Kentishmen.

This account, which spawned the heroic myth of Arthur, is directly at odds with what we are told in the ASC.  There Cerdic, properly the son of Ceawlin (= Maquicoline/Cunedda) or a member of Ceawlin's teulu, is Irish or, possibly, Hiberno-British.  He is fighting for or with the English against other Britons in southern and central England.  At the same time, he had established himself at the Afon Arth in Ceredigion on the west coast of Wales, probably as a sort of de facto federate of whoever was the over-king in Wales at the time.  We know this kind of relationship existed because we have the stone of Cunorix son of Maquicoline/Cunedda, the Cynric of the ASC, at Wroxeter/Viroconium.  Vortigern himself, as I've shown elsewhere, was of mixed Irish and British descent.

Clearly, what was happening in Britain during the Age of Arthur was a great deal more complicated than what the storytellers would have us believe!  This is the way real history plays out, as opposed to the traditional history we often choose to embrace.

Vortigern was reviled for bringing in Saxons to use as mercenaries against his various enemies.  But, in reality, the famous Arthur was merely an example of the extension of Vortigern's policy. For not only were Saxon federates employed, in typical Roman fashion.  So, too, were Irish warriors.  The Irish had come to dominate the political landscape in much of Wales, forming kingdoms all along the coastal districts.  Eventually, although they were thoroughly assimilated by the native population, they came to control central Wales and made themselves into the most powerful of the Welsh princes.

What Arthur/Cerdic did, then, perhaps inadvertently, during the push to extend Welsh influence or control to the east and south, was help form the nascent kingdom of Wessex. His foes were not Englishmen, but Britons, enemies of those who ruled in Wales.  The Gewessei seem to have targeted frontier zones to the south, north and west of what came to be the nucleus of Wessex.  We do not see them fighting in the east.  Why? We must presume that the Saxons themselves already held that quarter, i.e. the services of Cunedda's mercenaries were not required there.

So effective proved the Gewessei that they came to be seen as the founders of Wessex.

Now, granted, there is another possibility and I cannot conclude this post without bringing it up.  That is simply that the author of the Historia Brittonum completely made up Arthur and stole battles from the ASC to invent his British hero.  I must admit to being somewhat agnostic on this point.  Like most people, I want to believe in Arthur, even if he is not the Arthur we have come to know and love through countless works of fiction from the earliest period to the present day.

Yet what I can say is this: there is no reason to doubt that the name (or title) Arthur was applied to Cerdic of Wessex, or that Cerdic of Wessex was Ceredig son of Cunedda. What my instinct tells me is that the greatest hero of early Wessex, known to be from Wales, was "converted" into a purely British hero and pitted against the very Englishmen he had fought alongside of.  I tend to trust the ASC more than I do that of the HB, in other words.  However, the ASC account is not without its problems, most notably being its literal reversal of chronology, involving as it does the improper ordering of the genealogy of the Gewessei.

Some might ask, "Why not propose that the ASC account is fraudulent, and that Cerdic and the Gewessei were fighting against the English?"  The notion is attractive.  But if Cerdic/Arthur was co-opted by the English, we cannot help but wonder why they would have done so. Did they not have warrior heroes of their own? Why go to the considerable trouble of concocting such tradition?  Why would you even want to make your enemy into the founders of your kingdom?

It is far more likely that so much time had passed from the era of the Gewessei to that of the writing of the ASC that the Celtic origin of Cerdic and his folk had been forgotten by the English.  Allies became members of the fold and ended up at the head of the Wessex royal pedigree. The implication, clearly, is not that the English "borrowed" a Celtic hero and made him their own, but rather that the Celtic hero had come to be seen as one of their own precisely because both parties were on the same side during the formative stage of the founding of Wessex.  The designation Gewessei conveys an opposite meaning to that of 'wealas' or foreigners, strangers (and thus those who are potentially dangerous, i.e. enemies). Does not seem reasonable that the term would have been retained had it not been in actual usage.  Inventing it at a later date in order to explain the Celtic nature of the Gewissei would seem supremely counter-productive.

COMING SOON: What it All Means or the Arthur-Ceredig Paradigm

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Revised Map of Arthur's Battles

Once More Arthur's [Last Four] Battles (a little tribute there to Kenneth H. Jackson's famous Arthurian essay)

Aerial View of Eynsham Park Camp

Readers of my previous posts will recall that I discussed Arthur's last four battles in relationship to the prior engagements, which were all reflections of entries for Cerdic in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. I was bothered by the fact that after the Wihtgarasburh battle (= the Castle Guinion of Arthur), the other battles seemed to be tagged on in order to round out the number to a mythological, Zodiacal twelve.  These extra battles seemed, superficially, at least, to have nothing to do with any of the other battles listed for the Gewissei in the ASC.

