Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ARTHUR'S BURIAL PLACE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE ROMAN CEMETERY AT VIROCONIUM/WROXETER

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Fig. 3
Estimated Findspot for the Cunorix Stone

Fig. 4
Zoomed View of Cunorix Stone Findspot

For years now, I've maintained that the Cunorix Stone found at Wroxeter/Viroconium represents not only the son of Cunedda/Maquicoline, but the Gewissei chieftain Cynric, mistakenly called the son of Cerdic (= Ceredig son of Cunedda/Arthur) in the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE.  The Gewissei were Irish or Hiberno-British foederati fighting for the Welsh High King against other Britons.  They had allied themselves with the English for military actions in southern England.  

Cunorix/Cynric is known in the early Welsh sources as Cynyr, and he is wrongly made the son of Gwron son of Cunedda.  From P. C. Bartram's A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY:

"GWRON ap CUNEDDA WLEDIG. (Legendary). (420)

He appears in the legends of Anglesey as the father of Cynyr, Meilir and Yneigr who aided their
cousin Cadwallon Lawhir in expelling the Gwyddyl from the island. The story occurs in the expanded ‘Hanesyn Hen’ tract (ByA §29(15) in EWGT pp.92-93). See s.nn. Cadwallon Lawhir and Meilir Meilirion.

Gwron is not mentioned in the older lists of the sons of Cunedda and therefore his historical existence is doubtful. He might, perhaps, have been too young to take part in the conquests which the other sons of Cunedda are supposed to have made. Another suggestion is that his name Gwron, ‘hero’ is really a cognomen and that he is actually to be identified with Ysfael (q.v.) ap Cunedda, who gave his name to a part of Anglesey and presumably ruled there. This was suggested by Owen Rhoscomyl." 

Gwron as a heroic epithet here must have belonged either to Cynyr himself or to his real father, Cunedda.

According to Professor Roger White, an archaeologist at The Universirty of Birmingham who carried out field work at Wroxeter, 

"No plan was made of the [Cunorix Stone] findspot – it was recovered by the farmer and reported by Dr John Houghton. Houghton took the earliest photos of it showing the fresh ploughmarks on it. My best estimate of the find spot is likely to be the field immediately south and east of Watling Street as it comes into the city on its north-east corner. This was the location, on both sides of the road, of the Wroxeter eastern cemetery. The best plan of this can be found in the this article: H. Johnson ‘The excavations at the cemetery, Uriconium’ Gentleman’s Magazine 132:1 (1862), 398-405." [For which see Figure 2 above]

The following Website (which has a thorough bibliography on sources of information for the stone) gives some important additional details on the findspot:


"Description: A tombstone was ploughed up just outside the town defences, 35-40 yards (35-40m) south of the Horseshoe Lane. <1>

CMHTS Comment:- Note that the earliest accounts [<3>,<4>] give the findspot as being inside the town wall. This is incorrect. The stone is, in effect, an outlier of the Middle Crows Green Cemetery. <2>

Houghton's account mentions the tombstone. <3>

The inscription, dated to about 460-475 was cut on an earlier tombstone which had been re-used as a part of a building. <4>

CMHTS Comment:- This find lies outside defined post-Roman/early medieval urban area (cf. PRN 06495). <5>"

As Cunorix/Cynyr/Cynric was deemed important enough to have been given a memorial stone outside Viriconium, the presumed capital of the Welsh High King, it stands to reason that his even more impressive brother, Ceredig, would have been afforded a similar honor.  If so, his stone - assuming it survived the combined destructive energies of Nature and Man - is even now lying under the turf in this same burial ground.  

What would its inscription read, I wonder?  Would it say merely Ceredig son of Maquicoline?  Or would we find chiseled into the stone Ceredig's more famous appellation, Artorius?





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