I now have reason to think I may have been mistaken.  I had mentioned before that Arthur's City of the Legion battle may well be an attempt at the ASC's Limbury of 571, whose early forms are Lygean-, Liggean- and the like.  I discounted the possibility solely because the next battle-site, that of the shore of the Tribruit, was certainly for the Trajectus on the Somerset Avon or over the Severn.

There is a problem, though, with identifying Tribruit with the Avon or Severn Trajectus, viz. there were doubtless many trajecti in Britain!  And, indeed, Rivet and Smith (The Place-Names of Roman Britain, p. 178) discuss the term, saying that in some cases "it seems to indicate a ferry or ford..." Furthermore, although the Welsh rendered 'litore' of the Tribruit description in Nennius as 'traeth', demanding a river estuary emptying into the sea, litore (from Latin litus) could also mean simply 'river-bank'.  Thus traeth could well be an improper rendering of the word.

If I were to look at Tribruit in this light, and provisionally accepted the City of the Legion as Limbury, and Badon as Bath (which the spelling demands, and which appears in a group of cities captured by Cerdic's father Ceawlin/Maquicoline/Cunedda), then the location of the Tribruit/Trajectus in question may well be determined by the locations of Mounts Agned and Breguoin.  These last two battle-sites fall between those of the City of the Legion and  Bath, and after that of the Tribruit.

I decided to take a fresh look at Agned, which has continud to vex Arthurian scholars.  I noticed that in the ASC 571 entry there was an Egonesham, modern Eynsham.  Early forms of this place-name include Egenes-, Egnes-, Eghenes-, Einegs-.  According to both Ekwall and Mills, this comes from an Old English personal name *Aegen.  Welsh commonly adds -edd to make regular nominative i:-stem plurals of nouns (information courtesy Dr. Simon Rodway, who cites several examples).  Personal names could also be made into place-names by adding the -ydd suffix.  The genitive of Agnes in Latin is Agnetus, which could have become Agned in Welsh - as long as <d> stands for /d/, which would be exceptional in Old Welsh (normally it stands for what is, in Modern Welsh, spelled as <dd>). I'd long ago shown that it was possible for Welsh to substitute initial /A-/ for /E-/.  What this all tells me is that Agned could conceivably be an attempt at the hill-fort named for Aegen.

But what of Mount Breguoin?  Well, I had remembered that prior to his later piece on Breguoin ('Arthur's Battle of Breguoin', Antiquity 23 (1949) 48—9), Jackson had argued (in 'Once Again Arthur's Battles') that the place-name might come from a tribal name based on the Welsh word breuan, 'quern.'  The idea dropped out of favor when Jackson ended up preferring Brewyn/Bremenium in Northumberland for Breguoin.

So how does seeing breuan in Breguoin help us?

In the 571 ASC entry we find Aylesbury as another town that fell to the Gewessei.  This is Aegelesburg in Old English.  I would point to Quarrendon, a civil parish and a deserted medieval village on the outskirts of Aylesbury.  The name means "hill where mill-tones [querns] were got". Thus if we allow for Breguoin as deriving from the Welsh word for quern, we can identify this hill with Quarrendon at Aylesbury.

All of which brings us back, rather circuitously, to Tribruit.  Taking this for a ford, the obvious candidate given Limbury, Aylesbury and Eynsham, is Bedcanforda of 571.  This is also found as Biedcanforda and is believed by most to be Bedford (Bedanford, Bydanford, Bedefort, 'Bieda's Ford').  I would not hesitate, therefore, to propose that the Tribruit river-bank is the trajectus at Bedford.

If we accept all this, then we cannot very easily reject Badon as Bath.  In truth, with Bath listed in the ASC entry for 577, and made into a town captured by Ceawlin, we simply are no longer justified in trying to make a case for the linguistically impossible Badbury at Liddington.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Concerning the Second Battle of Badon

Ashdown's Proximity to Liddington Castle/Badbury

In the past I've discussed the very strong probability that the Second Battle of Badon in the Welsh Annals represents not a later engagement at Bath in Somerset, but at the Badbury of Liddington in Somerset:

I now believe this is the best argument in support of the first Badon being not Bath, but Liddington Castle.  Again, I must emphasize that Badon, when treated of solely linguistically, cannot be Badbury. What I've been proposing all along is that Badon has been confused for and thus substituted for Baddan(-byrig) in the Welsh sources.

According to Pastscape (, there is a hill-fort at Ashdown.  As the Mercian king was raiding into Wessex, it is entirely conceivable that his path took him through Liddington/Badbury or at at least along the Roman road that ran immediately to the east of the area.

Alfred's Castle hill-fort at Ashdown

For me, this identification of 'Badon' as the Liddington Badbury, combined with the presence of Cerdic's/Ceredig's/Arthur's father Ceawlin's at nearby Barbury (the BEAR'S FORT), and with the perfect correspondence of the Welsh place-names Breguoin and Liddington (both being based on roots meaning a roaring stream), comes as near as we can to clinching the case for Arthur's Badon = the Liddington Badbury.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Badbury Rather than Bath: My Final Decision on the Matter

Map Showing Barbury and Liddington Castles
Connected by the Ancient Ridgeway

In past blog articles, I've gone back and forth on whether to favor Bath in Somerset or the Badbury at Liddington Castle in Wiltshire as Arthur's Badon.  I've made it clear that while the spelling Badon MUST relate to Bath, it could well be that this place became accidentally substituted for the Liddington Badbury.

I've come to realize that I really can't offer anything other than a logical argument in favor, ultimately, of the Liddington Badbury.  

While Agned as deriving from Agnetis, the genitive of Agnes the virgin saint, looks good linguistically, as we cannot demonstrate that St. Agnes was EVER present at Bath as a Christian substitute for Sulis Minerva, I don't feel I can support this idea any longer.  It is clever, but not convincing.  

On the other hand, there is no doubt whatsoever that Breguoin does, in fact, represent Brewyn/Bremenium, a Roman fort found in the Cheviots of Northumberland.  However, as I've demonstrated before in some detail, the meaning of the root of Breguoin has exactly the same meaning as the root of the place-name Liddington, an alternate name for the Wiltshire Badbury hill-fort.  We have also seen that Cerdic's/Ceredig's/Arthur's father Ceawlin/Maquicoline/Cunedda fought at Barbury Castle or the 'Fort of the Bear', only a very short distance from the Liddington Badbury along the ancient Ridgeway.  It is very possible that the English called Barbury the Bear's Fort because Arthur was there in some capacity (the Welsh arth meaning 'bear'). Granted, we are also told in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that Ceawlin took Bath.  

Agned is easily dispensed with.  I discussed how in my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, and cited top Celticists in support of the idea I presented there.  What I did was to adopt Dr. Andrew Breeze's quite sensible proposal that Agned was a misspelling of agued (the n > u copying error is a common one), a known Welsh word which simply means "distress, dire straits" or the like.  In other words, the host or hosts at Liddington Castle/Badbury were in 'dire straits, difficulty, anxiety' (suggested meanings provided by Dr. Graham Isaac).   Agned is thus not a real place-name at all, but instead a poetic descriptor of what happened at the battle.

For now, I will remain content with this analysis of the Agned and Breguoin place-names - until and if I encounter evidence or a counter-argument which convinces me otherwise.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Radical Reappraisal of the Last Four Battles of Cerdic/Ceredig/Arthur

In past articles, I've struggled with proper identifications for the following Arthurian battles:

a) City of the Legion
b) the Tribruit Shore
c) Mount Agned or Mount Breguoin/Bregion/Bregomion
d) Mount Badon

In this new piece, I wish to explore these sites anew. This time, instead of concentrating solely on linguistic matches, I want to compare the first grouping of Arthurian battles from a strategic standpoint with the latter ones.  When considering this we have to remember that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for some strange reason REVERSES the genealogical order of the Gewessei princes. Hence the chronology of the ASC battles is seriously flawed.

The Glein, Bassas, Dubglas, Celyddon and Guinnion battles all can be firmly located between the Hampshire Avon, Southhampton Water and the Isle of Wight.  These battles indicate raiding from the sea.  They also suggest a distinctive method of penetration into hostile territory: following river valleys from their terminus to their source.  Cerdic eventually reached Charford on the Avon, or perhaps a bit further (depending where we situate the unlocated Cerdicesleag).  After the "conquest" of Wight, Cynric/Cunorix son of Maquicoline/Ceawlin (= Cunedda) defeats the British at Old Sarum hard by Salisbury.  This battle is on the same River Avon as Charford, only more to the north.  Again, the river is being followed into the heartland of the enemy.

Something odd then happens with the next battle, fought by Ceawlin.  The site is Barbury Castle in Wiltshire, far to the north of the Hampshire Avon.  However, Barbury or Beranbyrig is the "Bear's Fort" (or the fort of someone named Bear), and I've believed for some time now that this was an English designation for Arthur (as arth in Welsh means 'bear').  Barbury, in turn, is very close to the Liddington Castle Badbury.

Ceawlin's next battle (568) marks another major departure from prior arenas of conflict.  He is said to have driven Aethelberht into Kent and to have slain two princes at Wibbandun.  The location of Wibbandun is unknown.  However, given the villages said to have been captured in 571 (Limbury, Aylesbury, Benson and Eynsham), we can probably place it at or near Whipsnade (detached plot of a man called Wibba; Mills, A Dictionary of English Place-Names), Bedfordshire.  These places were supposedly taken by Ceawlin's BROTHER Cutha.  Cutha is a hypocoristic form of something like the Cuthwulf or Cuthwine mentioned as fighting alongside Ceawlin.  As I've pointed out before, the name derives from the goddess name Cuda, who is remembered in the regional designation The Cotswolds.  In 577 it is Ceawlin and Cuthwine who fight at Dyrham and who slay three kings (one of them - Coinmail - bears the same name as that of Apollo Cunomaglos, whose shrine was near the Dyrham battle site).  The cities of Gloucester, Cirencester and Bath are taken as a consequence.

So what now to do with the last 4 battles of Arthur?  If we assume for the sake of argument they are not simply fanciful additions to the list, meant to pad it out to the desired Herculean 12...

It has occurred to me that the City of the Legion could be Limbury from the ASC, as the first part of this place-name is variously spelled Lygean- or Liggean-.  It would not take much for a monkish scribe to have mistakenly related Lygean-/Liggean- to legionis, the genitive singular of legio. Badon would thus be Ceawlin's Bath.  But Caerleon cannot be discounted for the City of the Legion, especially as the Pierced-Through Shore that is Traeth Tribruit can only be the Trajectus that crossed from Caerwent near Caerleon to a spot on Bath's River Avon.

And this leaves the very troublesome Agned and Breguoin/Bregion/Bregomion to untangle.  At one time I pitched W. Agned as directly derived from the Latin genitive Agnetis, for Agnes the virgin saint. This is perfect linguistically.  My idea was that this Christian virgin's name had replaced that of Sulis Minerva (Minerva being the ultimate virgin Roman goddess) which we find preserved at Little Solsbury Hill overlooking Bath.  Mount Agned and Mount Badon would then be one and the same place.  Yet Agned could also be an easily accountable error for Welsh agued, a mere adjective meaning that the host or hosts at Mount Badon were in straits or distress.  In this case it would not be a proper name at all.

Breguoin, while perfect for Brewyn/Bremenium in Northumberland, could also be a Welsh substitute for the Liddington of Liddington Castle, Badbury.  This is because the meanings of the roots of the Welsh and English words mean the same thing.  'Badon' would then be an incorrect substitution of Bath for a Baddan(byrig).  Bregion is simply a plural form meaning 'hills', and it can be nicely associated with Brean Down promontory hill-fort in Somerset.  Or it can be a generic terms for any grouping or range of hills - a fact that is spectacularly unhelpful.  Bregomion looks to be merely a strange combination of Breguoin and Bregion!  In other words, a corruption.

How to resolve these problems?

I'm now thinking all my attempts to make something of Breguoin/Bregion/Bregomion have been for naught.  We must remember that the Welsh word for hill, bre, has the same Indo-European root origin as the English word beorg.  And that the Old English word for fort - burh - is also from the same root.

From the GPC on bre:

[Crn. Bray, Brea (e. lleoedd), Llyd. C. Bre (Levenez) (e. lle), Llyd. Diw. bre: < Clt. *brigā, o’r gwr. IE. *bhr̥ĝh- ‘uchel, dyrchafedig’, cf. Gal. Nemeto-briga, Nerto-briga, Alm. Berg; â’r ll. breon, cf. 9g. Hist Brit c. 56 Bregion (e. lle); a cf. H. Wydd. brí (gen. breg): < Clt. *brixs; tebyg mai cfl. traws bre1 a welir yn fry ac obry; cf. hefyd braint1, brenin] 
eg.b. ll. breon, breoedd, a hefyd fel a. ac adf.
Bryn, bryncyn, mynydd, bryndir, ucheldir, copa, hefyd yn ffig.:
hill, hillock, mountain, hill-country, upland, peak, also fig. 

We see here the OW bregion and MW breon for "hills".

And here is burh and beorg from the Bosworth/Toller AS dictionary:

BURH, burg; gen. burge; dat. byrig, byrg; acc. burh, burg; pl. nom. acc. burga; gen. burga; dat. burgum; f. [beorh, beorg = burh, burg the impert. of beorgan to defend]. I. the original signification was arx, castellum, mons, a castle for defence. It might consist of a castle alone; but as people lived together for defence and support, hence a fortified place, fortress, castle, palace, walled town, dwelling surrounded by a wall or rampart of earth; arx, castellum, mons, palatium, urbs munita, domus circumvallata :-- Se Abbot Kenulf macode fyrst ða wealle abútan ðone mynstre, [and] geaf hit ðá to nama Burh [Burch MS.], ðe æ-acute;r hét Medeshámstede the Abbot Kenulf first made the wall about the minster, and gave it then the name Burh = Burg [Petres burh Peter's burg = Peterborough] , which before was called Meadow-home-stead, Chr. 963; Erl. 123, 27-34; Th. 221, 34-39. ILLEGIBLE The style of the Anglo-Saxon indicates a late date, perhaps about 1100 or 1200. Burg arx, Cot. 10. Stíþlíc stán-torr and seó steépe burh on Sennar stód the rugged stone-tower and the high fortress stood on Shinar, Cd. 82; Th. 102, 15; Gen. 1700. Óþ ðæt hie on Sodoman weall-steápe burg wlitan meahton till they on Sodom's lofty-walled fortress might look, 109; Th. 145, 7; Gen. 2402. Ðæ-acute;r se hálga heáh, steáp reced, burh timbrede there the holy man built a high, steep dwelling, a walled town, 137; Th. 172, 6; Gen. 2840. Burge weall the wall of a city; murus, Ps. Th. 17, 28. Ðæt hie geseón mihten ðære wlitegan byrig weallas that they might see the walls of the beautiful city, Judth. 11; Thw. 23, 24; Jud. 137: Ps. Th. 44, 13: 47, 11. On leófre byrig and háligre in montem sanctificationis suæ, 77, 54: 77, 67. Ðá férdon híg þurh ða burhga egressi circuibant per castella. Lk. Bos. 9, 6. Eádweard cyng fór mid fierde to Bedan forda, and beget ða burg king Edward went with an army to Bedford, and gained the walled town, Chr. 919; Th. 192, 24, col. l. Ge binnan burgum, ge búton burgum both within walled towns, and without walled towns, L. Edg. S. 3; Th. i. 274, 7. Ðone æðeling on ðære byrig métton, ðér se cyning ofslægen læg they found the ætheling in the inclosure of the dwelling, where the king lay slain, Chr. 755; Th. 84, 19, col. 1: L. Edm. S. 2; Th. i. 248, 16: L. Eth. iii. 6; Th. i. 296, 5. II. a fortress or castle being necessary for the protection of those dwelling together in cities or towns, -- a city, town, burgh, borough; urbs, civitas, oppidum :-- Róma burh the city Rome, Bd. 1. 11; S. 480, 10, 12. Ða ðe in burh móton gongan, in Godes ríce they may go into the city, [may go] into God's kingdom, Cd. 227; Th. 303, 16; Sae. 613. Ðonne hý hweorfaþ in ða hálgan burg when they pass into the holy city, Exon. 44b; Th. 150, 26; Gú. 784. Ðæt he gesáwe ða burh ut videret civitatem, Gen. ll, 5. Ða burh ne bærndon they burnt not the city, Ors. 2, 8; Bos. 52, 8. Burge weard the guardian of the city, Cd. 180; Th. 226, 19; Dan. 173: Ps. Th. 9, 13. Ðonne hí eów éhtaþ on ðysse byrig cum perseguentur vos in civitate ista, Mt. Bos. 10, 23: Exon. 15b; Th. 34, 14; Cri. 542. Binnan ðære byrig within the city, Ors. 2, 8; Bos. 52, 4. Beóþ byrig mid Iudém getimbrade ædificabuntur civitates Judæ, Ps. Th. 68, 36. Byrig fægriaþ towns appear fair, Exon. 82a; Th. 308, 32;
Seef. 48. Ðá ongan he hyspan ða burga tunc cæpit exprobrare civitatibus, Mt. Bos. ll, 20. On burgum in the towns, Beo. Th. 105; B. 53. [Piers P. Chauc. burghe: R. Brun. burgh: R. Glouc. bor&yogh;: Laym. burh: Orm. burrh: Plat. borch, f: O. Sax. burg, f. urbs, civitas: Frs. borge, m. f: O. Frs. burch, burich, f: Dut. burgt, f: Kil. borg, borght: Ger. burg, f. arx, castellum: M. H. Ger. burc, f: O. H. Ger. buruc, burg, f. urbs, civitas: Goth. baurgs, f: Dan. borg, m. f: Swed. borg, m: O. Nrs. borg, f.] DER. ealdor-burh [-burg], fóre-, freó-, freoðo-, gold-, heáfod-, heáh- [heá-], hleó-, hord-, in-, leód-, mæ-acute;g-, medo-, meodu-, rand-, rond-, sceld-, scild-, scyld-, stán-, under-, weder-, wín-, wyn-.

beorg, beorh, biorg, biorh; gen. beorges; dat. beorge; pl. nom. acc. beorgas; gen. beorga; dat. beorgum; m. I. a hill, mountain; collis, mons :-- On Sýne beorg on Sion's hill, Exon. 20 b; Th. 54, 29; Cri. 876. Óþ ða beorgas ðe man hæ-acute;t Alpis to the mountains which they call the Alps, Ors. 1, 1; Bos. 18, 44; 16, 17. Æ-acute;lc múnt and beorh byþ genyðerod omnis mons et collis humiliabitur, Lk. Bos. 3, 5. Æt ðæm, beorge ðe man Athlans nemneþ at the mountain which they call Atlas, Ors. 1, 1; Bos. 16, 6. II. a heap, BURROW or barrow, a heap of stones, place of burial; tumulus :-- Worhton mid stánum ánne steápne beorh him ofer congregaverunt super eum acervum magnum lapidum, Jos. 7, 26. Bæd ðæt ge geworhton in bæ-acute;lstede beorh ðone heán he commanded [bade] that you should work the lofty barrow on the place of the funeral pile, Beo. Th. 6186; B. 3097 : 5606; B. 2807 : Exon. 50 a; Th. 173, 26; Gú. 1166 : 119 b; Th. 459, 31; Hö. 8. [Laym. berh&yogh;e : Piers bergh; still used in the dialect of Yorkshire : Plat. barg : O. Sax. berg : O. Frs. berch, birg : Ger. berg : M. H. Ger. berc : O. H. Ger. perac : Goth. bairga-hei a mountainous district : Dan. bjærg, n : Swed. berg, n : O. Nrs. berg, n : derived from beorgan.] DER. ge-beorg, -beorh, heáh-, mund-, sæ-acute;-, sand-, stán-.

Finally, the evidence for the common IE root for these hill words may be found here:

What I'm hinting at is that Agned and Breguoin/Bregion/Bregomion may originally have been a single COMPOUND PLACE-NAME.  The first element was Agned-, while the second was -bury.  In other words, the Welsh chose to use their own breg for burg, and this word was further altered through careless Latinization.  Or, if we wish to preserve the plural, we are talking here about the "burgs of Agned".

If Arthur went from Caerleon to Caerwent and thence via the Trajectus over the Severn to the River Avon, and his very last victorious battle is Badon (whose spelling beyond a doubt does indicate Bath), then the Agned-burg or Agned-burgs in question must be between the Trajectus landing place (possibly Bitton) and Bath itself.  Brean Down can no longer be considered an acceptable candidate.

I am here going to propose that the Hills of Agned are Little Solsbury Hill camp and the Southampton Down camp, both of which stand over Bath on opposite sides of the River Avon.  While we have no extant evidence that St. Agnes was ever known here, I feel it is not unreasonable to assume that at least in this case she was chosen as an approved Christian substitute for Sulis Minerva. The hill-forts above Bath were sacred to her, of course, and control of both had to be wrested from their owners by Ceawlin/Cunedda and his son, Cerdic/Ceredig/Arthur.

Little Solsbury Hill and Southampton Down

NOTE:  Here is my earlier piece on Sulis Minerva and St. Agnes: