3.2 Rulers AD

'We must carefully keep to the authorities, as confusion has arisen by modern authors making arbitrary identifications of the east British or London family of Caswallon with the west British or Silurian family of Caradog.' (W M Flinders Petrie, Neglected British History, 1917)

A description is available elsewhere of the works consulted in the compilation of this section of the CVpedia [see Sources]


Royal family tree: vital resources in understanding early British history are the Lloegrian (English) and Cambrian (Welsh) Genealogies [see Genealogies]; the royal family tree below combines information from both sources; it was compiled by R W Morgan; the family tree covers the late BC/early AD era; it is illuminating, yet not unproblematic; Lud, who erected walls around London, is said by R W Morgan to have had two sons, to wit, Llyr and Tenvantius; the sons were in fact Androgeus and Tenvantius [see Lud, Cassivelaunus & Nennius]; Llyr is the 39th entry in the Cambrian Genealogy and is there recorded as the son of Baran [Source: The Genealogy of Iestyn, the Son of Gwrgan]; Androgeus's role as a traitor may have played a part in these discrepant accounts [see Julius Caesar]; another difficulty relates to the identity of the father of Coel, the 'Old King Cole' of the nursery rhyme; R W Morgan has him as the son of Cyllin (‘Cyllinus’), who himself is the son of Caractacus (also known as Caradoc, King of the Silures; see below, Caractacus); the next ruler after Cyllin in the Cambrian Genealogy, though, is not Cyllin's son Coel, as would be expected from R W Morgan, but a son called Owain, then comes Owain’s son Eirchion (also known as Meirchion); meanwhile Coel succeeds Marius - whom R W Morgan describes as Coel's uncle [More 11] - presumably because the eastern line lacked a male heir; in contrast the Tysilio Chronicle has Coel more straightforwardly succeeding Marius as his son [see below, Marius]; the candidate fathers, Cyllin & Marius, seem to have been brought up in Rome at the same time, perhaps occasioning the confusion; notwithstanding the discrepancy over the identity of Coel’s father [see Coel], the order of rulers in the east is well established as Beli, Lud, Cassivelaunus, Tenvantius, Cymbeline, Guiderius, Arviragus, Marius, Coel & Lucius; note that the Lloegrian king list provided by the Tudor historian Holinshed lacks the short-reigning Guiderius, elder brother of Aviragus [see Monarchs]; hostilities continued in one part or another of the island for forty years after the Roman invasion of AD 43, time enough for a supporting cast of junior line client kings to come into play across the different regions, including Verica [see below, Guiderius], Cogidubnus [see below, Aviragus] & Prasutagus [see below, Boadicea]; more than 1800 years on from Christian King Lucius, Elizabeth II embodies Britain’s enduring monarchical tradition, with Charles III, William V & George VII in prospect


Source: R W Morgan, St Paul in Britain, 1861 [see More 11; for Morgan's full narrative history of ancient Britain, see More 16]. Note that Llyr was not the son of Lud (see above). Note also that at lower right there should be a marital sign (=), indicating that Helen, granddaughter of St Helen [see Helen] was married to Julian. It is from this couple that the Russian Imperial Family claim descent. The parenthesis after Bran the Blessed indicates that he was the first royal convert to Christianity. Dates are variously 'when flourished', 'when reigned' and 'when lived'

Cymbeline: king of Britain in the early decades of the first century AD, son of Tenvantius, who was himself the son of Lud; Cymbeline was known to the Britons as Cynfeln ('Yellow Hair') and to the Romans as Cunobelinus; he visited the Roman Emperor Augustus in Rome [see Romans in Britain]; Cymbeline managed to prevent the Romans from invading, using diplomatic means; yet he must have shown martial derring-do at some point, as the Welsh Triads have him as one of the three heroic sovereigns of the Isle of Britain, along with Caractacus and Arthur, ‘because they conquered their enemies’; Cymbeline was the great-nephew of Cassivelaunus, who had fought Caesar; Shakespeare in his play Cymbeline (Act III, Scene i) has the king say that ‘Britain is a world by itself’, yet after Cymbeline's death Britain was to become part of the Roman world; Cymbeline's sons were Guiderius & Arviragus [see next entries]; the family tree of the early British royal family is as above, down to Helen, British mother of Constantine the Great, and beyond; an intriguing notice on Cymbeline is to be found in the account of British history provided by the medieval French chronicler John De Wavrin:

'Cambelinus [Cymbeline] reigns after his father Tenantius. He is so much respected at Rome that tribute is not asked of him. Birth of the Saviour at this time. This was prophesied in Great Britain by Thezelinus a soothsayer.' [Source: De Wavrin, page xxxv; for more on Thezelinus’s prophecy, see Christianity]

Guiderius: when Cymbeline died his elder son Guiderius took over as king; he it was who had to combat the Roman invasion of AD 43, during the time of the Roman Emperor Claudius; Emperor Augustus had called off invasions of Britain in 34, 27 & 25 BC; meanwhile, Caligula had opted for a spoof invasion in AD 40, having his invasion-averse soldiers instead collect shells on the shore of Gaul, as ‘the spoils of conquered Ocean’; a successful Roman invasion did not occur until almost a century after Caesar’s incursions, in the time of the Emperor Claudius, who deployed a massive army and was assisted by local complicity; British King Guiderius, son and successor to Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, who reigned AD 9-39), had declined to pay tribute; this was one pretext for the Claudian invasion, another was the Emperor’s purported desire to reinstate the deposed British chieftain Verica, who had usurped the throne after Cymbeline’s death; Verica's preparedness to be a client king will have endeared him to his foreign patrons; Verica was of the Atrebates people, whose British centre was Silchester, south of the Thames; a later first-century client king of the Romans, Cogidubnus, seems to have been Verica's kin [see below, Arviragus]; the treacherous Verica is unmentioned by the Tysilio Chronicle, which also does not allude to Albyne or Boudicca, other personages from the east of the island; Tysilio has this to say:

'And when Cymbeline had reigned for twelve years, he had two sons, [the one named] Guiderius, and [the other] Arviragus.
And upon Cymbeline’s death, Guiderius was anointed king. And when he thought himself safe upon the throne, he stopped the [flow of] tribute to the men of Rome. And when the Romans learned of it, they sent Claudius Caesar and a mighty host with him to the land of Britain.'
[Source: Tysilio Chronicle, pp33; see More 18]

Guiderius was killed during the Roman invasion and his brother Arviragus took over, but eventually accepted a peace treaty [see next entry]; in honour of victory Claudius renamed his young son Britannicus; the continuing resistance was led by Caractacus of the Silures in the west of the country [see below, Caractacus]; Britain was not to be free of Roman influence until AD 410, when the empire in the west finally crumbled; native kingship was maintained, however, through most of the period of Roman influence

Arviragus: died AD 90; this first century king of the Lloegrian (eastern) line, the second son of Cymbeline, is often confused with Caractacus of the Silures, son of Bran, of the Cambrian (western) line; note that there is an error in R W Morgan's genealogy above [see Royal family tree]; Arviragus does not appear to have been Caractacus’s cousin; Arviragus has also been confused with the king of the Iceni, Prasutagus, Boadicea’s husband [see Boadicea], who is mentioned by Tacitus, but whereas Prasutagus died in AD 60 Arviragus expired thirty years later; to be clear, Arviragus, Caractacus & Prasutagus were separate individuals, as recognised by Holinshed & Enderbie [see Sources]; Arviragus’s older brother King Guiderius was killed early on in the fighting during the Roman invasion of AD 43 of the Emperor Claudius; Aviragus assumed the kingship and fought on in his brother’s stead, but neither he nor Claudius wanted to fight to a bloody conclusion; as part of a peace deal, Arviragus was to marry a daughter of Emperor Claudius’s, whose name was Genvissa according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Tysilio leaving her unnamed

‘...Claudius and Arviragus went to Winchester, where they sojourned together, and the emperor immediately sent ambassadors to Rome for his daughter Genois. In the meantime, while the ambassadors were performing their journey, Claudius, with the assistance of Arviragus conquered the isles of Orkney, and some others; after which the ambassadors returned from Rome, bringing the daughter of Claudius.’ [Source: De Wavrin, p132]

‘...Aviragus marrying the daughter of the Emperour, joining the Brittish and Roman Regal and Imperial lines together, thereby ended all debates between them.’ [Source: Enderbie, p143]

Genvissa was possibly an adopted daughter rather than a natural one, as Claudius’s three natural daughters are said to be accounted for in Roman history; if so, she must have been of the highest lineage not to affront the dignity of the British king; further information would be welcome on 'this Roman lady of the Emperors kindred' [Source: Enderbie, p142], as Genvissa and Arviragus founded a Brito-Roman dynasty, which ruled on after them in the persons of their son Marius, Coel I & Lucius; the Romans accepted Arviragus's kingship of Roman-controlled Britain at this time – probably the area to the south and east of the Fosse Way, ‘fosse’ being the Roman word for a defensive ditch; later on Arviragus went into rebellion and the Roman general Vespasian was sent to bring Britain back into the imperial fold; peace was brokered by Genvissa, again indicating her status; in this period, AD 70s, Cogidubnus may have come out of Roman retirement briefly to become client king in the south of the country, probably based at the Roman-style villa at Fishbourne near Chicester; he may well also have been such in the AD 40s, after the death of the usurper Verica, who seems to have been his kinsmen [see above, Guiderius]; Arviragus became compliant once more and presumably Cogidubnus departed the scene or retired, this time for good; note that Verica and Cogidubnus, the latter mentioned by Tacitus, are unrecorded in the British Chronicles; Arviragus seems to have been a worthy adversary as the Roman poet Juvenal enquired

‘Hath our great enemy,

Arviragus, the car-borne British king,

Dropped from his battle-throne?’

Aviragus made accepting Roman coins a capital offence, as implying the right to levy tribute; Roman coins circulated only from the time of Hadrian onwards, in the second century AD, with Hadrian’s coins featuring a female personification of the island, Britannia [see Britannia]; Joseph of Arimathea came to Britain in the first century and received a grant of land from Arviragus [see Joseph of Arimathea]; Joseph is believed to have been Jesus’s uncle and guardian; according to William of Malmesbury, the chronicler of Glastonbury (the English Jerusalem), Arviragus gave Joseph of Arimathea and his followers twelve hides of land in which to settle in Glastonbury, which led to the founding of the first Christian church anywhere in the world; Arviragus is said also to have received a visit from St Paul in AD 63, giving the visiting apostle a grant of land in London; this had been the site of original Temple of Diana built by Brutus; it became St Paul’s Cathedral [see St Paul]; Arviragus’s successor but one on the throne, King Lucius, issued a decree around AD 157 that made Britain the first Christian nation; Arviragus has been described as the 'Last independent paramount Briton king'. [Source: Waddell, p389]; how ‘paramount’ he was is conjectural;  Agricola was made Roman governor of Britain in AD 78 and campaigned in Wales and Scotland, to assert Roman power, routing a Caledonian force under Calgacus at the battle of Mons Graupius in AD 84; Agricola’s biographer was his son-in-law Tacitus, who omits to name the by then aged Aviragus or Aviragus’s son Marius, who held the kingship after Agricola had left the island and after Aviragus had died [see below, Marius]

Caractacus: took over the cause of resisting the Romans from Arviragus, who had made peace with the invader; Caractacus (also Caratacus), known to his own people as Caradoc (also Caradog), was King of the Silures, a martial people based in South Wales; the Silures seem to have been a sub-clan of the Cassi people of Britain (whence Cassivelaunus, who opposed Julius Caesar), judging by an inscription on the Newton Stone, a Scottish monolith [Source: Waddell, p32]; Caractacus became the ‘Pendragon’, Pen Draco Insularis, ‘Head Dragon of the Island’, i.e. Military Commander appointed by a national council of elders; Caractacus was finally betrayed and captured in AD 51, after a resistance that among Romans had become the stuff of legends; he was taken to Rome, where he made a stirring speech before the Emperor & Senate [Source: Tacitus]; Caractacus was shown mercy and set up in a palace with his family, including his father Bran the Blessed, who became the first British Christian convert; Caractacus's son Linus became the first Bishop of Rome (i.e. first Pope)[see Popes & More 11]; as a curiosity, the Tysilio Chronicle, ostensibly started by a prince of Powys, Mid Wales, does not find space for King Caractacus of the Silures, of South Wales - even though Caractacus is mentioned in the Welsh genealogies, the Lives of Saints, the Welsh Triads, Tacitus and so on; Geoffrey of Monmouth and De Wavrin also carry no word of Caractacus

‘ “Tacitus reluctantly informs us that, “In Britain, after the captivity of Caradoc, the Romans were repeatedly defeated and put to the rout by the single state of the Silures alone.” ’ (Isabel Hill Elder, Celt, Druid and Culdee, 1947, p33, citing Tacitus, Annals, xii, 38, 39)

Caractacus was allowed to return to Britain, leaving behind his family as hostages

‘From triads 18 and 35, Bran was seven years a hostage in Rome for his son Caradog [Caractacus] – implying that Caradog was sent back to rule in Britain. The seven years, therefore, would be from A.D. 51 to 58. From Rome ‘he brought the faith of Christ to the Cambrians’. Looking at the Epistle to the Romans, written A.D. 58, the obvious strength of Christianity then, its hold in Caesar’s household, where Bran was a hostage, and its political position under Nero, there is nothing in the least improbable in a British hostage in Rome being among converts by A.D. 58.’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, p261]

'41. Caradog, (Caractacus,) the son of Bran, was a very puissant king; and when the Empire of Britain devolved on him, he went to Cornwall to reside; giving Siluria to his son Cyllin.' (Anonymous, The Genealogy of Iestyn, the Son of Gwrgan, undated)

‘Being now fairly within the period of Roman occupation, it will create no surprise that the princes who follow in succession [after Caractacus], for many generations, appear to have exercised but little political or military power, except to aid their conquerors in the expulsion of different invading hordes.’ (Anonymous, The Genealogy of Iestyn, the Son of Gwrgan, undated; footnote by unidentified editor, p350)

Boadicea: called Voadicia in Holinshed's English Chronicles, Voada in Holinshed's Scottish Chronicles, and otherwise known as Boudicca; this warrior Queen of the Iceni people of East Anglia  led a revolt in AD 60 that nearly smashed the Romans off the island [see More 15]; her husband was Prasutagus, a client king of the Romans; she died with many of her warriors trying to avenge the defilement of her daughters that occurred after her husband's death, despicable Roman ignobility triumphing; her war-cry was “Y gwir erbyn y Byd”, ‘The Truth against the World’, which was the motto of the Druids; Boadicea’s rebels managed something that no other power has ever achieved, the Sack of London

'The only time London has been rifled and destroyed has not been by a foreign enemy but by a British queen and a British army visiting it with condign punishment for its collusion with a foreign invader.' (E O Gordon, Prehistoric London, 1914)

‘There followed an up-rush of hatred from the abyss, which is a measure of the cruelty of the conquest. It was a scream of rage against invincible oppression and the superior culture which seemed to lend it power.’ (Winston S Churchill, A History of the English-speaking Peoples, Vol I, 1956

The end came for Boadicea and her people at the Battle of Watling Street; a statue of Boudicca stands outside the Palace of Westminster; many of the Britons who died in the rebellion did so from starvation; the Romans had noted that the Britons in their preparations for war had sown no crops; the Romans put this down to arrogance yet the Britons may have intended to buy food later from the Continent, in the event of a long-drawn-out conflict; the Tysilio Chronicle and other early British sources are curiously silent about Boadicea and her uprising; there is an apparent reference in Gildas, however, where she is called the ‘deceitful lioness’


‘After the death of the good King Arviragus, reigned his son Maurius [Marius], who had been brought up at Rome among the relatives of his mother Genois [Genvissa].’ [Source: De Wavrin, p134]

Marius killed Soderic, King of the Picts, in a great battle in Westmorland, which former county in North West England was named after Marius; it was subsequently subsumed within the modern English county of Cumbria; Marius’s son was Coel I [see next entry]; here is what the Tysilio Chronicle has to say on Marius and his successors:

'And after Arvirargus did Marius his son become king. And in his days came Soderic, the king of the Picts, from Ireland with a mighty host to Albany, and conquered it. And on learning of this, he, Marius, came forth against him and did battle with him, and caused him to flee. And Soderic was slain as he fled. And Marius apportioned to them, the Picts, a part of Albany in which to dwell. But when they had settled the land, the Picts had no womenfolk, and they came to the Britons to ask for their daughters as wives. But the Britons deemed it imprudent to grant them to them, and so the Picts went abroad to Ireland and took Gaelic women for their wives, and from these are the Scots descended.
And when Marius had secured the kingdom, of his own free will and pleasure he sought accord with the men of Rome. And he established new laws throughout his kingdom and reigned in peace for as long as he lived. And when Marius died, so Coel his son was made king. He had been brought up at Rome, and such was his love for Rome that though he could easily have done so, he did not withhold the tribute whilst he lived.
And after Coel, Lucius his son took the crown.' (Tysilio Chronicle, p31, More 18)

Coel I:

'Coillus [Coel] the sonne of Marius was after his fathers deceasse made king of Britaine, in the yeare of our Lord 125... When Coill had reigned the space of 54 yeares, he departed this life at Yorke, leaving after him a sonne named Lucius.’ [Source: Holinshed, Vol I, p511]

This Coel is not to be confused with three other similarly named royals in British history; a BC forerunner is identified as ‘Coellus’ in Holinshed [see Monarchs, table column 3, entry 5]; Coel II for his part reigned in the AD 200s and was the father of Helen, the mother of Constantine the Great [see below, Coel II]; Coel III reigned in the AD 400s; Coel I was of western British ancestry according to R W Morgan [see above, Royal family tree], the eastern branch of the royal family apparently lacking a male heir; but he was simply the son of Marius according to Tysilio [see previous entry], Holinshed & Enderbie - and also De Wavrin: 

‘When King Marius was dead, Coillus [Coel I], his son, who was a very courteous man graceful, wise, brave, and hardy, reigned after him; he knew all the Roman laws, for he had learned them in his youth at Rome, where he had been brought up, and he greatly loved the Romans,  because he had received from them the knowledge of many a fine art and science.’ [Source: De Wavrin, p135]

Coel I was the Old King Cole of nursery rhyme fame, as in:


Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.



Note the triad of fiddlers; in the Welsh Triads themselves there is an unexpected reference to Coel, as one of ‘The three beneficent Mechanics of the Island of Britain’: 

‘ “...and Coel, son of Cyllin, the son of Caractacus, the son of Bran, who first made a wheel-mill and carriage wheels for the Cimbri. These three were bards.” ...The invention of carriage wheels, attributed to Coel, can only refer to some improved principle that he introduced; for the war-chariots of the Britons are mentioned in history long before his time.’ (Anonymous, The Genealogy of Iestyn, the Son of Gwrgan, undated; footnote by unidentified editor, p342) 

The building of Colchester has been ascribed to Coel I [Source: Enderbie, p130]; it was during Coel I’s time that the Temple of Apollo at Westminster – a forerunner to Westminster Abbey – was apparently destroyed by an earthquake, during the reign of the Antoninus Pius; Antoninus Pius was Roman Emperor in the period AD 138-161; Antoninus’s father was Hadrian of Wall fame and Antoninus gave his own name to the Antonine Wall to the north of it; the rending of the Temple of Apollo at Westminster will have been treated as a sign of heavenly displeasure; moving forward from a Druidic and pagan past, Coel’s son Lucius became the world's first Christian king


Lucius: the son of Coel I, Lucius became by conversion the first Christian king of Britain and the first Christian king anywhere; in the Welsh Triads Lucius is described as one of the ‘blessed princes of the Isle of Britain’: 

‘...Lleirwg [pronounced Lur-ug], son of Coel, son of St Cyllin, and called Leuver the Great, who built the first church at Llandav [Llandaff, South Wales], which was the first in the Isle of Britain, and who gave the privilege of the country and tribe, with civil and ecclesiastical rights to those who professed faith in Christ.’ [Source: Welsh Triads, pp388-9]

This indicates that 'Lucius' was the Romanised form of this ruler's name; he is called Lles in Tysilio; besides Tysilio, Christian King Lucius is to be found in Gildas, Nennius & Bede; he is also to be found in

‘The M. S. Antiquities of the Church of Landaff more ancient in probable judgement than St. Bede, and written by a Brittain...’ [Source: Enderbie, p139; note that Bede was of Anglo-Saxon stock, not a native Briton]

This king’s very existence has been doubted; alternatively he has been discovered not to have lived on the island at all but in Mesopotamia (e.g. EHR, Vol CXX, No 487, pp593-614, 2005); yet there is abundant information available on this pioneering British ruler, for those prepared to appraise it, notwithstanding a legitimate debate about his dates and a question mark over the identity of his grandfather (Cyllin or Marius?); the premier source on Lucius is Enderbie [pp131-9 in particular; see More 1, Appendix III]

‘Now was the time come (namely about one hundred and fourscore years after the Birth of our Saviour,) when Christian Religion which many years together had been for the most part shadowed with dark clouds of Heathenish superstition, began to discover itself more openly in this Iland by the means of Lucius, surnamed Lever-Maur; who by permission of the Roman Lieutenant, did govern as King a great part of the Province; For it appeareth by the testimony of some ancient Writers, that Brittain received the Christian Faith even in the in the Infancy of the Church, immediately after the death of our Saviour [i.e. Joseph of Arimathea and others, into Lucius’s own time]...Lucius determined to be instructed in the Religion which they professed; and first of all commanded Elevanus and Meduinus (two learned men of the Brittish nation) to go to Rome where Eleutherius was then Bishop, to require some meet persons to be sent into Brittain to instruct him and his people; for which purpose Fugatius and Damianus were specially appointed by Eleutherius with all speed to repair thither...and considering the state of Brittain under his Government, we may justly admire the Felicity of those times, ascribing to the Brittains for their greatest glory, that among all other Nations they had the happiness to see and enjoy the first Christian Prince...The first and principal means of the Conversion of K. Lucius is ascribed to certain learned Scholars of Cambridge...Betwixt this Eleutherius and King Lucius many Letters passed, and the said Bishop granted many privileges to Unversities and places of learning in Brittain...’ [Source: Enderbie, pp131, 132 & 135]

Book 4 of The Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastic History of the English People is entitled ‘Lucius, King of Britain, Writing to Pope Eleutherus, Desires to be Made a Christian’; the online Catholic Encyclopedia gives Eleutherus's reign as 175-89; this establishes the period when Lucius flourished; the text of one of Lucius's letters has come down to us:

‘The reuerend father Iohn Iewell, sometime bishop of Salisburie, writeth...that the said Eleutherius, for generall order to be taken in the realm and churches héere, wrote his aduice to Lucius in maner and forme following. “You haue reciued in the kingdome of Britaine, by Gods mercie, both the law and faith of Christ; ye haue both the new and old testament, out of the same through Gods grace, by the aduise of your realm make a law, and by the same through Gods sufferance rule you your kingdome of Britain, for in that kingdom you are Gods vicar.” ’ [Source: Holinshed, Vol I, pp511 & 512]

Note that this letter was not a one-off but part of a correspondence; this renders jejune the notion that ‘Britain’ in this missive was a scribal error for another location; Lucius’s letters to the Pope were said to be still extant in the Vatican Library in the seventh century - and may be there still; 

the correspondence is regarded as authentic by the Roman Catholic Church; Lucius got his start as a Christian from the scholars of Cambridge [see Cambridge University]; it must be appreciated that King Lucius is not an optional extra; the British accounts interlock because they are true; for example: 

‘...The Church of Winchester builded in the time of King Lucius...one hundred and eighty nine, by Faganus and Damianus Bishops; amongst the rest, at this time of Dioclesian [Roman Emperor who persecuted Christians from 303], went to wrack...In the year three hundred and nine, the Church aforesaid was again re-edified, and...quite finished in the time of Constantine [the Great; see below, Constantine]; his being here [in Britain], before he went hence against Maxentius [his Roman rival].’ [Source: Enderbie, p172, citing ‘Annals Eccle. Winton.’]

In Lucius’s time Theon was installed as the the first archbishop in London; his successors in the post are known [Source: Enderbie, p126; see More 1]; Lucius built a Christian church at the site of what is now Westminster Abbey; a number of early writers convey the tradition that there was a Temple of Apollo on the site of the modern-day Westminster Abbey; here is a relatively late example of such writing in the form of a quotation from Speculum Britanniae: Historical and Chorographical Description of Middlesex and Hertfordshire by John Norden (London, 1723, page 42; the ‘Sulcardus’ mentioned was the first-ever historian of Westminster Abbey, who flourished around AD 1080):

'Master Camden from Sulcardus reporteth that there was first a Temple in that place [Westminster/Thorney Island], dedicate to Apollo which was overthrown by an earth quake in the time of Antonius Pius. It is not unlike that such an Idol Temple was, for it is reputed by ancient Authors, that the Troynovants, or Trinobantes, did sometime sacrifice Buls, Bullockes, Stags, and suchlike to Diana Tauropolia whom the Gentiles called the Queen of Heaven. Of the ruyns of that Idoll Temple, it is said that SERBERTUS King of the east Saxons, erected another Temple for the service of the living God, and consecrated the same to S. Peter, about the year of Christ 610. neer about the time of the building of Paules… I have heard that there are, or have been, records in the same Abbey, which declare that it was a Church before the Britons received the faith of Christ, which should seem to be that Idoll Church of Apollo before LVCIVS [i.e. Lucius].'

The last-ever Abbot of Westminster Abbey, John Feckenham (c1515-1584), made a statement to the nearby House of Commons at the time of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries; here is part of what Feckenham said:

'And first for the antiquity of Sanctuary at Westminster. It may please you to have consideration, how it is no less than 1,400 years since Sanctuary was there first ordained; for Lucius, the first Christian King of this realm (who, about 100 years from Christ, received the Christian faith from the holy Pope of Rome and martyr Eleutherius, by the ministry of the holy monk Fagan, who some call Fagan and Damian), immediately after that he was by the said holy monk baptized and instructed in the true profession of Christ’s religion, did destroy the Temple that then stood here at Westminster dedicated to the idol Apollo, and in place thereof erected a new Temple to the honour of the True God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of St. Peter, from whose sanctity he received the benefits of Christianity; and there he, by his free grant, ordained Sanctuary.'

This is a quotation from Arthur Penrhyn Stanley’s Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey, 1868, pp611-612; it discloses that Lucius was the founder of the first Christian church at Westminster; the first Christian church on the site of St Paul’s Cathedral in London was even earlier [see Aviragus]; here is what the Tysilio Chronicle has to say about Lucius:

'And after Coel, Lucius his son took the crown. And his temperament was like that of his father. And when he was firmly established as king, he sent to Eleutherus, the bishop of Rome, to beseech him that he might send teachers of Christ to Britain, to the end that, by their teaching and preaching, he [and his people] might take on the faith of Christ. And he, Eleutherus, sent him two such teachers, Duvianus and Faganus, and they preached to him of Christ’s Incarnation, cleansing him in holy and true baptism and all his kingdom with him.
And then Lucius closed down the temples that had been raised for [the worship of] false gods, and commanded that they be dedicated anew in the name of Almighty God and the saints. And he placed in them diverse orders of priests to live in them and pay homage to God. And there were in those days sixty-eight dioceses in the land of Britain, and three archbishoprics that governed them all. And these were in the three chief cities of the realm, to wit London, and Eboracum, and Caerleon-on-Usk. And when the land was divided between the three archbishoprics, then to that of Eboracum was added Deira and Bernicia, as well as all [the land] north from the Humber.
And to the archbishopric of London was given all Lloegria and Cornwall, as bounded by the Severn, And to that of Caerleon-on-Usk was given Kymry from the Severn onwards, because Caerleon was supreme over the other two. And henceforth the king made over to them large grants of land. And at Gloucester he died, being buried in the abbey there one hundred and thirty-six years after the birth of Christ.
And in those days there were in Britain twenty-eight [pagan] temples, with three other temples over them, and the lands of the temples were under the jurisdiction of the three. And to each of these [pagan] temples was appointed a [Christian] bishop. And to each of the three ruling temples, there was appointed an archbishop in the three cities aforementioned. Now, because Lucius had no heir, there arose unrest between the Britons and Rome, and Rome lost authority [amongst the Britons] from that day on.'
[Source: Tysilio Chronicle, pp34 & 35; see More 18]

King Lucius has been erroneously identified with another Briton, St Lucius, who with his sainted sister Emerita, died a Christian martyr’s death abroad [Source: Enderbie, p136]; King Lucius being an only child had no sister; St Lucius might have been a disgraced brother of Constantine the Great [Source: Holinshed, Vol I, pp44 & 45]; this would make King Lucius the great-great-grandfather of St Lucius [see above, Royal family tree] 

‘...our own Historians and Antiquities, most likely to make the most true and certain relation of this their so renowned King [Lucius], they set down the year, the day, and particular place of his death, and the very Church, one of his own foundation, where his body was interred: the day and year they say was the 201. year of Christ, the third day of October. For the place our old Brittish History saith, he dyed at Glocester, and was with honour buried there in the Cathedral Church...’ [Source: Enderbie, p137]


‘...the bones of our [King] Lucius were to be seen at Glocester. [Source: Holinshed, Vol I, p45]

Britain's Christian King Lucius is mentioned also in Nennius, Section 22 [see Sources], and in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Year 167)


[For further information on Lucius, see More 1]


Severus: AD 145-211; Roman emperor (193-211), founder of the Severan Dynasty, who came to Britain in 208 to pacify a country engulfed by a succession crisis caused by King Lucius dying without male issue; one of the local contestants in the civil war brought in outsiders; this ultimately prompted Severus to mount a Caledonian campaign, on the line of Agricola’s in the first century, and to reinforce Hadrian’s Wall; Edward Gibbon in his Chapter 5 describes Severus as ‘that warlike and successful emperor’, who yet was judged by posterity to be ‘the principal author of the decline of the Roman empire’, as be bloated and debauched the military with favours; his Caledonian war, Gibbon opined, was ‘neither marked by decisive events nor attended with any important consequences’; though Gibbon makes no mention of it, the British histories claim that Severus became King of Britain; Holinshed's table of kings ceases with Lucius [see Monarchs], yet another king list from the Tudor period carries the story forward:










...he dyed without chyld, which made

great variaunce in thys realme,

whereby the Romaines entred.

Severus, a Romayne Emperoure

began to reigne, about the

yeare of Christ.cc.viii[208].and reig-


Bassianus, Emperour after his

father Severus, about.v[5].yeare'

(A Breviat Chronicle, containing all the kinges, from Brute to this daye..., 1554; reign details omitted prior to Lucius; key names emboldened for clarity) 

Nennius wrote that ‘We are informed by the tradition of our ancestors that seven emperors went into Britain...’ [see Sources: J A Giles, p15]; the two before Severus are Julius Caesar and Claudius; unlike Severus, they are not in the above list presumably as neither reigned as monarchs in Britain; the local perspective is summed up thus: 

‘Therefore to use the speech of an other late Author, Severus by birth a Roman, but in blood a Brittain, and the lineal heir of the body of Androgeus, son of Lud, and Nephew to Cassibelan, was Emperor and King of Britain. [Source: Enderbie, p146] 

Androgeus was a traitor who collaborated with the Romans during their first invasions [see Julius Caesar]; he departed to Rome, where he prospered; his younger brother Tenvantius took the British throne, but Androgeus’s line was senior; in this analysis, when Tenvantius’s line died out with Lucius, Severus became a candidate for the throne; Androgeus’s genealogy is not available to support this material, but Severus seems to have issued a decree saying 'that none born of Brittish blood should afterwards be King of Britain' [Source: Enderbie, p143], presumably to knock out local rivals; Enderbie also has this: 

‘The Succession of the Roman Emperors...


21 Septimius Severus Britt. 18 years.

            Pessenius Niger}Usurpers.  [= rivals for power before Severus triumphed; note that

            Clodius Albinus                     Albinus was governor of Britain]

22 Anton. [Antoninus] Bassianus, Caracalla Britt. (the eldest son of Severus) six years.

      Geta Caesar Britt. the younger son of Sept. Severus.

23 Opilius Macrinus, 1 year 2 months.

24. Varius Heliogabulus (the base son of Caracalla) 4 years.

25. Alexander Severus (a kinsman of Heliogab.) 13 years’

[Source: Enderbie, p123] 

The ‘Britt.’ after the names of Severus and his two sons refers to ‘Briton’; yet there is more than British antecedence in the British histories; Severus was widowed then married another woman; the British historians say that his first wife was a Briton, ‘of very high lineage’ [Source: De Wavrin, p138], suggesting that Severus’s first marriage had been a dynastic match; the Roman records say that Severus died of old age and was buried at York in 211; Enderbie reports, improbably, that Severus was 

‘...slaine in battail by Fulgenius, or as others call him Fulgentius [Holinshed], brother to his [Severus’s] first lawful true wife, the Empress Martia a Brittain.’ [Source: Enderbie, p145; note that ‘Empress’ is inappropriate as ‘Martia’, in fact Paccia Marciana, was married to Severus roughly in the period 175-186, before he became Emperor in 193; for a religious anecdote about Severus's death, from Enderbie, contradicting a battlefield death, see Hyperborea] 

Fulgenius, who is also so named in De Wavrin, is identified as Sulgenius in Geoffrey, ‘ssilien’ in Tysilio [see Sources]; the quotation from Enderbie discloses that Severus was fighting his former brother-in-law; Fulgenius has been described as the son of Casnar, a second century claimant himself to the British throne [Source: David Hughes, p110]; Severus’s son Bassianus, who ruled as Caracalla, is wrongly said in the British histories to have been the son of Paccia Marciana and thus the nephew of Fulgenius; he was in fact the son of Severus’s second wife, Julia Domna; the unanimity of the British histories on this point invites curiosity; a son has been proposed for Severus’s British wife, along with name confusion and assassination of this hypothetical older half-brother by Caracalla [Source: David Hughes, p110]; in all events Caracalla certainly went on to murder his younger brother Geta, in the presence of their distraught mother, and commit atrocities across the empire; Caracalla was assassinated in 217; ‘Such was the end of a monster whose life disgusted human nature...’ (Edward Gibbon, Chaper 6)



‘Carausius, a Brittain of unknown birth, was of the Brittains made Ruler Anno Domminice Incarnationis 218.’ [Source: Enderbie, p153; see later in this notice for Enderbie's alternative view of Carausius's kin] 

Carausius was ‘an Usurper, as the Romans estemed him.’ [Source: Enderbie, p155]; the British histories relate that he was active in the time of Emperor Severus’s son Bassianus, who reigned as Emperor Caracalla and who died in 218 [see Severus]

‘The myth of Bassianus having a British mother is a confusion, as is the succeeding account about Caron (Carausius) defeating Bassianus. This has been looked on as a total anachronism, on the supposition that there was but one Bassianus, Caracalla. There was however a second Bassianus of great importance, brother-in-law of Constantine, who, when on the threshhold of the Empire, was executed on suspicion of a plot in A.D. 314...he would have been twenty-five at the revolt of Carausius, when he might quite possibly have been in command in Britain...we cannot accuse Tysilio of certain error in writing of Carausius overcoming Bassianus.’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, pp262 & 263]

The Tudor king list proceeds thus after Severus & Bassianus: 

‘Carassius a Bryttayne of Base

byrthe.                             viii[8] yeare

Alectus a Duke of Rome vi[6].yeare

Astlepiodatus Duke of Corn-

wayll                                 xxx[30].yeare

Coile Duke of Colchester,xxvii[27].


(A Breviat Chronicle, containing all the kinges, from Brute to this daye..., 1554)

The chronology of second century Britain is the subject of conjecture, with present-day historians placing Carausius much later than is indicated by the above list, in the 280s; yet the personalities are the same in different analyses, chronology notwithstanding

‘While these things were acted with the Romans, the State of Brittainy [Britain] was unquiet; and although Heliogabulus and his brother Severinus also, if Bassianus had any such son, was next true King of Brittain, yet neither enjoyed it; for by all writers, one named Carausius was King of Brittain, not only after Bassianus, but by divers Authours, sometime also while he lived, giving an overthrow to Bassianus the Emperour, or rather some Lieutenant or General of his, or of the like name here in Brittainy [Enderbie elsewhere names Quintus Bassianus], and so made himself King of Brittain; after whom by our Brittish History...Asclepiodotus Duke of Cornwall was made King; deposing Alectus, sent hither against Carausius with three Legions...; next to Asclepiodotus was King Coelus, Father to the most renowned Empress St. Helena, married to Constantius Emperor, and mother to great Constantine their son, our most glorious King and Emperor, after which time our History will not be so obscure as now it is...’ [Source: Enderbie, pp153 & 154]

Carausius is often said erroneously to have been of other than British extraction 

‘And he [Carausius] went to Rome to procure his Commission there of the Senate to be Admiral to keep the Brittish Seas. And after he was thus admitted Admiral, long time and divers years must needs be spent before he could come to that power by Sea and Land with Brittains Picts and Scots, to be King of Brittain, although he was as divers hold of the Kingly race, Ex regio Stemate, and Unkle to that renowned Christian King of Scots Grathnitus, though some stile him to have been of base lineage unprobable in a man obtaining such honour of the Roman Senate...’ [Source: Enderbie, p154] 

Carausius, uncouth freebooter to some, is portrayed by Enderbie as a Christian knight, striving to free his country from the ‘Thraldom of forraign Pagans’ [Source: Enderbie, p154]; after Carausius came Alectus and Asclepiodotus: 

Alectus sent from Rome by the Emperour and Senate, began the time of his government, in the year of our Lord 227...Asclepiodotus Duke of Cornewal as saith Gaufride [Geoffrey of Monmouth] (but after the saying of Eutropius and Beda [Bede] he was President of the Pretory of Rome) began his dominion over the Brittains in the year of our Lord 232, who upon his victory [over the Romans] was crowned King of Brittain by Parliament, saith Harding, and by common consent of the people...Dioclesian his persecution [of the Christians] began in his time...Asclepiodotus did reign 30 years, the same hath Hellenshed [Holinshed]...’ [Source: Enderbie, p155]

Coel II: reigned from AD 262 [Source: Enderbie, p156]; this Coel is not to be confused with Coel I of the previous century, who was the Old King Cole of nursery rhyme fame and after whom Colchester was named [see Coel I]; Coel II’s wife, Strada, was in fact the great-granddaughter of Coel I [see above, Royal family tree]; Coel II’s daughter was Helen (b248)[see next entry]; in 274 in Britain Helen married Constantius Chlorus, who went on to become Roman Emperor, and their son, born in 275, is known to history as Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor [see below, Constantine]

Coel II (woodcut from Holinshed's Chronicles, 1577 edition)

‘And it seemeth that divers Historians not observing that Constantius was here [in Britain] twice, marrying St. Helena the first time, and the second time receiving her again, when [after] Maximian the persecuting Emperour, had forced him to put her away [divorce her and remarry for political reasons], do thereupon vary and differ much about the years of our kings in those times...the comming of Constantius his son in law hither, the second time [296], very little before King Coel his death...it is evident by all Histories, that Constantius at the first acquaintance with Helena, was not Emperour, nor long after; neither was he at Rome, but in Britain, in this time sent hither by Aurelianus the Emperour, in the year of Christ 273; and (as both Zosimus and Suidas say) lived most here; and being sent hither by Aurelianus the Emperour (as so many agree) to have long imployment, and great cause to stay here; he must needs come hither about that time, for by all Antiquities Aurelianus died soon after, and was Emperor but a short time, so that neither Constantius nor Queen Helena could be either at Rome, or in any place but in Brittain at this time.’ [Source: Enderbie, pp155, 157, 165 & 166]

Constantius’s first visit to Britain was after Coel had overthrown Asclepidotus [see Carausius] or this overthrow may have occurred later, so confused is the chronology of the third century in Britain; in any event, Constantius came to Britain in 273 with an army to reassert Roman authority, on behalf of Roman Emperor Aurelian, who reigned 270-5; Constantius achieved a reconquest without bloodshed, marrying Princess Helen; the Romanophile Coel was left in control, while the chivalrous Constantius and the beautiful and accomplished Helen left Britain, a sublime couple [see Famous romances]; prior to Constantius’s next visit in 296 there was this:

‘In which time [c281] Bonosus...a Brittain born, usurped the Empire, with Proculus at Cullen, and would have exempted from the Romans, Brittain, Spain, and part of France, but being vanquished by Probus [Emperor, 276-82]...’ [Source: Enderbie, p158]

It was early in Constantius’s 296 visit that Coel died, leaving Constantius & Helen as rulers; when Constantius died in Britain in 306 his son Constantine took over as King & Emperor; a Tudor king list summarises the succession thus: 

‘Coile Duke of Colchester,xxvii[27].


Constancius a Duke of Rome,

as some wryte             xxx[30].yeares

Constantinus his sonne.xv[15].yea[r].'

(A Breviat Chronicle, containing all the kinges, from Brute to this daye..., 1554) 

With Coel dying in 296, a reign length of 27 years would take us back to the late 260s for its start; Constantius’s reign here recorded as 30 years must be partially overlapping with Coel's; Constantius died in 306, so a 30-year reign would have started in the mid-270s, which was when he first visited the island; Constantius & Helen were the founders of the Romano-British Constantine dynasty


Helen: AD 248-c330; British princess and one of the most distinguished individuals in all of British history; she also has one of the finest titles – Queen Empress St Helen of the Cross; the telling of the true story of this British noblewoman is one element in the rectification and reinstatement of British history by The National CV Group; Helen has been the subject of a triple misrepresentation as being (i) of non-British birth, (ii) the daughter of an unidentifiable innkeeper in the northern Mediterranean area and (iii) the concubine of the Roman General, later Emperor, to whom in fact she was married [for the interlocking evidence against these mal-assertions, see More 2]; the original motivation behind this scurrilous codswallop was probably not misogynistic diminution of Helen but a retrospective attempt to delegitimise her son Constantine the Great; the aim was to 

‘...maketh that most Noble Constantine to be a Bastard begot out of marriage, and so disableth him to have been the Heir of Constantius either King [of Britain] or Emperor [in Rome], when all Men know he came to the imperial Dignity by right of Inheritance...for as Cassiodonus is able witness, it is but a Pagan report, and raised first by Zosimus that most malicious Ethnick, and Rayler against Constantine, for professing and advancing of Christian Religion, and renouncing Idolatry...’ [Source: Enderbie, p166; Zosimus was a Byzantine historian writing c500; ‘Cassiodonus’ was Cassiodorus, a Christian monk of Italian origin who wrote in the 500s] 

Confirming, Helen was the daughter of British King Coel II [see above, Coel II], great-granddaughter of Lucius of Britain, the first Christian king [see above, Lucius], and great-great-granddaughter of the second-century Old King Cole of nursery rhyme fame; she married Roman General Constantius Chlorus in 274 and their son Constantine was born in 275 [see next entry, Constantine]; he was born within wedlock and therefore legitimate; Constantine was to be their only child [but see above, Lucius]

St Helen of the Cross - a British princess

'The first part of the fourth century is the era of Constantine the Great and his mother Helena. Gibbon, with the perversity which beset him as a mania in dealing with the leading facts of Christianity, strives to persuade himself that Constantine and Helen were not Britons, but natives of some obscure village in the East; his sole support for such a supposition being the fragment of an anonymous author, appended to Ammianus Marcellinus. "The man must be mad," states Baronius, "who, in the face of universal antiquity, refuses to believe that Constantine and his mother were Britons, born in Britain."..."Helen was unquestionably a British princess," writes Melancthon. "Christ," declares Pope Urban in his brief, Britannia, "shewed to Constantine the Briton the victory of the cross for his sceptre." ' (R W Morgan, St. Paul in Britain, 1861; More 11)

Note in connection with this quotation: 'Gibbon' is Edward Gibbon (1737-94), author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published 1776-88; the 'obscure village' is Naissus, now called Niš, in modern-day Serbia; 'Ammianus Marcellinus' was a fourth-century Roman historian; 'Baronius' is Cardinal Baronius (1538-1644), the greatest historian of the Roman Catholic Church, whose allegiance to truth was legendary, making him an inspiring figure for The National CV Group behind this website; 'Melancthon' is Philipp Melancthon (1497-1560), the German Lutheran scholar; and 'Pope Urban' is Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644); a chronological confusion runs through the British histories in regard to Helen & Constantius; what is missed, though not by Enderbie [see previous notice], is a visit to the island in 273 by Constantius on behalf of Emperor Aurelian, to reassert Roman control; it is in the following year that he and Helen marry, in London according to Geoffrey of Monmouth; here is what the Tysilio Chronicle has to say on Helen:

'And Constans took Helen as his wife, [she being] the only daughter of Coel. And she was surnamed Helen the Fair, for such beauty of face and figure had never before been seen. And a son was born to them whose name was Constantine, the son of Constans. And this is he who wrested Rome from [the hands of] Maxen the Cruel, he and his three uncles, his mother’s brothers, who were called Ioelinus, Trahern and Marius.'

Here is another recounting:

'…the old tradition of the Chronicle and numerous other independent records that the famous Christian empress and canonized saint, Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, was a British princess, the daughter of King Col…' [see Sources: Waddell, p185]

And here is the view of Holinshed [see Sources], who mentions Colchester, the capital of Britain in the Roman era, which was Helen's birth-place:

'…that noble emperor Constantine, and assured branch of the Britains race, as borne of that worthie ladie the empresse Helen, daughter to Coell earle of Colchester, and after king of Britain (as our histories doo witnesse.)'

Referring to Old King Cole of nursery rhyme fame, Helen’s great-great-grandfather of the AD100s [see above, Royal family tree], there is this in a well-researched history:

'The building of Colchester is ascribed to this King [Coel I], which is the chiefest City at this day in Essex, wherein Lucius, Helena [daughter of Coel II] and Constantine, the first Christian King, Empress and Emperour in the world were born, which made Nechan to sing as he did. 

From Colchester there sprung a star,

 The rayes whereof gave glorious light

 Throughout the world in climates far,

           Great Constantine, Romes Emperour bright.'

[Source: Enderbie, p130; see More 2, Appendix III]

Helen was an ardent Christian from a royal dynasty of Christians and during the reign of her son Constantine she undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; on the basis of purportedly finding the True Cross on which Christ was crucified, Helen became ‘St Helen of the Cross’; the 'Queen' in Helen's title 'Queen Empress St Helen of the Cross' derives from her rule in Britain with her husband Constantius Chlorus, until his death in AD 306, when she ruled on alone, in her son's absence; she was a real British queen; Britain has the greatest tradition of queens regnant in the world and, within that tradition, a history of long-lived queens - Helen herself, Elizabeth I, Victoria & Elizabeth II, the present sovereign [see later notices in this section and also British Women of Renown]; Helen’s ardent Christian beliefs, her high birth and the ultimate greatness of her son Constantine make her one of the most influential figures in the history of the West; the birth of 'Christendom' was a British affair

Constantine: AD 275-337; Roman Emperor from 306 until his death; Constantine the Great was a pivotal figure in the history of the West as he legalised Christianity in the Roman Empire; his mother was British Princess Helen, daughter of King Coel II, meaning that Constantine was half-British [see above, Coel II, Helen]; Constantine's father Constantius Chlorus and his mother reigned as monarchs in Britain after Coel's death; after Constantius's own death in 306, Constantine, took the throne, alongside his mother

'And St. Bede confesseth from Eutropius, that Constantine, succeeded his Father, in the Kingdom of Brittain...’ [Source: Enderbie, p166]

‘And this is he [Constantine] who wrested Rome from [the hands of] Maxen the Cruel, he and his three uncles, his mother’s brothers, who were Ioelinus, Trahern and Marius.’ [Source: Tysilio Chronicle, p37 , More 18]


‘Constantine, who reigned thirty years and ten months, was the flower of Britain; for he was British both by birth and country; and Britain never produced his equal, before or afterwards.’ (Henry of Huntingdon, c1129, The Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon, 1853, p28)

Constantine and his mother were members of a royal Christian dynasty, which is why Constantine chose Christianity as the Roman state religion; it is said that Constantine was even educated in a British monastery:

'…these Monasteries were all destroyed in Dioclecian his persecution… [including] the Monastery of Abingdon, where this our great King and Emperor Constantine, as the old Annalls thereof do plead, had his education when he was young…this great Emperor had an especial care of restoring and endowing this his nursing place of education.' [Source: Enderbie, p173; a marginal note cites ‘Math. Parker Antiq. Brit. P. 8’ and below that ‘Jo Goscel Eccles. Hist. Manuse. de Archiepis. Cant. propeinicium’.)

Constantine married Minervina, who has herself been claimed to have been a British princess, like his mother [Source: Wilson & Blackett]; when Constantine left his mother's native Britain to fight two other rival claimants to the imperial throne, his mother Helen followed; Constantine became a renowned Emperor of Rome, legalising Christianity across the Roman Empire and calling the doctrine-deciding Council of Nicea in AD 325, at which he personally presided; Constantine abolished crucifixion and built the original St Peter's basilica in Rome; by dint of a mother’s Christian influence, Britain - which had become the first officially Christian nation in the second century [see above, Lucius] - gave Christianity to Rome; it was not the other way round [see Joseph of Arimathea]; via Helen and Constantine Britain brought to a close the pagan era in the history of the West; Constantine decreed in 321 that on ‘the venerable day of the Sun’ the law courts and all workshops should be closed and the urban population should rest, creating the Christian day of rest and worship, which is still known as Sunday; Constantine considered Troy for an eastern capital, which would have coalesced his Brutus-of-Britain and Aeneas-of-Rome heritage, but chose Byzantium instead, renaming it Constantinople; it turned out to be a wise choice, since the city lasted a millenium beyond imperial Rome; it fell to the Turks in 1453 and was held by them until November 1918 when British troops, on behalf of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the First World War, were the first to march into what by then was called Istanbul

Octavius & Maximus: Octavius (also known as Eudaf) was a usurper of Constantine the Great’s crown in Britain, when the Roman Emperor’s attention was directed eastwards, toward Persia; if the British Chronicles are to be credited Octavius reigned for over half a century, from 329 until his death in 382; the Tudor regnal list exhibits Octavius and his son-in-law Magnus Maximus (also known as Maximianus) thus:

'Coile [Coel II]

Constancius [Constantius]

Constantinus [Constantine the Great] his sonne.xv[15].yea[r].

Octavius                                                        liii[53].yeare

Maximus cosyn Germayne [first cousin]

to Constantyne [Constantine the Great]   viii[8].yeare.

Gractanus, a Romaine.                                 iiii[4] year'

(A Breviat Chronicle, containing all the kinges, from Brute to this daye..., 1554; emboldening added; reign details before 'Constantinus' omitted) 

Octavius is Earl of Erging & Eyas in Tysilio, Prince of the Gewissei in Geoffrey of Monmouth; Octavius had a daughter called Helen (Helena, Ellen); she is not to be confused with the Empress Helena, Constantine the Great’s mother [see above, Helen]; lacking a male heir, according to Tysilio, Octavius offered his daughter in marriage and hence the British throne to Maximus, who was the son of Ioelinus, one of the three uncles of the Empress Helena who had helped Constantine to the imperial purple [see Constantine]; another of those uncles, Trahern, had been killed leading Roman legions during a failed attempt to recover Britain from Octavius in 331; Maximus began his rule in 383; he is called by Tysilio Maxen Wledic and is the subject of 'Dream of Maxen Wledig' in the Mabinogion; 'Wldedic' means 'Battle Sovereign'; the fact that Maximus was granted this status indicates that he must have been of native British stock and not Spanish as is sometimes asserted;

Maximus and Helen had a daughter, Severa [Source: Flinders Petrie, p277], who became the first wife of the usurping British king Vortigern [see Angles, Saxons, Frisians & Jutes]; their son was Vortimer, who also rose to the kingship 

‘By an inscription Vortimer’s mother [Severa] was a daughter of the Emperor Maximus; Maximus was Emperor in 383, and had married in 379...Maximus was killed in 388...’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, pp266; note that Petrie on pp276 & 277 mistakes Helen’s father for one of his counsellors, evidently misreading Tysilio] 

Gildas confirms that Maximus was a Briton, a ‘scion of her [the island’s] own planting’, as does the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Year 381), which says he was ‘born in Britain’; he was not a Spaniard as is sometimes asserted; a local rival to Maximus was Octavius’s nephew (brother’s son) ‘Conan Mairiadawc’ [Source: Tysilio, p37], an ancestor of King Arthur [see below, Arthur]; in the Mabinogion Conan is the brother of Maximus's wife; if he was a brother, perhaps he was not legitimate; Maximus gave Conan Armorica in Gaul (France, the northwest peninsular thereof, later known as Brittany) as consolation for losing Britain 

Conan of Meriadoc, now Denbighland [in North Wales], in the year of Grace 384, was the first Prince of the Brittish blood in Armorica or Little Britain...’ [Source: Enderbie, p204] 

Gildas and Tysilio both report this migration, which is said to be the first settlement of Britons there, though Enderbie has Constantine the Great sending retired British soldiers thither much earlier

‘And from there [Brittany], Maximianus went to Rome and made war against Gracianus [Gratian] and Valentinianus, emperors of Rome, and he straightway slew the one and chased away the other from Rome.’ [Source: Tysilio Chronicle, p38, More 18] 

In 383 Gratian did indeed die after Maximus defeated him at the Battle of Soissons in Gaul, which event is recorded as an Arthurian tale by Geoffrey of Monmouth, though, as we see from the above quotation, this error does not occur in Tysilio

‘And Maximianus was slain in those days [388, Emperor Theodosius] at Rome along with all the Britons who had come [to that place with him], save those who fled on foot to Armorica. And when Gracianus [Roman General in Britain fighting northern Pictish incursions at Maximianus’s request; 'Gractanus' in the Tudor king list] had learned of the death of Maximianus, he usurped the crown of Britain for himself, and lorded it over the Britons with great cruelty for many years. And in the end he was slain by his own men.’ [Source: Tysilio Chronicle, p39, More 18]


‘Now the Roman Monarchy was drawing on to her fatal period, when Honorius succeeding Theodosius his Father [d395] in the Westerne Empire, sent Stilicho into Brittain [c398] to defend the Brittains against the Picts and Scottish men, who assailed them in most parts of the Isle, working upon the weaknesse of the Province, in which (the most choice and able men, having been from time to time transported and wasted in the Roman Wars with other Nations) there remained not then sufficient to defend itself.’ [Source: Enderbie, p189]

The Romans under a General called Severus later fought off a further round of incursions from the north, then that was it 

‘And upon their arrival in London, the Romans commanded Guithelinus to proclaim that the Romans had sacrificed both their fighters and their fortune in the defence of Britain, more than they had ever received from the Britons [in tribute], and that from that day they would no more labour to defend it. And the people mourned loudly when they saw their allies deserting them. And so the Romans took ship and returned to their own land.’ [Source:  Tysilio Chronicle, p39, More 18] 

Guithelinus is identifed by Geoffrey of Monmouth as the Archbishop of London and indeed he is the penultimate entry on Enderbie’s list of Archbishops of London ‘from the time of King Lucius untill the coming of the Saxons’ [Source: Enderbie, p126, as reproduced in More 1; see also below, Arthur]; the period of direct Roman influence on Britain is usually deemed to have come to an end in 410; in that year Alaric the Goth sacked Rome, 800 years after Brennus the Briton had done likewise [see Belinus & Brennus]

'Western Rome was mortally wounded in 410, though its death agonies were to last two generations more.' (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1973, p23)

Romans in Britain: direct Roman involvement in Britain covered the period AD 43-410, following the short-term incursions of Julius Caesar of 55 & 54 BC that had led Britain to pay tribute to Rome to stay away [see Julius Caesar]; Roman influence in Britain is given weight in historical analyses, whilst British resistance (Boudicca excepted) and counter-influence is underestimated; the Roman Empire was the greatest empire of the ancient world and a powerful influence even in lands outside the immediate imperial sway; yet its impact was uneven and of differing durations; the Romans turned Gaul (France) and Hispania (Spain) into provinces long before they began the process in the more remote and mysterious ‘Britannia’, lying as it did across a forbidding sea; while Gaul and Hispania were full-on provinces, Britannia was arguably a looser affair, as judged by accounts in the Tysilio Chronicle and other ancient sources, with large areas outside Roman control and sometimes the whole land independent; the island was a frequently used launchpad by would-be usurpers of the Roman Empire; a good guide to the period is Tysilio, a renowned scholar concluding

‘That there is nothing improbable in all the relations with Rome, at least down to the fifth century, as represented by Tysilio.’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, p274, More 19]

Romans made up only a tiny fraction of the British population at any one time and made a negligible impact genetically; life mostly flowed on for ordinary people, economically and socially; local kingship continued, with one British ruler even declaring for Christianity as early as the second century AD [see above, Lucius]; as a corrective to overblown assessments of Roman impact, the graphic gives a polemical analysis of who controlled Britain in the Roman period.

Source of graphic: ©Alan Wilson & Baram Blackett 2009

This species of analysis is of ancient vintage:

'The whole Province of Brittain, as in our Histories doth appear, was highly esteemed by the Emperors themselves, assuming as a glorious sirname, Brittannicus, coming thither in person over those dangerous, and scarce known Seas; here marrying, living and dying; enacting here Laws for the whole Empire, and giving to those Captains, who served here, many Ensigns of great honours… Thus about five hundred years after the Romans first Entrance, and four hundred and forty six after our Saviours birth, the Isle of Brittain, which had been not only the principal Member of the Empire, but also the seat of Empire itself, and the Seminary of Soldiers sent out into most parts of the World, was now in the time of Honorius bereaved of the greatest part of her Inhabitants, and left a prey to barbarous Nations.' [Source: Enderbie, p192 & an earlier unrecorded page]

Roman influence in Britain could be ‘hands off’ as well as ‘hands on’; for example: 

‘...Nerva and Trajanus. There is no mention of any Lieutenants in the time of their Government [AD 96-117]... For the time of Basianus Caracalla the Successor of Severus unto Constantine the Great [AD 217-306], there is no mention in approved Histories of any Lieutenants in Brittain.’ [Source: Enderbie, pp124 & 125]

In Gaul and Hispania new languages arose from Roman Latin - French and Spanish; English in contrast owes little to Roman Latin and according to lexical (vocabulary) research and other studies probably pre-dates the period of Roman influence altogether, having not been brought over first to Britain as part of the later Anglo-Saxon influx as is often asserted [see English language]; the history of many nations was obscured by Romanisation, but not Britain’s; of European lands subject to Roman influence Britain has the greatest body of surviving records, which cover both the pre-Roman and post-Roman periods, notably Tysilio and the myriad records preserved in Holinshed & Enderbie [see Sources]; an early account is of the coming of Princess Albyne and her similarly husband-slaying sisters from Syria in the second millenium BC [see Albyne]; remarkable in this admittedly bizarre tale is the seeming identification by name or title of the king of the Hittites, an appelation unknown to scholars prior to the modern era; Britain has a written history going back well over 3,000 years; the Romans presumably came to Britain in part because of the mineral wealth of the island [see Mining]; they were not interested in acquiring a poor dependancy - avarice was for them a key driver; Roman influence was felt for more than 370 years; at its peak there were over 50,000 soldiers in Britannia, though many were recruited locally and saw action overseas, at times leaving the island depleted of military might; the first Roman colony was founded in AD 49 at Camulodunum, modern-day Colchester, to be sacked a decade later by Britons [see Boadicea]; the Roman legacy is said to have included the ideal of a unified country under one rule, yet unification had occurred in pre-Roman times, e.g. under Brutus [see Brutus], Dunvallo Molmutius [see Dunvallo Molmutius] and Belinus [see Belinus & Brennus], and according to Tysilio was in fact the norm; it was only around AD 120, in fact, when Emperor Hadrian took Roman imperialism to its historic zenith, that Britain was incorporated as a dominion and then only by treaty, with retention of kings, land, laws and rights; only from that period did Roman money circulate; its use on the island had previously been outlawed, as betokening obeisance [see Arviragus]; in return, Britannia supported three legions, officered by Romans; the idea that Rome civilized ‘Darkest Britain’ is risible; the Romans came for loot as much as anything, because of the riches of Britain and behaved despicably in regard to Boadicea and her daughters; moreover the leaders of British society and many more besides were the descendants of sophisticated Trojans and other advanced peoples; in Julius Caesar’s time – the first century BC – the British population must have been in the millions, archaeologists now reckon, given the number of apparent population centres; Caesar wrote of there being exceedingly numerous ‘buildings’ – not huts as depicted on tourist information boards; one speculation is that they were timber-framed forerunners of Tudor houses [Source: Waddell]; Bede, describing Julius Caesar’s invasions of Britain, wrote of ‘the strong city of Trinovantum’ (i.e. London) and ‘many other cities’ (Ecclesiastical History of Britain, Book 2); what the Romans undoubtedly achieved was not the bringing of civilisation but an infrastructural upgrade, for example of the baths at Bath originally created by a British king eight centuries and more BC [see above, Bladud]; one Briton met by Strabo (b64 BC) in Rome long before the advent of ‘Roman Britain’ was dressed in trousers, with plaid around his body; he

'…spoke Greek with a fluency, that you would have thought he had been bred in a Lyceum and conversed all his life with the Academy of Athens.'

The effect was still evident centuries later:

‘Britain was exceptional; Augustine [of Hippo] complained that Pelagius [British heretic, early AD 400s; see Christianity] prevailed in debate in Jerusalem by reason of his fluent Greek, whereas Augustine’s representative, the historian Orosius, failed because he had to rely on a faulty interpreter.’ (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, pp409 & 410)

The Greek explorer Pytheas, who visited Britain in the period 350-300 BC, reported that the Britons were renowned wheat farmers; large farmsteads at this time seem to have been producing food in industrial quantities, with Roman sources also describing exports of hunting dogs and animal skins

'...so happy is Britain in the plentiful Product of all manner of Grain, that Orpheus hath Nam'd it, The very Seat of Ceres; and formerly it was the Granary of the Western Empire: from hence the Romans every Year, in 900 Vessels, Transported vast Quantities of Corn, for the Supply of their Garrisons in Germany.' (William Camden, Britannia, 1586)

Britain was a prosperous, peaceful trading nation; she was not a pre-literate society mired in mayhem [see More 13 for R W Morgan's article, Pre-Roman Civilisation in Britain]; Julius Caesar said that the Druids used Greek letters and that the home of Druidism was Britain [see More 10, for Julius Caesar's description of the Druid's as literate]; the Molmutine Laws of around 420 BC were less harsh than comparable Roman laws [see Dunwallo Molmutius]; the Molmutine Laws gave rise, via Alfred the Great, to the common law tradition of the English-speaking world, while the roughly contemporaneous codification of Roman Law gave rise to the civil law tradition of Continental Europe; the Molmutine Laws were a set of written-down rules in the form of triple utterances or triads; they speak of contracts with witnesses, legal clerks writing down pleadings and a book as one of a tribe’s three ornaments, along with harp and sword; Ancient British coins had writing on them; archaeologists have identified a massive harbour at Poole, Dorset, dating from the 300s BC; this was a native British construction, as was another major port near Cardiff; Julius Caesar wrote of massive British ocean-going vessels and Tysilio has the Gauls learning of Julius Caesar fleeing Britain after his first invasion, ‘And they heard also that Casevallaunus’s ships were upon the sea to give him chase.’; walls around London were first constructed by King Lud in the first century BC, not by the Romans; between the invasions of Caesar in the first century BC and Claudius in AD 43, the Roman Emperor Augustus, who reigned 16 BC - AD 14, was visited by Cymbeline, who ascended to the island throne towards the end of Augustus's reign [see Cymbeline]; the British king was an honoured guest in Rome, receiving as a gift from the imperial hand a cameo broach bearing Augustus’s image; the broach has been found by archaeologists in Cymbeline’s tomb at Lexdon Mound, Colchester; when Claudius’s general Vespasian arrived on the south coast of England he marched his troops swiftly up a properly made road; a full road system in fact existed long before the Romans arrived, having been built by Belinus, amongst others [see Roads]; the Roman occupation was neither unchallenged nor complete (e.g. most of Scotland lay outside the Roman Empire); the key time for Britain entering the Empire was of course the Claudian invasion of AD 43, but almost as important was a peace treaty around AD 123 in the time of Hadrian, who made a diplomatic visit to the island; in between, there was a long and costly war; Geoffrey of Monmouth stated that Britain only entered the Roman Empire because of pacts between the Romans and leading royal houses, i.e. not because of grinding military conquest; Britain had been a tough nut to crack and she had had to be coaxed as well as cudgelled into compliance; Julius Caesar was astonished and his troops horrified to be met by war chariots during his two invasions of 55 and 54 BC, a Trojan legacy long since abandoned elsewhere, except in the sporting arena and for parades, in favour of the infantry phalanx [see Julius Caesar]; the resistance to the Roman invasion of Claudius was led by Caractacus, King of the Silures of South Wales; he was eventually betrayed, captured and taken to Rome in AD 51; seeking mercy, he described himself as ‘one so nobly born’, as well he might; he had, via Brutus, the blood flowing in his veins of Aeneas, the founder of Rome; note that the Romans had expelled their own royal family, the Tarquins, to become a republic; Caractacus and his family were set up in a palace in Rome, where they played host to St Paul; Caractacus’s son Linus became the first Christian Bishop of Rome, i.e. Pope, before the word was adopted [see Linus]; Linus’s sister Claudia [see Claudia] married a Roman senator; for Romans to marry British princesses, as they did, was not to marry beneath themselves or ‘go native’ but to add legitimacy to their own lines, restoring the link back to Aeneas and the Trojans; this put the British nobility in a uniquely strong position with the Romans; British intermarriage with Romans produced a Romano-British imperial dynasty that ruled the Empire, notably in the person of Constantine the Great; he reigned as Roman Emperor in the early decades of the AD 300s, legalising Christianity [see Constantine]; Constantius Chlorus, the founder of that dynasty, had come to Britain around AD 273 to bring the rebellious island back into the imperial fold; instead of war, he married Helen of Colchester, Venus winning over Mars [see Helen]; Helen was a Christian British Princess, the inheritrix of the British throne; she had very ancient blood flowing in her veins; ‘The Matter of Britain’, the island’s ‘legendary’ ancient history, was believed by Edward I Longshanks (reigned 1272-1307), conqueror of Wales and Scotland; he came close to renaming his realm Troylebaston, ‘Bastion of Troy’ [see Brutus]; Britain’s Trojan heritage was to be celebrated by Chaucer, Shakespeare & Milton, among many others; it was accepted as history until the Age of Reason led to the disgarding of apparent myths and the accession in 1714 of the Hanoverians, i.e. a Germanic royal dynasty; the Anglo-Saxon story was stressed thereafter, albeit without the fullest measure of conviction:

‘...even today tradition distorts national history by beginning in the middle, with the Norman conquest. For nearly half their known history the English are disguised as ‘Anglo-Saxons’...a quaint and irrelevant prelude whose study may safely be relinquished to a few specialists, while the Roman and pre-Roman past is normally abandoned to archaeologists and younger school-children... the cultivated ignorance of the English.’ (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, p420; note that the CVpedia thinks that the Normans are not 'in the middle' of the known history of Britain but two-thirds of the way along, if not more)

There was also increasing emphasis on the Roman Empire as a model for an expanding British Empire; for this model to apply, the early Britons had to be depicted as tribal primitives living in barbarous chaos, which they were not; yet at its best the Roman Empire was a force for good, bringing peace, stability and order; the Romans are reckoned to have had an attachment to their mother city that was uniquely strong in the ancient world; this derived from the Sack of Rome in 390 BC, a traumatising experience dished out to them by a British-led allied expeditionary force keen to snuff out the rising power of Rome [see Belinus & Brennus]; centuries later the Romans – by now in command of what was to be the greatest empire of the age – got their revenge, but not without enormous effort and a flow back to Rome of British influence, including Christianity; in terms of the Roman Empire, Britain was the ‘outsider inside’ or ‘in but also out’; Tysilio has King Arthur, no less, commenting  on the Britons and Romans thus:

'…our ancestors, Belinus and Brennus, the sons of Dunvallo Molmutius, vanquished them 
[i.e. the Romans]. And they brought back to the land of Britain twenty Roman nobles as hostages. And after them, Constantine, the son of Helen, and the great Maximianus [Maximus], nobles all of the land of Britain, they conquered as far as Rome and even Rome herself besides, and ruled there as emperors, one after another.' [Source: Tysilio, p57, More 18]

‘The term ‘Roman Britain’ conveys a clear meaning, even to those who know little about it. It ended in the middle of the fifth century; though the imperial government ceased to rule Britain in 410, yet the Roman civilisation of Britain and its political institutions lasted a generation longer, into the 450s, until about the time of Arthur’s birth.

    The end of Roman Britain was immediately followed by the age of Arthur...the beginning of modern British history.’ (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, p508)



'Britain BC' is a BBC documentary by Francis Prior, in which the archaeologist debunks the idea that civilisation started in Britain only with the coming of the Romans. Prior asserts that the Romans did not bring civilisation but instead meted out a 'brutal suppression' of a unique island culture of great sophistication

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgd6ENKK0mM (Episode 1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhJzoiFVg9s (Episode 2)



Saxons: these vicious pagan incursionists, who were to rise to greatness under Alfred and Athelstan in the 800s, took over what was to become England in the 400s & 500s, aided by the folly and fractiousness of the native Britons; the most renowned resistance to the Saxons was put up in the second half of the 400s by Arthur (r467-493; see below, Arthur), whose dates can be accurately computed as long as the correct year of 428 is assigned to the ‘adventus Saxonum’, the coming of the Saxons; the Saxons came from the Germanic northern coast of Europe, to the west of modern-day Denmark; with them over time as incomers came the Angles and Jutes of Denmark, together with the Frisians from westwards along the coast, in what is now the Netherlands; parts of the northern European coast were virtually depopulated during this migration, with Saxony in southern Germany the result of a secondary migration thence of Saxons from Britain; the Saxons and their neighbours were among the barbarians feared and detested by the Romans and it was during the first half of the 400s, when the Western Roman Empire was collapsing, that the Saxons gained a foothold in eastern Britain; the Saxons were not ‘Germans’ as such, merely one of the waves of peoples who passed east through northern central Europe; they outbred what had become their coastal homeland and were being pushed from the east by the Vandals, Alans, Sueves, Huns and Goths, from which peoples Britain was mercifully spared, though the Vandals turned up later [see below, Vandals & Mercians]; the period of the Saxon migration to Britain was from the late 300s to the mid 700s; the encroachments of these strangers ranged from raiders who settled, mercenaries overthrowing their British masters, insidious immigration and outright invasion 

‘Ammianus [Marcellinus] describes the Saxons and Franks ravaging Britain in 364 and 368, and a defeat of the Saxons in 374. This last was probably connected with the settlement mentioned in Nennius, of Saxons in 374 being received into Britain...’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, p269] 

The crucial figures in the early history of the Saxon takeover were (i) King Vortigern – ‘V’ for Vortigern and ‘V’ for Villain – in the first half of the 400s and (ii) the legendary but in fact very real King Arthur, who delayed the foreign influx for a generation in the late 400s, through victory in twelve pitched battles; mistiming of the coming of the Saxons, by a slipped generation, slews the chronology of the whole period and renders the very existence of Arthur moot; the mercenary leader Hengist, with his brother Horsa, and their trio of ships full of Saxons warriors - 'the three keels' - were invited to defend Britain and cordially received by the misguided Vortigern; the question is, When?; Vortigern, Hengist & Arthur feature in the Tudor king list below

'Maximus [d388] cosyn Germayne [first cousin]

to Constantyne [Constantine the Great]            viii[8].yeare.

Gractanus, a Romaine.                                          iiii[4] year

  Then fell muche controvercye for the superiorytye, and no

kyng knowen, untyll the tyme of Constantinus brother to one

Aldroenus [Aldor of Brittany], by the space of xlvii[47]. yeare

Constantine                                                              x[10] yeare

Constancius [Constans], a Monke of Winchester his sonne  v[5].yeare

Vortigere [Vortigern], king by force. xvi.yeare and then deposed

Vortunerus [Vortimer] his sonne                         vii[7].yere

Vortigerus [Vortigern, a second time], the father agayne ix[9].yeare

  Hengistus [Hengist], the Saxone reigneth in Kente, Sussex,

Norfolke and Suffolke, but alwayes in Kente      xxiii[23].yeare

Aurelius Ambrose [Ambrosius], brother to Constancins [Constans] ix[9].yeare

Uter [Uther], surnamed Pendragon his brother  xvi[16].yeare

Arthure[Arthur, d493] his sonne                   xxvii[27].yeare

Constantyne his cosyn                                             iii[3].yeare'

(A Breviat Chronicle, containing all the kinges, from Brute to this daye..., 1554; emboldening added)

The chronology problem can be stated succinctly thus: 

‘...the choice lies between the Welsh date of 428 or the Saxon date of 449, for the coming of the Saxons.’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, p265, More 19; he bases his analysis on the work of Daniel H Haigh, whose The Conquest of Britain by the Saxons appeared in 1861] 

Here is a prime example of the 449 date: 

‘An. CCCC.XLIX. [Year 449] In this year [Roman Emperors] Marcian and Valentinian, &c., and in their days Wyrtgeorn [Vortigern] invited the Angle race hither, and they then came in three ships hither to Britain...’ (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) 

The accuracy of the 428 figure can be demonstrated by reference to a missionary visit to Britain by St Germanus, which is well attested as occurring in 429 

‘And in those days did the bishop Germanus and his companion Lupus preach in the land anew the Gospel of Christ, for since the coming of the pagans there had been seeds of doubt sown amongst the faithful through the false teachings of that arch-heretic Pelagius. For that man had poisoned the faith of the Britons. But through the teachings of these holy men, were the Britons restored to the faith of the catholic church.

     And then came Hengist before the king, and desired him to dine with him.’ [Source: Tysilio, p41, More 18] 

Nennius (31 & 32) has Hengist arriving at around the time of Germanus, but whereas the chronology of Tysilio is consistent throughout, Nennius has various goes at the adventus Saxonum; 447 is the date given in his Section 50, while 428 can be determined from his Section 66 [Source: Flinders Petrie, p265, Item A]; the 428 chronology is patently correct in regard to Arthur, by reference to his own genealogy, the successive Kings of Brittany, the successive Archbishops of London and the then Bishop of Rome, among other lines of evidence [see below, Arthur]; what of Arthur’s predecessor Vortigern?; he is attested via monumental inscriptions [Sources: Acton Griscom & Flinders Petrie, p266] and his genealogy has come down to us [Source: Flinders Petrie, p277, citing Nennius]; Vortigern’s illustrious descendant was St David, born in 462; note that St David is Vortigern’s great-great-grandson; Vortigern was probably therefore born around 370 [Source: Flinders Petrie, p266], so the 428 Saxon arrival date fits perfectly and the 449 date not at all; having marshalled the evidence Flinders Petrie concludes thus: 

‘When we compare the authority of these two datings [428 versus 449] it is evident that all of the Saxon group might well originate in a single false reckoning...Looked at as a general probability it is far more likely that the British, with a settled civilization, would keep an accurate reckoning [428] during the troubled period, rather than the broken and shifting groups of Saxons.’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, p267, More 19] 

The ‘single false reckoning’ just mentioned would appear to be that of Bede, whose error became enshrined notably in the the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (exhibited in J A Wade, The Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England, also the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 1857, p309); yet Bede seemed to modify his view a few pages further on; consider first this chapter title from Bede, who calls the Saxons et al ‘Angles’: 


§35. In the year of our Lord’s Incarnation 449...the nation of the Angles, or Saxons...arrived in Britain, with three long ships...’ [Source: Bede, Eccl. Hist., I, xv, 35] 

Five chapters later there is this, on Germanus and his companion: 


§44. In the meantime, the Saxons1 and Picts, with their united forces, made war upon the Britons...’ [Source: Bede, Eccl. Hist., I, xx, 44] 

The editorial footnote is as follows: 

‘1 We here learn, that long before the period usually assigned for the invasion of England by the Saxons, that nation had acquired a footing in this island.’ (The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation by the Venerable Beda, Book I, In: J Stevenson, The Church Historians of England, Vol L, Part II, The Historical Works of the Venerable Beda, 1853, p327) 

Bede’s 449 date for the arrival of Hengist propagated throughout the historical literature of Britain, shimmering Arthur out of the fifth century altogether and into sixth century or legend; in reality, Hengist arrived in 428; Gildas (26) tells us that 44 years later Arthur vanquished the Saxons at the Battle of Badon; 428 + 44 = 472 [see below, Arthur]

‘The renewed danger [from the Picts & Scots] that prompted the British government to invite their...[Saxon] aid cannot have occurred much before 420 and 425; the first...[Saxons] arrived somewhere in or about the 420s, probably nearer to 430 than to 420. Very many texts call their leader Hengest, and give the name Vortigern to the British ruler who invited them, Gildas’ 'proud tyrant'. The Kentish Chronicle and Nennius’ Chronographer calculate exact dates by a variety of reckonings, putting Vortigern’s accession to power in 425, the arrival of the...[Saxons] in his fourth year, 428.’ (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, p38)

The full story of the period begins with the Romans quitting Britain in 410; this leaves the Britons to face alone the Picts & Scots - the 'unwarlike, plundering vagabonds' of Gildas 18 - marauding in time-honoured fashion from the north; the senior nobles of Britain elect Vortigern as overking, to unify the Britons in combating the threat [Source: Enderbie, ii, p177]; he is empowered to bring in Saxon mercenaries, a Roman tactic, but goes further into despicable collaboration with the pagan incomers, marrying the daughter of their leader Hengist, after divorcing his British wife, and conniving at a barbarian takeover of parts of the land; the vile Vortigern is even said to have committed incest with his daughter, whom he marries and by whom he has a son [Source: Nennius 39]; he is reprimanded for this by St Germanus and the British clergy; Vortigern is ultimately replaced by Ambrosius [Aurelius Ambrose in the Tudor king list, otherwise Emyrs], Arthur's uncle; Vortigern is rightly villified by history, all the more so because of the general character of the Saxons in this period, foully rapacious and treacherous: 

‘...howbeit those strangers which had there planted themselves, were for the most part better able to annoy other Countreys, then to maintain in peace what by intrusion and violence they had gotten. Among all the Germains there was that time no one Nation which for great adventures both by Sea and Land was more renowned that the Saxons... In the art of Navigation they were very expert, and lived at first by pilfery, and afterwards by open robbery, being trained up therein, even from their childhood, under a kind of discipline... There was no kind of Cruelty, in a manner new or strange unto them... These were the men whom the Brittains supposed best able, and most likely to assist them... The time of the Saxons first arrival here by the [erroneous] testimony of their own Writers, was in the year of our Redemption 450.’ [Source: Enderbie, ii, pp177 & 178] 

Tysilio tells us of King Ebraucus, the sixth monarch of Britain, who reigned in the 900s BC [see Ebraucus]; Ebraucus’s sons ‘overran Germany and won the kingdom’ [Source: Tysilio, p18]; thus it is possible to consider that there was an element of 'return' in this undoubted invasion by the Saxons [Source: Waddell] and might indicate why lexical (vocabulary) scholars have found the English language in Britain centuries before the influx of barbarians usually described as speaking proto-English [see English language]; ‘Continental Britanni’ are mentioned by Pliny and the various tribes of the Catti (i.e. British; see Tin) are described as being in the Rhine Valley by Tacitus; sections of the incomers in the fifth to eighth centuries may have spoken a daughter tongue of the original language spoken by their British forebears; the coming of the Saxons caused endless bust ups with the locals, but there was fusion too, as for the most part the Britons were not driven out; this interpretation is supported by evidence from genetic tracking which shows that above 60% of ethnic English genes relate to the people who recolonised Britain after the Ice Age (the figure is in the 70s % for Cornwall, Wales, the west of Scotland & Ireland) and that only 5% of ethnic English genes relate to the Anglo-Saxons 

‘…the Saxon immigration. It is represented by Tysilio as a long and gradual process, fluctuating in extent and always supported by a large party of the natives, and therefore always open freely to mixture with the native population. This is entirely in accord with the various statements of the [Welsh] triads.’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, pp267 & 268] 

Six main Anglo-Saxon royal houses emerged, with three major kingdoms of Northumbria in north east England and southern Scotland, Mercia in the Midlands [see below, Vandals & Mercians] and Wessex in the south and south west; the other royal houses were Lindsey (Lindis fearna), Kent and East Anglia; the supreme king at any one time was called Bretwalda; Wessex incorporated Cornwall into itself in the AD 800s


[See Beowulf]


Arthur: AD 452-93 (on the preferred 428 Saxon arrival date) or 501-42 (on the erroneous 449 Saxon arrival date); Arthur is a pivotal figure in the island story, as coming after the end of Roman Britain and before the emergence of England, Wales & Scotland; the correct chronology, detailed below, is straightforward, with the Saxons arriving first in 428, around the time of St Germanus’s mission to Britain of 429, and their climactic defeat at the hands of Arthur at Badon 44 years later, as reported by Gildas, so 472; Arthur’s lineage is also unmysterious, as it is given in Tysilio; it is exhibited below with the correct early arrival date of 428 for Hengist and his Saxon mercenaries [see previous entry]; Arthur is placed squarely in the second half of the 400s by reference, inter alia, to (i) his comrade in arms King Howel of Armorica (later known as Brittany), (ii) Arthur's own genealogy, (iii) the well-attested Archbishop of London Guithelinus and (iv) the contemporary Bishop of Rome, Simplicius. 

Kings of                                    Arthur’s                                                               Archbishops

Armorica                                  lineage                                                                  of London &

                                                                                                                            a Bishop of Rome

1. 'Conan of Meriadoc, now

Denbighland, in the year of

Grace 384 was the first Prince

of the Brittish blood in Armorica

or Little Brittain...’ [Enderbie p204];

‘Kynan’ in Mabinogion is brother-                                                                                  10. Thedredus

 in-law of Emperor Maximus                                                                                                                                          [Approx


2. Graldonus                                                                                                                    11. Hillarius


3. Solomon I          

 ____________                                                                                                      12. Guithelinus

|                            |                                                         [Tells Britons Romans going, Holinshed, i, p543;

4. Aldor          Constantine=Roman noblewoman                asks Aldor for new king, De Wavrin p157;

of Brittany      [br of Aldor]    [Reared by Guithelinus;                         rears Ambrosius & Uther, Tysilio p40;

[4th in Tysilio;      r411-23               Tysilio p40]                flees court after Picts kill Constans, Tysilio p40;

s of Cynvawr]                                 |                                                         quarrels with Ambrosius, Nennius 66]


5. Budicius I        |               |                            | 451                                                                           13. Vodinus

[Named by      Constans   Ambrosius        Uther=Eigr=Gorlais                         [Holinshed, i, p247;

Geoffrey of      the Monk       r-451           r451-467|         |                                         killed by Hengist,

Monmouth as    r423-5?                          b452 Arthur  Cador                      Enderbie, ii, pp180 & 182]

Howel’s father]                                                 r467-493    [raised Guinevere,

|                                                                                  daughter of Gogvram;                                 Pope

6. Howel                                                                     Tysilio p53]                                   Simplicius

['...with King Arthur                                                            |                                                        r468-83

in his wars', Enderbie, p204, also Tysilio;                Constantine       [Tysilio (p53) cites unnamed pope;

note that Howel’s predecessor but one,                         r493-5               Geoffrey (9:11) has 'Pope Sulpicius';

Aldor, reigned in the early 400s]                                  ‘tyrannical whelp                                 De Wavrin (p367) has

                                                                                                  of the unclean lioness                                     'Pope Simplicius']

                                                                                      of Damnonia’ [Gildas, Epistle, 28];

                                                                                           for Constantine's successors,

                                                                                         see below, Vandals & Mercians


r = reigned, b = born, s = son, br = brother; note that Eigr is also known to history as Ygerna and Ambrosius in the Welsh records is referred to as Emrys


[Sources: Kings of Armorica (Brittany), Enderbie p204; Enderbie names 21 kings before Brittany became an Earldom then a Dukedom; Aldor in Flinders Petrie is Auldranus in Enderbie, Aldroenus in Tysilio (which source agrees with Enderbie that he was the fourth king) and Aldroenus also in the Tudor king list [see previous entry]; Flinders Petrie (p278, see More 19) has Aldor as the son of Cynvawr the son of Conan of Meriadoc; Cynvawr ('Cynvor') is recorded as having been ruler in Dumnonia in southwest Britain (Source: Mike Ashley, A Brief History of King Arthur, 2010, p66); Arthur’s lineage is from Tysilio, pp39 & 40 (see More 18), as displayed by Flinders Petrie, p278 (see More 19); Archbishops of London, Enderbie p126, also John Stow, Annales or a General Chronicle of England, 1580, p39 (citing the twelfth-century ‘Iocelyn of Furnes’); Holinshed mentions Guithelinus as Archbishop of London in the text (i, 543) but not in a list of same (i, 247); instead Fastidius is named, a Pelagian heretic whose writings have come down to us (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, p342)]

Arthur is disclosed to be of native British blood, with an infusion of Roman nobility via his grandmother and earlier in his lineage; he was thus of Brito-Roman stock; Arthur’s grandfather was King Constantine, who was declared by his troops Roman Emperor Constantine III; Constantine's three sons were Constans, Ambrosius and Arthur’s father Uther; in line with Arthur’s exalted status, Gildas (20) describes ‘Ambrosius Aurelianus’, Arthur’s uncle, as a Roman gentleman whose ‘parents had certainly worn the [imperial] purple’; Arthur thus had a superior Brito-Roman pedigree, but died himself without legitimate issue; on Arthur’s grandfather Constantine and uncle Ambrosius there is this:

‘400-450. The Rhine frontier broke, 406/7. The emperor Constantine III, a Briton, cleared the barbarians from Britain and Gaul, but was suppressed by the legitimate emperor, Honorius. The Goths took Rome, 410. Honorius told the British to govern and defend themselves, legitimising local emperors. The British repelled foreign enemies, but divided in civil war. Vortigern (c. 425-c. 458) employed Saxons...to defeat the Picts, barbarians beyond the Forth; he neutralised mainland Ireland and reduced Irish colonists in western Britain. The British nobility, led by Ambrosius...rebelled against Vortigern and the Saxons; Vortigern enlisted more Saxons, who rebelled against both parties...and destroyed Roman British civilisation...A national resistance movement...was initiated by Ambrosius...and triumphed under Arthur at Badon, c. 495 [in fact 472, see below]. The [Saxons]...remained in partitioned areas, chiefly in the east. The political forms of the Roman Empire were revived, but its economy had been destroyed. (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, p518)

The chronology of the fifth century can now be laid bare, using the Tudor king list above [see previous entry, Saxons] and via an augmented version of Flinders Petrie’s analysis of Tysilio 



[Source: Flinders Petrie, p276, More 19; square brackets below denote interpolated material; Petrie refers to Ambrosius as Emrys] 


? Within one or two years. * Fixed points.


*410   Romans finally retire [from Britain].

  411?  Constantine from Brittany, till 423? [King of Britain & Roman Emperor Constantine


  425   Vortigern accedes. [After Constantine’s son and successor King Constans the Monk


*428   Vortigern’s fourth year. Hengist arrives. [With three boatloads of Saxons]

            Vortigern marries Ronwen [Rowena, daughter of Hengist; Vortigern's second wife].

            Octa and Ossa arrive [sons of Hengist].

*429   Germanus, mission. [First of two missions against doctrine of ‘...Pelagius, the

            Brittish Heretick...’, Enderbie p190; Nennius 66 & Tysilio p41 state that

            Saxons came at time of Germanus; Germanus leads Britons to victory in

            'Hallalujah' battle (Bede, Eccl. Hist. I, xx, 45)]

  434? Vortimer king (born 400?). [Son of Vortigern by first wife Severus,

            daughter of Emperor Maximus; see above, Octavius & Maximus]

  436? Return of Saxons.

  437? Massacre at Ambresbury. [By Saxons of British nobility, treacherously at peace

            conference. Vortigern was sole survivor (Source: John Morris, The Age of Arthur,

           1973, p84 & Nennius 46). Much of surviving nobility emigrated to Armorica in Gaul]

  438? Emrys [Ambrosius Aurelianus in Gildas, Ambrosius in Nennius 48] and Uther return.

[441   ‘Britannia, lost to the Romans, yields to the power of the Saxons’ (Source: Gallic

           Chronicle); 'In or about 442, Hengist was ready to strike; Britain 'passed into the

           control of the Saxons'.' (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1973, p75, quoting the Gallic


[447   Germanus's second visit to Britain]

  448   Death of Germanus [in Ravenna]. Hengist killed in this period in battle with Emrys

            [Source: Tysilio p45]

  451   Death of [King] Emrys. Uther [new king] takes Eigr [Ygerna]. [Halley’s

            Comet appears, dragon-like, so Uther called ‘Pendragon’; see below, Comets]

*452   Arthur born.

[466  Uther beats Saxons at Verulam, according to Chronicle of Sigebert, cited by Flinders

           Petrie p266]

*467   Arthur acceded. Deaths of Uther, Octa, and Ossa. [Flinders Petrie cites

           on p266 the Ulster Annals and Vincent of Beauvais as supporting 467

           as Arthur’s year of accession; he is crowned by Dubricius, Archbishop of Caerleon

           (Enderbie, p216); in Nennius 50 we read, ‘Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur,

           with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons.’]

[471? Battle of Llongborth 

‘In Llongborth I saw Arthur’s

Heroes who cut with steel.

The Emperor, ruler of our labour.’


            ‘The Welsh poem (Elegy for Geraint) puts it (the battle) in the later stages of the

            war...but before the war ended at Badon...’ (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995,

            first published 1973, p105)]

[472   Arthur triumphs over Saxons at epic Battle of Badon; this battle, quoth Gildas (26),

           was ‘forty-four years and one month after the landing of the Saxons and also the year

           of my nativity’; Bede, presumably relying on Gildas, has the same 44 year gap (Eccl.

           Hist. I, xvi, 38); taking the true date of the coming of the Saxons as 428, then 428 + 44

           = 472 for the Battle of Badon; this battle is recorded as occurring in 'Year 72' in the

           Annales Cambriae (see text)]       

[c490 Knightly Order of Round Table established; Enderbie, ii, p195, citing ‘Sir

           William Segar King at armes.’; Enderbie gives the Order's rules, which have thus

           come down to us; ‘For by the noble fellowship of the Round Table was king Arthur

           upborne, and by their noblesse the king and all his realm was in quiet and rest.'

           (Thomas Mallory, Morte d’Arthur, 20, 17, completed 1469)]

*493   Arthur dies. Constantine, his nephew, succeeds. ['Year 93' of the Annales

           Cambriae records ‘The strife of Camlann in which Arthur and Medraut

           (Mordred) fell...’ (see text)]'

The Tysilio/Petrie Timeline of an Arthur in the second half of the fifth century fits together neatly because ostensibly it is true; a particularly vivid date in this chronology is 451, which saw the accession to the British throne of Uther, Arthur's father; that year also saw a visit by Halley's Comet, which seems to have given Uther his soubriquet 'Pendragon' [see below, Comets]; yet calling the whole chronology into question, Tysilio gives the death of Arthur as occurring in 542 (More 18, p63); this is anomalous in terms of Tysilio’s entire prior account; for example, Tysilio has Guithelinus, Archbishop of London, going to Armorica to ask for help when the Romans quit Britain (p39), which is usually taken to be 410, and he also has Guithelinus rearing Uther, Arthur’s father (p40); the Tysilian chronology, as explicated by Flinders Petrie, cannot possibly be stretched into the 500s; like Tysilio, Geoffrey of Monmouth also has Arthur dying in 542; it has to be suspected that the 542 in the late version of Tysilio that has come down to us [see Sources] is an interpolation from Geoffrey, rather than an acquisition by Geoffrey from Tysilio; in this analysis, just as Bede gave the wrong date of 449 for the coming of the Saxons, Geoffrey gave the wrong date of 542 for the death of Arthur; note that the later De Wavrin, who was familiar with Geoffrey’s work yet seems to have had Armorican sources of his own, gives 517 for the death of Arthur (p405); this author delivers a priceless additional piece of information, the name of the Pope contemporary with Arthur; De Wavrin then contorts himself, presumably to make his ‘Arthur died in 517’ chronology work: 

‘But Gavain was one of the valiant knights of the world, for which cause the good Pope Simplicius [r468-83] who, in the spirit of prophecy anticipating the great prowess which would one day be found in him, had made him a knight with his own hand, and despatched him back to King Arthur in Britain, who when a young child had sent him to be made a clerk.’ [Source: De Wavrin, p367]

Meanwhile the Welsh Annals report ‘Year 92’ for Arthur’s death and this is usually interpreted as 537 (but see below); in the modern era John Morris gives 'c515'; cutting through this confusion is not difficult; the key source is Gildas, whose contribution is mentioned above; Gildas’s nativity, he himself tells us, was in the year of the Battle of Badon, which he says was forty-four years and one month after the 'landing of the Saxons' [Source: Gildas 26]; now authorities agree that Arthur was 41 or 42 when he died and had acceded to the throne at age 15; he could not have fought the Battle of Badon much before age 20; so the subtractions from Arthur’s death date are ~20 to get to the battle and Gildas’s 44 to get to the coming of the Saxons, say 64 years in all; take the suggested date for Arthur’s death as Geoffrey’s 542; 542 – 64 = 478; 478 is far too late for the arrival of the Saxons; on the other hand, consider 515; 515 – 64 = 451; 451 is better, but still too late, given that the Gallic Chronicles have Britain in the hands (temporarily as it turned out) of the Saxons in 441; in short, a death date for Arthur in the 500s is simply insupportable; in contrast, Petrie’s date of 493 for Arthur’s death works well; 493 – 64 = 429; 429 is nearly a bullseye, as the  Saxons almost certainly arrived in 428; the biographies of St Carantoc, St Cadoc & St Kyned intersect with the life of Arthur in the second half of the 400s [Source: Flinders Petrie, p266, citing the Lives of the Saints]; another divine, St Dubricius, is typically given dates of c465-c550, yet is described as a disciple of St Germanus, whose missions to Britain of 429 & 447 are well attested; in fact Dubricius, as Archbishop of Caerleon, crowned Arthur in 467, as he had crowned Arthur’s Uncle Ambrosius before him [Source: Enderbie, pp193, 187 & 216]; a guest list for Arthur’s coronation is available [Source: The Brut, pp80 & 81]; Dubricius inspired Arthur's troops at the Battle of Badon [Source: Tysilio, p48], dated here to 472; St Illtyd (also Illtud  and in Enderbie Iltutus) was Arthur’s cousin and is famous as a religious leader to this day in South Wales, where he was born [Source: Enderbie, ii, p194]; the greatest teacher of the age, Illtyd ran a famous school in the grounds of his Glamorgan estate, c480-c510 [Source: John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1973, p513]; Gildas was his disciple [Source: Enderbie, ii, p194]; the dates of Gildas are important in the present context, as he is the only contemporary writer whose work survives, though he does not mention Arthur by name [see Sources]; Gildas is usually given a birth year of ‘c500’ or 516 (following the Welsh Annals); this is inappropriate for discipleship of Illtyd; Gildas’s nativity, he himself tells us and as we have seen above, was in the year of the Battle of Badon, which he says was forty-four years and one month after the 'landing of the Saxons' [Source: Gildas 26]; as the correct date for the latter is 428, Gildas must therefore have been born in 472, aligning him with his mentor; Gildas’s dates have evidently suffered the same generational shunt towards the present as Arthur’s own; Gildas wrote bleakly in a peaceful period during the 'collapse following Arthur', as Flinders Petrie (p268) puts it, a period of petty kingdom strife and warlordism, one response to which was the rise of monasticism (i.e. spiritual men living as monks); as an aside, in the Annales Cambriae (Annals of Wales) the Battle of Badon occurs in ‘Year 72’ and Arthur’s death is assigned to ‘Year 93’; the coincidence of these dates with the 472 and 493 of the Tysilio/Petrie Timeline can be accommodated if Year 0 = 400; this also yields the year in which Gildas undertook a famous visit to Ireland as 521 (‘Year 121’), not 565 as usually reported, and the year of his death as 526 (‘Year 126’), rather than the conventional 570; the base year of the Annals is usually given by later editors however as 444, not 400, yielding dates for the Battle of Badon and Arthur's death of 516 and 537 respectively [Source: base date of 444, p3 in Annales Cambriae, edited by John Williams, 1860, Rolls Series; Arthurian dates p4, Gildasian dates p5]; although the odd-seeming choice of 444 catapults Arthur into the sixth century and into legend and speculation, this system is said to work for other early non-British entries; so the suggestion is not being made here that all the dates in the Welsh Annals are off by 44 years; no comment is being proffered on any other than the two Arthurian dates and, with less certaintly, the Gildasian dates; the Annals of Wales are said to derive from the Irish Annals, a body of literature beset by conflicting dating systems (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1973, pp144 & 145); Welsh input compounds the chronological challenge, but the annalist who interpolated the early British dates seems to have known the true chronology of Arthur and Arthur's next-generation contemporary, Gildas, while using a different base year to the Irish original

‘The Welsh or ‘Cambrian’ Annals...as in the Irish texts, the marginal AD notes are inserted by later editors into earlier notices, and, since their starting-point is too late, all events earlier that 550 are placed some twenty years later than the original version intended...’ (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, p145)

John Morris is right about there being an error, but wrong in suggesting its extent as 20 years; it is 44 years for the two Arthurian and probably the two Gildasian entries; note that without using Tysilio, Geoffrey, De Wavrin, Holinshed, Enderbie & Petrie, Morris arrives at Arthur’s dates as c475-c515 (Morris, p513); for reference, the life dates articulated in the present notice for Arthur are 452-493 and the regnal dates 467-93; Morris gives the Battle of Badon as c495, as indicated in the quotation earlier in this notice, as against the Petrie date presented here of 472; the 44 year error in the Welsh Annals’s Arthurian dates derive from the editorially chosen base year of 444, which it can be remarked is 400 plus Gildas’s 44 years

‘...the year of the siege of Bath-hill [Badon], when took place also the last almost, though not the least slaughter of our cruel foes, which was (as I am sure) forty-four years and one month after the landing of the Saxons, and also the time of my own nativity.’ [Source: Gildas 26] 

Note that Gildas says he is sure about the gap between the landing of the Saxons and the Battle of Badon; there is no obvious reason to doubt his accuracy; if the battle was really in 516 then 516-44 = 472 for the coming of the Saxons; this is preposterously late, although it is the true date of the battle (and of Gildas’s birth); so 516 for Badon is an obvious error; what of John Morris’s c495 for the battle date?; this yields c451 for the coming of the Saxons, which is also too late; so both the 516 & c495 dates fail the Gildas 44 test; referring again to the Welsh Annals, Arthur’s death in 537 is also off by 44 years and was really in 493; remove another 44 from 493 and 449 is obtained, which is the incorrect date of the coming of the Saxons provided by Bede, before he mused afresh later with c428 [see previous entry, Saxons]; cutting through this chronological mayhem, relating to the misuse of Gildas’s 44 years, let it be said clearly that the Saxons arrived in 428 and were vanquished 44 years and one month later in 472 by Arthur at the Battle of Badon; this Tysilian chronology, as disclosed by Flinders Petrie and developed by the present research group, doesn’t depend on the Welsh Annals one iota, but the two Arthurian dates in that, freed of editorial overlay, do support it; the Welsh Annals, but not Tysilio (p48), tell us that at the Battle of Badon ‘Arthur carried the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...and the Britons were victors.’; the cross will have been that acquired from the Holy Land by Queen Empress St Helen of the Cross, British mother of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great [see above, Helen]; Arthur had adventures overseas; these are impossible on a sixth-century dating, but plausible in the fifth century, when he can be viewed as following in the foosteps of other Britons, including Constantine the Great, Carausius, Bonassus, Maximus and Arthur's own grandfather Roman Emperor Constantine III; Arthur, we read 

‘...went into Ireland, and there overcame [King] Guillomer in the open field in a pitcht battail, constraining him to yield, and to acknowledge, by doing to him fealty, to hold the realm of Ireland of him.’ [Source: Enderbie, ii, p188]


‘About the year of Christ 490, there reigned in England then called Brittain, a King named Arthur, whose valour was so great and admirable, that many men now living do hold the same rather fabulous then credible...this most famous King having expulsed out of England the Saxons, conquered Norway, Scotland, and the most part of France, and was crowned in the city of Paris, from whence returned, he erected a certain association, a brotherhood of Knights...’ (‘Sir William Segar King at armes’, quoted verbatim in Enderbie, ii, p195)


‘The question is not only one of abstract dating; but, as Haigh [see Saxons] shows, the earlier dating [400s] makes it possible to accept as historical Arthur’s campaigns in France; on the later dating [500s] they are impossible...Arthur reigned from 467-493, thus rendering possible the account of his French invasion.’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, pp267 & 274, see More 19]

The narrative in Tysilio is in agreement with the abundant information on Arthur in other sources, including De Wavrin, Holinshed & Enderbie; the bones of the story are that Arthur is conceived out of wedlock by his father Uther Pendragon and Ygerna, widow of the Duke of Cornwall; Arthur, born in Cornwall – hence Tysilio's description of him as the 'Cornish Boar' (p44) – Arthur is taken away by Merlin and fostered elsewhere; he takes the throne of Britain at the age of 15, in AD 516 according to Holinshed but really 467; he leads his countryman valiantly against the invading Saxon barbarians and their allies the ever-rampaging Picts and Scots from the north, vanquishing them in a dozen battles [Sources: Nennius 50 & Enderbie, ii, p194] and ushering in a Golden Age; his wife is Guinevere, who is unfaithful to him; associated with Arthur are the Knights of the Round Table 

‘62. Morgan, the son of Adras, called Morgan the Courteous, and Morgan of Glamorgan, was a renowned king, and an Equestrian of Arthur’s court, and of the Round Table. He was Arthur’s cousin… It was he that gave the appellation – Morganwg – to his country: which name it has retained to this very hour.’ (Anonymous, The Genealogy of Iestyn the Son of Gwrgan, Date Unknown, p354)

The cousinship of Morgan and Arthur in the above quotation and the tenor of the notice count against the theory of Wilson & Blackett [see Sources] that Morgan’s father Adras, son of Meyryg, was the historical Arthur; Adras is the 61st king of South Wales in the genealogy and was apparently also known as Arthmael and Arthrwys; he is given by Wilson & Blackett the dates of 503-79; other authors have found Arthur to be a brother of Adras [Source: The Genealogy of Iestyn..., p355, footnote]; Adras’s grandfather Tewdric sychronises with St Germanus’s second visit to Britain in 447 [Source: The Genealogy of Iestyn..., pp 353 & 354]; Tewdric had probably retired by this time in favour of his son Meyryg, who was to have a short reign, we read; this gives a superficially satisfying synchronisation of Morgan with a late fifth century Arthur, yet the chronology of this entire dynasty is said to be problematic [Source: Mike Ashley, A Brief History of King Arthur, 2010, p60]; in any event there is non-compliance with Tysilian lineage, narrative, geography and probably chronology; note also that in Welsh Arthur is 'Arthur', not 'Adras', 'Arthmael' or 'Arthrwys'; the ‘South Welshification’ of Arthur is rejected; the real fifth-century Arthur was evidently related to the Silurian (Southeast Wales) royal house but not of its main line; the inadvertent displacement of Arthur out of history by Bede [see above, Saxons] has led to a proliferation of candidate 'Arthurs' [for a list see Mike Ashley, A Brief History of King Arthur, 2010], even including non-Britons; there is also the notion that the lives of more than one person have been conflated into a single Arthurian story (e.g. Wilson & Blackett); additionally, ‘Arthur’ has been described as a leadership title and the Saxon-fighting Arthur as just one in a series, starting in antiquity; the antidote to speculation is the real Arthur exhibited in this notice, fully compliant with Tysilio, which is the best available record we have of the period; the real Arthur is reputed to be have been descended from Joseph of Arimathea, another figure regarded as legendary but actually real [see Joseph of Arimathea]; the same claim is made for Guinevere [Source: Enderbie, ii, pp186 & 187], whose mother was of Roman nobility [Source: Tysilio, p53]; Guinevere was

‘...a right beautifull Lady, near Kinswoman to Cador Duke of Cornwal.’ [Source: Enderbie, ii, p188]

Loth, ‘King of Pictland’ [Source: Enderbie, ii, p189], who married Arthur’s sister Anna, was also reputedly of the Josephian bloodline [Source: Enderbie, ii, p187]; Arthur & Anna's mother Ygerna was a daughter of Amlawdd Wledig and her lineage is available [Source: Tysilio p48 & Endnote 398 therein, More 18]; Arthur is said to have instigated the festive tradition of the thirteen days of Christmas [see Christmas], at a time when ‘Arthur went to Eboracum [York] to hold his Christmas court.’ [Source: Tysilio, p53]

'And Arthur pacified the kingdom more effectively than ever before…And then went abroad his fame for prowess in battle and that of his comrades, as well for his heroism as for his liberal laws and usages, for this land had never seen the like.' [Source: Tysilio Chronicle, p53]


'K. Arthur a Benefactor to Schollers, Learning, and Religion.'  [Source: Enderbie, ii, p187; see Cambridge University] 

Arthur is ultimately betrayed by the satisfyingly named archvillain of British history, ‘Mordred, his nephew, the son of his sister’ [Source: Tysilio, p62]; Mordred, who allies himself with the Saxons, is killed opposing Arthur at the climactic Battle of Camlann (dated in Holinshed as AD 542 but correctly 493); Arthur himself also sustains

‘a deadly wound, and from the midst of Camlann he was taken to the Isle of Avalon to be healed.'  [Source: Tysilio, p63]


‘But in what light soever viewed, the achievements of Arthur appear to rest on real bases...  In the 31st triad (Myv. Arch. II. p. 63) Arthur is recorded as one of the three red (gory) chieftains of Britain; in the 23rd, as one of the three heroic supreme sovereigns of Britain; in the 21st, as the victim of his nephew Medrod’s treason; who, on that account, is consigned to perpetual infamy as one of the three detestable traitors of the Island of Britain.’  (Anonymous, The Genealogy of Iestyn, the Son of Gwrgan, date unknown, editorial footnote, p355)

Arthur has certainly acquired legendary accretions [see The Once and Future King], yet his reality and significance are easy enough to appreciate, even one and a half thousand years later; the desiderata in any historical investigation are lineage (Who?), narrative (What?), geography (Where?) and chronology (When?) and these are abundantly in place for Arthur; a fifth-century chronology in particular, rather than an aberrant sixth-century one, rectifies British history in this period; Arthur is justly renowned; of the provinces of the old Roman empire, Britain was the last to fall to the barbarian hordes, courtesy of the greatest fighting dynasty the island has yet produced – Constantine and his sons Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon and, overtopping them all, Uther’s son Arthur

'The change that turned Roman Britain into England and Wales is the sharpest snap in British history...In name he [Arthur] was the last Roman emperor; but he ruled as the first medieval king.' (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1995, first published 1973, pp87 & 506)

Comets: Halley’s Comet visited in 451, prompting a famous soubriquet: 

‘After that Aurelius Ambrosius was dead, Uter Pendragon...was made King in the year of our Lord 500 [in fact 451]. The cause why he was sirnamed Pendragon, was, for that Merlin the great Prophet likened him to a Dragons head, that at the time of his nativity marvellously appeared in the Firmament, at the corner of a blazing star, as is reported. Others suppose that he was so called of his wisdome and serpentine subtlety, or for that he gave the Dragons head for his arms.’ [Source: Enderbie, ii, p185]

‘And in those days a star of wondrous size appeared to Uther, having but a single tail. And at the head of the tail glowed the form of a dragon, from whose mouth issued two shafts of light, the one pointing towards the farthest reaches of Gaul, and the other Ireland which divided up into seven thinner shafts of light. And Uther and they who the star with him were greatly troubled, and they enquired of the druids [see Druidism] what it might portend. And Merlin, weeping, said, “O land of the Britons, now are you robbed of the mighty Ambrosius, a loss that cannot be amended. Yet notwithstanding, you do not want for another like him, for you, Uther, shall be king. Hasten to face your enemies and you shall win the whole realm, for it is you who are portended by this star like a shining dragon. And the shaft over Gaul portends a son of yours who shall prosper and conquer many lands [see above, Arthur]. And the other shaft of light portends a daughter [Anna] of yours whose lineage shall have an inheritance forever!” [Source: Tysilio, pp47 & 48, More 18]

Pendragon means ‘head dragon’, as in King of Kings of the Britannic Isle (Pen Draco Insularis); the other title is Wledig meaning battle commander; Ambrosius seems to have been a Wledig [Source: Mike Ashley, A Brief History of King Arthur, 2010, p189]; so the clever attempt may have been made with Uther, at the time of the stunning loss of his brother Ambrosius, the renowned vanquisher of the intruding Saxons, to unite the titles to inspiring effect, not least on Uther himself, with the comet as pretext; more prosaically it has been proposed that a climatic downturn in the sixth century was due to a cometary impact in the period AD 536-540; the evidence points to a global event involving multiple ‘Tunguska’ sized impacts, throwing up a dust veil, to the detriment of agriculture; the comet, reckoned to have been the progenitor of the so-called Taurid stream, presumably broke up in the inner Solar System; in the late AD 500s North Africa turned from Roman imperial breadbasket to desert, which may be a climatic aspect of the apparent impact


Vandals & Mercians: the Mercians of the English Midlands are usually described as of Anglic descent (i.e. from the Angles); yet there is room for a speculation that they were also derived in the AD 500s from the Vandals of North Africa [Source: Wilson & Blackett], as an influx of Vandals at that time is not properly accounted for in British history; the Vandals were an East Germanic tribe which descended into Gaul from Germany in AD 406/7, ravaging it ferociously; the British King Constantine, who was also Roman Emperor Constantine III and the grandfather of King Arthur [see above, Arthur], first secured Britain from barbarian attack then took an army into Gaul and defeated the combined force of the Vandals, Alans & Sueves; the remnant were allowed to quit Gaul, enabling the Alans and Sueves to seize Spain and the Vandals to seize North Africa; the Vandals indulged in seaborne raiding across the Mediterranean; Rome was sacked by them in AD 455, giving rise to the modern word ‘vandalism’, meaning senseless destruction; the Eastern Roman Empire fought back, ending the Vandal Kingdom of North Africa in 534; a portion of the Vandals underwent a seaborne flight to Ireland at this time; Tysilio refers to the arrival of the King of Africa in Ireland and his crossing into Britain, at the invitation of the Saxons

‘Gormund the Vandal probably fled from Justinian 534; he came [to Britain] in the reign of Caredig...’ [Source: Flinders Petrie, p267, More 19, citing Tysilio]


‘And then ruled Maelgwn...and after him ruled Karedic [Flinders Petrie's Caredig] as king...the Saxons sent envoys to Gormund, king of Africa, who was at that time ravaging Ireland, for he had come with a mighty fleet to conquer that land. And at the behest of the Saxons, this Gormund came to Britain with sixty longships filled with warriors [Geoffrey states 160,000 Africans]...And straightway Gormund and the Saxons slew [the Britons], burning their cities and castles and sparing none of them alive, layman or clerk...And when the Saxons had pillaged and burned [the land] and slaughtered [its people] from sea to sea, then Karedic yielded up all Lhoegria [England] to them. And those poor [ones who yet lived] dwelt in the furthermost parts of the island towards Cornwall and in the land of Kymry [Wales], bearing many assaults from their foes.’ [Source: Tysilio, pp64 & 65, More 18]

Reference can be made to the Tudor king list: 

'Constantyne his [King Arthur’s] cosyn [r493-5]               iii[3].yeare

Aurelia Conatus his cosin                                                        ii[2].yere

Vortiporius his son.                                                                iiii[4],yeare

Malgo [Maelgwn] a Duke of the Brytaynes reygned    xxxv[35].yeare

Careticus [Caredig, Karedic] of Cortyse, being but

of a base birth                                                                           iii[3].yeare

     Then fell great variance betwen the Britaines, which were

chased into Wales, & the Saxones by the space of       xxiiii[24].yeares

Cawane Duke of Northwales over a parte of this realme.xxii[22] yeare

Cadwallon his sonne reigned over the brytaynes         xxxviii[38].yeare

Cadwallader his son.                                                                  iii[3].yeare

     Here endeth the lyne of the Brytaynes, continuinge after

Brute.M.viii.C.xxii.[1823]years as [Tudor historian Robert] Fabian

sayth, & after this tyme this realme was called Anglia'

(A Breviat Chronicle, containing all the kinges, from Brute to this daye..., 1554; note that in conformity with Arthur's death being in 493 and the above reign lengths Flinders Petrie reports that ‘Maelgwn became king in A.D. 500’, p270, More 19; on the reign length given above for Maelgwn he thus reigned 500-35, which is at variance with the usually reported 534-549; see also below, Elizabeth II)

Whether or not the Mercians absorbed the Vandals of North Africa they, the Mercians, certainly allied themselves with Alfred’s Saxons in the 800s to halt the Danish Vikings; the sequence of events across three centuries is as follows: 

‘500-550. The central government disintegrated with the death of Arthur [493]...Numerous generals became warlords of regions, Malegwn of North Wales the most powerful among them, and provoked the resentment of civilians of all classes. A monastic reform movement on a mass scale freed the church from dependence upon the warlords; it spread to Ireland, and also prompted a massive migration to Brittany. Bubonic plague ravaged the mediterranean and also Britain and Ireland, 547-551. [Plague affected the native Britons more, as open to the world, than the self-contained Saxons.]


550-600. The second Saxon...revolt permanently mastered what is now England, destroying the remnants of the warlords. By 605, ...Northumbria and...Kent were between them supreme over all the English...


600-650. The empire and Christianity of Kent collapsed, 616. Northumbrian supremacy, 617-642, was overthrown by Penda of the Mercians, with Welsh allies...


650-800. The Mercian kings held empire over the southern English; the Northumbrian monarchy lost authority after 700...Scandinavian [Viking] raids began in 789, and sovereignty over the English passed from the Mercian to the West Saxon kings early in the 9th century.’ (John Morris, The Age of Arthur, 1973, p518)

Vikings: Scandinavians also known to history as Norsemen, i.e. men of the north, and later Danes; the Vikings were seafaring marauders related to the Saxons by blood; the Norwegian Vikings were established in the Shetland and Orkney Islands as early as the AD 700s and explored westward, reaching Iceland, Greenland and America; the Vikings also raided Ireland and west Britain, before turning to trade, setting up coastal settlements at Cork, Dublin, Swansea and elsewhere; the east coast of Britain tended to fall prey to the Danish Vikings; an early British (pre-Roman) occupation of Denmark is recorded in the Tysilio Chronicle, so the Danish Vikings at least had Ancient British blood coursing in their cruel veins; the famous monastery of Lindisfarne was sacked in AD 793 and the following year the same fate befell the nearby monastery of Jarrow, where Bede, 672/3-735, had laboured on his ecclesiastical history of England and many other notable works; peace ensued until 850 when 350 Danish Viking longships sailed up the Thames; a series of battles rolled for years across the countryside, with fortune favouring first one side then the other, with only Alfred’s Wessex offering successful resistance; after an unexpected victory by Alfred in 878, a treaty established that on one side of Watling Street, running from London to Chester, Danelaw would supervene, on the other the law of the West Saxons and the Mercians; this divided the land between the Danes in the east and everyone else in the west; in some places Old English and Old Norse were spoken in neighbouring hamlets; Alfred’s successors conquered Danelaw in the AD 900s, ruling over a united kingdom; but raids began again from Scandinavia towards the end of that century, culminating in the offer of the English throne to a Danish king of Denmark and Norway, Canute, in 1016; this illustrates a theme of British history, that if you delay barbarian adventurers long enough they will elevate themselves sufficiently to provide an impressive ruler; Canute the Great, as he is known to history, ruled until 1035; the descendants of Alfred the Great finally regained the throne in 1042, with the ascension of Edward the Confessor; subsequently, a Norwegian invasion was defeated by Harold Godwinson at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire in 1066, but that proved insufficient to save him and the country from the Viking descendant threatening the other end of the country, in the person of William, Duke of Normandy [see below, William the Conqueror]

Egbert: reigned 802-39; House of Wessex; first king to be recognised in the post-Roman era as sovereign of most of what is now England, albeit for only a short period, around 829; buried at Winchester, which had been established as a seat of government by Dunvallo Molmutius (434 – 394 BC) and used thus by Canute the Great (reigned over England 1016-35); Egbert was the grandfather of Alfred the Great; Egbert, according to Holinshed's Chronicle, named England [see Name]

Aethelwulf: reigned 839-55; House of Wessex

Kenneth I MacAlpin: in 843 united Scots & Picts for the first time into a unified Scotland; Scotland merged with England in 1707 to become the United Kingdom [see below, Anne]

Aethelbald: reigned 855-60; House of Wessex

Aethelbert: reigned 860-6; House of Wessex

Aethelred I: reigned 866-71; House of Wessex

Edmund the Martyr of East Anglia: tortured to death by Vikings in 869; interred at Bury St Edmunds, Norfolk (in which county is the greatest concentration of medieval churches in the world, 659 in number)

Alfred the Great: reigned 871-99; of the House of Wessex, Alfred was born in Wantage, Oxfordshire, in 849; fought off the Danish Vikings for 20 years to 896, capturing back the ancient capital, London, in 886; he built a fleet to meet the Danish enemy at sea; this is often seen as the origin of the Royal Navy, but fleets had been organised long before this; Alfred also organised an army that could be called up in sections, enabling him to fight long sustained campaigns, and built a chain of fortifications known as burhs around his borders; Alfred wanted to see everyone educated, but having no scholars of his own called in Geraint (called Asser) from Wales, John Iregena from Ireland and John Scottius from Scotland; Alfred was a great lawmaker, building on precedents [see Human rights]:

'He [Dunvallo Molmutius] also made manie good lawes, which were long after vsed, called Mulmucius lawes, turned out of the British spéech into the Latine by Gildas Priscus, and long time after translated out of latine into english by Alfred king of England, and mingled in his statutes.' (Holinshed’s Chronicles, Vol I, p451)

Alfred commissioned the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a history of his people written in Old English, which was still being updated in the mid-1100s, when it had reached 100,000 words; Alfred is said to have visited Rome twice; legend has it that while on the run from the Danes Alfred was asked to look after some cakes by a housewife; he let them burn, earning a woman’s scalding; history’s most famous candle clock, though probably not the first, was Alfred’s, from around 878; this consisted of 6 identical 12 inch candles, divided into 12 sections each of one inch; each candle burnt away completely in four hours, making each division equal to 20 minutes; the candles were placed in cases made of wooden frames, with sides of translucent horn; in his battles with the Danes, Alfred was helped by the Mercians, in what is now the known as the English West Midlands [see next entry]; custodial prison sentences were first introduced in 983 in Britain under King Alfred for breaking a pledge; prisoners were fed by relatives unless there were none [Source: Robertson/Shell; see Prison reform]

Edward the Elder: reigned 899-925; House of Wessex

Athelstan the Glorious: reigned 924-39; Alfred’s golden-haired grandson was the first king since before the Romans to rule all of England as we now understand it geographically, being accepted as overking in 927; in fact he was to become the first post-Roman ruler to unite the kingdoms of England (including Cornwall), Scotland (at least to the Firth of Forth) & Wales, with Athelstan declaring himself King of Britain; at the Battle of Malmesbury, in which Athelstan, a Christian king, defeated the pagan Danish Vikings, he is said to have had with him the Spear of Destiny, the lance that pierced the side of Christ and which had been in the possession of Charlemagne; Athelstan handed this on in the marriage of his half-sister to Otto the Great, the Holy Roman Emperor; he is also said also to have had in his possession the Sword of Constantine the Great, half-British Emperor of Rome, a weapon believed to incorporate nails from Christ’s cross; these gifts symbolized the transfer of imperium from the Carolingians on the Continent to the West Saxon descendants of Cerdic; at the cataclysmic Battle of Brunanburh in 937 in the north-west of England, Athelstan beat an invading coalition of Irish, Danish Vikings, Scots & others, killing five kings, one earl and the King of Scotland’s eldest son; this fully established England, but at such a cost that it confirmed Scotland’s autonomy; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describes the conflict as ‘the Great Battle’, and breaks away from dry prose into poetry; Athelstan captured the imagination of the age as a Christian king and hero defending his land against a pagan barbarian onslaught [see More 6]; Athelstan, his father Edward & his grandfather Alfred are the second greatest dynasty of fighting monarchs in British history, after Arthur and his forebears [see Arthur]

Edmund I: reigned 940-6; House of Wessex

Eadred: reigned 946-55; House of Wessex

Eadwig (Edwy): reigned 955-75; House of Wessex

Edgar: reigned 959-75; House of Wessex

Edward the Martyr: reigned 975-8; House of Wessex

Aethelred II: reigned 978-1016; House of Wessex

Edmund II, Ironside: 1016; House of Wessex

Svein Forkbeard: reigned 1014; Danish Line

Canute the Great: reigned 1016-35; Danish Line; he was king of Denmark & Norway too; famously, Canute sat on the beach on his throne and commanded the waves to halt; he got his feet wet; he did this not because he was a megalomaniacal lunatic but to show that he couldn’t do it, to stop his courtiers flattering him Harald Harefoot: reigned 1035-40; Danish Line

Hardicanute: reigned 1040-2; Danish Line

Edward the Confessor: reigned 1042-66; House of Wessex, Restored; founded Westminster Abbey; it had been the site of a Ancient British Temple of Apollo, which had been destroyed by an earthquake in Roman times [see Press release 1]; Edward died eight days after building work there had ceased and the building consecrated; he was canonised

Harold II: reigned 1066; House of Wessex, Restored

William the Conqueror: reigned 1066-87; William I brought about the Norman Conquest; 1066 saw the Battle of Hastings and defeat for King Harold II and his army; the victor was William the Bastard, though presumably no-one used this appelation to his face; William, Duke of Normandy, was an ancestor of Rollo the Viking, who took over Normandy in AD 911; the Normans were not Gaulish French but Norsemen, i.e. men of the north’, Scandinavia; arrival is a Norman word, from Latin adripare, ‘to come ashore’; the Bayeux Tapestry – in fact needlework on linen – showing the events of 1066 was embroidered in Canterbury not Bayeux; it is one of history’s greatest artworks; William commissioned the Domesday Book of 1086, a national reckoning of landholdings and resources; originally known as the ‘Winchester Roll’ or ‘King’s Roll’, this work was intended to be authoritative in the manner of a ‘doomsday judgement’, hence the title under which it has come down to us; the Domesday Book has a minor claim to fame as the earliest attested use of the pointing hand indicator [see Typography]; the Domesday Book was one of earliest national ownership surveys ever conducted, in this case of 2 million inhabitants; this is an intriguing number, as being lower than the estimated number of inhabitants on the island in Ancient Britain; William invaded Scotland and forced Malcolm III to accept the peace of Abernethy and become his vassal; a renowned Saxon resistance fighter against the Normans was Hereward the Wake, operating in and around the Isle of Ely; for his valour he was ultimately pardoned by William; William’s son Henry I married into the bloodline of the defeated house of Wessex; another Norman Conquest in the same period was that of Sicily; the Norman kingdom there lasted until 1189

William II: William Rufus  reigned 1087-1100; Norman Line

Henry I: reigned 1100-35; fourth son of William I, Norman Line; Henry 'Beauclerc' married into the bloodline of the vanquished house of Wessex, in the person of Edith (Matilda) of Scotland; he fostered good laws, albeit with ferocious penalties; his reform of the legal system earned him the soubriquet Lion of Justice

Stephen: reigned 1135-54; Norman Line

Matilda: reigned 1141; last of the Norman Line founded by William the Conqueror

Ruling houses before and after the Normans:













These can be recollected using the following mnemonic:

Why Do We Need Plans Like Yours To Study History So Well?

(In the context of The National CV of Britain, one answer to this question is that the island’s generally positive history can be used to inspire latter-day Britons with a dynamic, forward-looking sense of identity.)

In more detail, the royal houses preceding the Normans were the House of Wessex (Egbert to Edmund Ironside), the Danish Line (Svein Forkbeard to Hardicanute) and the House of Wessex, Restored (Edward the Confessor & Harold II); after the Normans there were the Plantagenet, Angevin Line (Henry II to Richard II), Plantagenet, Lancastrian Line (Henry IV to Henry VI), Plantagenet, Yorkist Line (Edward IV to Richard III), Tudor (Henry VII to Elizabeth I), Stuart (James I & Charles I), the Commonwealth (Oliver & Richard Cromwell), Stuart, Restored (Charles II & James II), Orange & Stuart (William & Mary), Stuart (Anne), Brunswick, Hanover Line (George I to Victoria) & Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Edward VII); in the most recent era there has been the House of Windsor, which has so far run from George V to the present queen, Elizabeth II; much of this history is recounted facetiously in 1066 and All That by WC Sellar & RJ Yeatman, 1930, in which are described ‘103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates’ (the other date being 55 BC, that of the first incursion by Julius Caesar); on the Divine Right of Kings, Sellars and Yeatman wrote, ‘(a) He was King and that was right; (b) Kings were divine, and that was right; (c) Kings were right, and that was right; (d) Everything was all right.’; in regard to early Scottish history:

'The Scots (originally Irish, but by now Scotch) were at this time inhabiting Ireland, having driven the Irish (Picts) out of Scotland; while the Picts (originally Scots) were now Irish (living in brackets) and vice versa. It is essential to keep these distinctions clearly in mind and verse visa.' (WC Sellar & RJ Yeatman, 1066 and All That, 1930)

Henry II: reigned 1154-89; founded the Plantagenet dynasty of English kings, Angevin Line, and ruled most of France; Henry II laid the foundations of the jury system, i.e. trial by jury [see Human rights]; this was a reintroduction based on an earlier tradition tracing back through Alfred the Great to the Molmutine Laws [see Dunvallo Molmutius]; Henry taxed landholders to pay for a militia; his mistress was Fair Rosamund; Henry is most remembered for the murder by his knights in 1170 of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett, for which deed Henry did penance

Richard the Lionheart: reigned 1189-99; Richard I was the greatest general of the age; in the Holy Land in 1192 he captured Acre and defeated Saladin (born 1138), the knightly Kurdish warrior, at Arsuf, on St George’s Day; Richard was seized on his way home and imprisoned; he was ransomed from Austrian captivity with the largest pile of gold accumulated up to that time; Sidney Smith, evidently seeing himself as a latter-day Richard the Lionheart, played a key role with his British troops in the defeat at the seige of Acre in 1799 of Napoleon, no less, on the latter’s ill-fated Egyptian campaign

John: reigned 1199-1216; John ‘Lackland’ – so named because of a lack of inherited land – is the ultimate enemy in the legend of Robin Hood; he was cruel, selfish and greedy; John was excommunicated by the Pope; John was also nicknamed ‘Softsword’, according to his contemporary Gervase of Canterbury, because he negotiated a peace with France, where he had lost much territory; John is remembered as acquiescing to the English barons and sealing Magna Carta – the ‘Great Charter’ – the forerunner of all modern constitutions [see Constitutions]; with this action he conceded that he couldn’t trample the rights of the people; even the king had to stay within the law; this was a crucial milestone in the rise of the rule of law; Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, wrote that “When the long tally is added, it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labour of more virtuous sovereigns”

Henry III: reigned 1216-72; Henry convened at Westminster an unelected ‘Parlement’, from French parler, ‘to speak’

Simon de Montfort: rebel against Henry III; as de facto ruler called the first directly elected parliament in Medieval Europe, 1265, and hence is the true father of the Mother of Parliaments; a pioneer of representative government, he was killed in battle by the future
Edward I

Edward I Longshanks: reigned 1272-1307; Edward I campaigned in Wales and Scotland, to brutal effect; first Parliament to which Commons directly summoned and given authority, 1283; the Model Parliament of 1295 was a concourse of knights, clergy, nobility and burgesses of the cities, bringing together for the first time the Lords and the Commons; Edward said “That it was right that what concerned all, should be approved of all.”; the first writ of habeas corpus was issued in 1305 [see Human rights]; Edward considered changing the name of Britain to Troylebaston, ‘Bastion of Troy’, to reflect what he felt was Britain’s Trojan ancestry [see Brutus]

Robert the Bruce: Robert I, King of Scots, reigned 1306-29; hiding in a cave, he is said to have been inspired to fight on by a spider that didn’t give up trying to spin a web in difficult cricumstances; secured Scotland’s independence from England after defeating Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314; Robert upheld the equality of everybody before the law (in the Ayr Manuscript) and the notion that a king should rule only with the consent of the people; the latter thought, that the allegiance of the people to the Scot’s king was conditional rather than blind, was articulated in the Declaration of Arbroath, of 1320

Edward II: reigned 1307-27; legendary death in 1327 by red hot poker up the rear

Edward III: reigned 50 years, 1327-77; stability and military success, albeit the middle of this monarch's reign was overtaken by utter disaster, with the arrival of the Black Death (see later); Edward destroyed the French fleet at the Battle of Sluys, 1340, capturing 200 enemy vessels; this is one of the most overwhelming naval victories of all time; it was a victory for the English longbow, which could be fired at five times the rate of the rival crossbow; 1,000 English ships carried 13,600 men; Sluys ended a threat of French invasion and meant that the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), initiated by Edward’s claim to the throne of France, was fought on French soil; there with victories for Edward at the land battles of Crécy (1346) & Poitiers (1356); at the latter, won by Edward’s eldest son, the Black Prince, the French king himself was captured; this reign marked the start of England’s rise to greatness; the Most Noble Order of the Garter was created in 1348 to celebrate the victory at Crécy and the capture of Calais in 1347 (retained until 1558); the Order was headed by Edward and the Black Prince; this was the high point of the ‘Age of Chivalry’, which was inspired by stories of King Arthur, themselves engendered by Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain of 1136; just as Edward III came back from France to found his Order, so King Arthur had returned around 490 from victory in France to found the Order of the Knights of the Round Table [see Arthur]; Edward III's courtiers sniggered when the Countess of Salisbury’s garter fell; Edward III picked it up, saying “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (‘Shame to him who sees wrong in it’ or ‘Shamed be he who thinks evil of it’), slipping said item on to his own leg; in an alternative telling, the ‘it’ of this motto, which appears on the British royal coat of arms and above courtrooms in England and Wales, is a reference to Edward’s claim to the French throne; 24 knights comprise the Order at any one time, this being the same number as the knights who sat with King Arthur at his Round Table; the Order is the world’s oldest and premier order of chivalry; it is headed today by HM Queen Elizabeth II; the 1000th member was her grandson, Prince William, b1982; when forming the Order, King Edward III made St George Patron Saint of England; less exaltedly, Edward III defaulted on debts to Florentine banks in 1340 and thus caused the first true international debt crisis [see Paying your debts]; also in the year of the Order’s foundation, 1348, the Black Death struck, eventually killing 30-50% of the population; this was the greatest calamity ever to hit the island


Richard II: reigned 1377-99; 1381 saw the Peasants’ Revolt, led by Wat Tyler, over what was seen by the people as the unjust levying of a poll tax; Tyler was killed and the revolt suppressed; Richard II gave his word to right wrongs but later reneged on his promises; his comeuppance came eventually when he was deposed and killed; Richard was followed onto the throne by Henry IV (reigned 1399-1413)

Owain Glyn Dwr: a Welsh revolutionary against Henry IV (reigned 1399-1413), who declared himself Prince of Wales in 1400; in a letter the following year asking assistance of the King of Scots, he wrote that

'Brutus, your most noble ancestor and mine, was the first crowned king who dwelt in this realm of England, which of old times was called Great Britain. The which Brutus begat three sons, to wit Albanact, Locrine and Camber. From which same Albanact you are descended in direct line. And the issue of the same Camber reigned royally down to Cadwallader, who was the last crowned king of my people, and from whom I, your simple cousin, am descended in direct line…'

Henry IV: reigned 1399-1413

Henry V: reigned 1413-22; won the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, part of the Hundred Years War against France, in spite of being heavily outnumbered [see Agincourt]; Henry V was the most supremely capable of British monarchs; Shakespeare has Henry V address his troops as they beseige Harfleur, which town was successfully taken:

'Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall with our English dead.'
(William Shakespeare, Henry V, III.i.1)

'There is only one English Alexander in the pantheon of national memory, and his reign alone in Shakespeare’s plays is remembered as a golden age.' (The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed’s Chronicles, 2013, p519)

Henry VI: reigned 1422-61 & 1470-1

Edward IV: reigned 1461-70 & 1471-83

Edward V: reigned 1483

Richard III: reigned 1483-5; killed at Bosworth Field in 1485, by Henry Tudor, who went on to reign as Henry VII; this was the concluding battle in the Wars of the Roses, which had started in 1455, a dynatic civil war between the Plantagenet Lancastrians (white rose) and the Plantagenet Yorkists (red rose)

Henry VII: reigned 1485-1509; Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York, united the warring Lancastrians & Yorkists; the Tudor rose is white on red; a bleak reign, ultimately of terror 

Henry VIII: reigned 1509-1603; his reign is regarded by historians as the early modern era; he had six wives, whose fates are remembered in the mnemonic 'Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced Beheaded, Survived'; Henry’s wives were Catherine of Aragon (mother of Bloody Mary), Anne Boleyn (mother of Elizabeth I), Jane Seymour (mother of Edward VI), Anne of Cleeves, Katherine Howard & Catherine Parr; Henry wrote ‘Greensleeves’ and was the first monarchical author since Alfred the Great; European history’s most famous peace conference was the Field of the Cloth of Gold, which took place near Calais in 1520; Henry took on the King of France, Francis I, in personal sporting combat, losing at wrestling but winning at archery and jousting, a score of 2-1 overall, with Henry coming from behind; he broke with Rome in 1534, proclaiming himself head of the church; this was the start of the Protestant Reformation and the freeing of minds, a process culminated by William III [see below, William & Mary; More 5]; the ‘Great Bible’ commissioned by Henry and published in 1539 was the Bible’s first authorised English translation [see Bible in English]; Henry was a builder of palaces and coastal forts, establisher of London parks, but destroyer of monasteries, many being reduced to Shakespeare’s ‘Bare ruin’d choirs’; his Suppression of the Monasteries (1556-40) involved an accelerated secularisation of land ownership, Europe’s first fast-forward out of the Middle Ages into the modern world; the money enabled Henry to establish the world’s first modern navy, where vessels were designed as gun platforms rather than conveyances for armies to have battles afloat [see Royal Navy]; Henry used his new navy in 1512 to beat the French at the Battle of Brest; during Henry’s reign there was passed the Act of Union with Wales, 1536; Tudor England was the most literate society that had existed up until that time; Henry was a wicked word-breaker to honourable rebels seeking to re-establish parliament; in fact he was a ruthless tyrant and cultural vandal, but every inch a ruler

Edward VI: reigned 1547-53

Lady Jane Grey: reigned 1553

Mary I: 'Bloody Mary' reigned 1553-8

Elizabeth I: reigned 1558-1603; daughter of Anne Boleyn; tawny-haired ‘Gloriana’ operated as her own prime minister; Elizabeth withstood the Spanish Armada in 1588; this was in fact the first of three unsuccessful seaborne invasion attempts by Philip II of Spain; 130 invasion ships and 25,000 men were pitted against the swashbuckling Sir Francis Drake and his fellow sailors, plus inclement weather; as a commemorative medallion put it, ‘God blew and they were scattered’; her people still threatened by invasion the queen spoke to her troops at Tibury, saying 'I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman. But I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm'; Elizabeth had a great leader’s ability to bring on talent; her advisers included Drake, Raleigh, Hawkins, the Cecils, Essex and many others, making Elizabeth’s realm respected and feared; this was the time of the playwright and poet William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, and the English Renaissance

James I of England & VI of Scotland: reigned in England 1603-25; James was the son of Mary I, Queen of Scots, who was executed for treason by Elizabeth I of England in 1587; James’s reign saw the publication of the Authorised Version of the Bible, one of history’s most influential books; James oversaw the introduction of the Union Jack, also known as the Union Flag [see Union Jack]; in 1605 the Gunpowder Plot was hatched by Guy Fawkes and his fellow Catholic conspirators, to blow up Parliament while James was present; the plot was thwarted and the miscreants hanged; if it is possible to laugh beyond the grave, Guy has had the last guffaw, or at least most recent one; while no-one is named after the king as a ‘james’, ‘guy’ has come to mean any man; see Guy Fawkes Night

Charles I: reigned 1625-49; a monarch of maddening duplicity, Charles was executed at Whitehall in 1649, during the English Civil War of 1642-51 [see Kings & queens]; his forces had been beaten by the New Model Army of Oliver Cromwell; on the scaffold on 30 January 1649 Charles said "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world."

Oliver Cromwell: 1599-1658, ruling 1649-58;military genius; the English Civil War of the 1640s was the first of the world’s great modern revolutions, with Charles I having his head cut off in 1649; Oliver Cromwell eventually took dictatorial power while declining calls for him to become King Oliver I, in spite of his being in fact descended from Powys & Glamorgan kings; Cromwell ruled 1653-8 as Lord Protector of a republican Commonwealth, i.e. as dictator; Cromwell was dug up and posthumously ‘executed’ as a regicide in 1661 after the restoration of the monarchy, in the person of Charles II Stuart; the English Civil War established that the monarch could not rule without Parliament’s consent; the freeborn had fought for their rights, according to John Lilburne (1614-57)[see Kings & queens]; Oliver Cromwell was succeeded by his son Richard

Richard Cromwell: ruled 1658-9

Charles II: reigned 1660-85

James II: reigned 1685-8

William & Mary: reigned as co-monarchs William III & Mary II, 1689-1702; the second great modern revolution after the English Civil War was the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which deposed Catholic King James II Stuart [see Kings & queens]; this was an anti-absolutist revolution, bringing constitutional monarchy, i.e. the monarch as consensual head of state not as despotic ruler by divine right; the Glorious Revolution brought in William of Orange & Mary Stuart, an empowered parliament, a tolerant Church and a shift in emphasis from agriculture to manufacturing; William & Mary sailed from the Low Countries to the far west of Britain, making first landfall at Totnes, Devon; this was where Brutus the Trojan, founding king of Britain, is said by the British Chronicles to have come ashore, around 1100 BC; Fore Street in Totnes is the site of the Brutus Stone, the Trojan’s first footfall, from which royal accessions were traditionally proclaimed; the Glorious Revolution was every bit as radical and important as the revolutions in France in 1789 and Russia in 1917, which were far bloodier and led to tyranny; the modern liberal state was invented in Britain after 1688 and thrives there still; William culminated the Protestant Reformation started by Henry VIII, freeing the British mind for greatness (science, industry, Age of Reason); authoritarian religion dulls the mind [see More 5]

Anne: ‘Good Queen Anne’ reigned 1702-14; the last monarch of the House of Stuart; her reign saw the passage of the Act of Union between Scotland and England, in 1707, creating the United Kingdom or UK; citizens of the UK are described as British; the merger of 1707 was the first reuniting of the island of Great Britain since Ancient British times; Anne had 17 children, all of whom predeceased her; this brought in the Hanovarians, George I, then George II

George I: reigned 1714-27

George II: reigned 1727-60

George III: reigned 1760-1820; of the Hanovarian dynasty, George was the first English-born and English-speaking monarch since Anne; his was a time of great literature – Byron, Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Jane Austen – wily statecraft – Pitt and Fox – and military derring-do – Nelson and Wellington; the American Colonies were lost during this period; in 1707 England and Scotland had merged; in 1801 they were joined by Wales and Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland; Ireland was to become independent in 1922, except for the six northern counties; the full name of the UK then became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

George IV: reigned 1820-30

William IV: reigned 1830-37

Victoria: reigned 1837-1901; occupied the throne for over 64 years and is Britain’s longest serving monarch; Victoria married her cousin Prince Albert and had 9 children, 40 grandchildren and 37 greatchildren, who spread out across Europe; from 1876 Victoria was also Empress of India; she gave her name to a world age, ‘the Victorian era’; at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the British Empire encompassed 12 million square miles – four times that of the Roman Empire – with an informal financial empire larger still; according to the St James’s Gazette, the Queen-Empress, the ‘Great White Queen’, held sway over ‘one continent, a hundred peninsulas, five hundred promontories, a thousand lakes, two thousand rivers, ten thousand islands.’; the empire included a high proportion of the world’s key strategic sites (e.g. Gibraltar, Cape of Good Hope, Singapore, Hong Kong etc); this was the era of the ‘Great Victorian Peace’; notwithstanding the relative absence of great power conflicts in this period, there were 72 British military campaigns in the course of Queen Victoria’s reign – a rate of more than one a year; yet military spending was around 3% or less of national income in the century to 1913; an anagram of ‘Victoria, England’s Queen’ is ‘governs a nice quiet land’

Edward VII: reigned 1901-10

George V: reigned 1910-36; First World War, 1914-18

Edward VIII: reigned 1936 (abdicated)

George VI: reigned 1936-52; Second World War, 1939-45

Diamond Jubilee 2012 portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, plus corgi, by Dulcie Hart, 11,
daughter of the Director of The National CV Group

Elizabeth II: b1926; the present monarch and Head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations is of the House of Windsor (renamed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1917); the present queen ascended the throne in 1952 and celebrated her Diamond (60th) Jubilee in 2012, the same year as the London Olympics & Paralympics; Elizabeth II is Head of State, while her prime minister is head of the government [see Kings & queens]; Britain’s system involves a constitutional monarchy within a parliamentary democracy, which two elements taken together represent Britain’s and the world’s greatest social invention in the political sphere, as a block to tyranny [see Freedom]; Britain's experiment with republicanism had led to dictatorship [see Oliver Cromwell]

'David Cameron is her twelfth prime minister. Yet she had never given an interview, and we know nothing of her political views…the British monarchy enhances and maintains this country’s global presence…Churchil’s respect for the monarchy ‘amounted almost to idolatry’, according to his private secretary, Sir John Colville…[monarchy] acts as a brake on dictatorial ambition…the world’s forty constitutional monarchies, sixteen of which recognize the Queen as sovereign…A stabilizing force, a non-political symbol and a national emblem of immense significance – the British monarchy is all these things.' (Peter Whittle, Monarchy Matters, 2011)

Elizabeth II is the most famous monarch in the world, the most travelled monarch of all time and the most influential islander of the present era; she is the oldest lived monarch in British history; the story of monarchy in Brtiain has been a three thousand year cavalcade of ~140 rulers, counting only the main monarch on the island of Great Britain at any one time and ignoring lesser kings; the procession has run through Edward the Confessor to ‘Edward the Caresser’, Queen Victoria’s libidinous son, who became the hugely popular Edward VII (reigned 1901-10), along with those before and after; the British monarchy is the planet’s senior surviving Royal house; Elizabeth II will have to stay on the throne until 2017 to exceed the 64-year reign of her great-grandmother, Victoria (reigned 1837-1901); if her heir, HRH Prince Charles, ascends the throne later than mid-September 2013, he will be the oldest person ever to do so, at nearly 65 years of age (William IV ascended the throne in 1830 aged 64 years and 10 months); Charles’s heir is HRH Prince William, who married Kate Middleton in 2011 [see History in the news]; they begat a son, born on 22 July 2013, George Alexander Louis Mountbatten-Windsor; should HRH Prince George of Cambridge ascend the throne, he will do so as George VIIthe Royal Family claims descent from Cerdic, who reigned the West Saxons AD 519-534; ‘Cerdic’ as a name is a variant of ‘Caradoc’; note that a much earlier holder of the name Caradoc was the 'Caractacus' who was a leader of the resistance to the Romans after their invasion of AD 43 [see Caractacus]; the AD 500s Cerdic was evidently British or British-Saxon, not just Saxon; the West Saxons traced their line from Woden, who gave his name to Wednesday; the area they occupied had been the centre of Britain’s Megalithic Culture; the West Saxons became Wessex became England became the United Kingdom became the British Empire became the Commonwealth; Elizabeth II is likely descended through the West Saxon sovereigns to the Ancient Britons, picking up Arthurian blood via the Tudors from Wales, who were descendants of the Gwynedd Princes, whose progenitor was King Maelgwn Gwynedd, who reigned in the first half of the sixth century; the Gwynedd Dynasty are said to have intermarried with the Arthurian Dynasty; a further infusion of Ancient British blood came via James VI of Scotland, who, after the death of Elizabeth I, became James I of England; James's own Tudor ancestor, Henry VII, claimed to be descended via Welsh kings from Brutus himself, the founding king of Ancient Britain (reigned c1100 BC) [see Brutus]

Winston Churchill: 1874-1965; Britain’s prime minister during the Second World War, declared that ‘The monarchy is so extraordinarily useful. When Britain wins a battle she shouts “God save the Queen”; when she loses, she votes down the Prime Minister.’ [see Churchill & Prime Minister Churchill]

Invaders repulsed or fended off long enough for them to become less beastly and be assimilated: although Julius Caesar went away after his two more-difficult-than-expected excursions to Britain in 55 & 54 BC, when we faced the doughty Cassivelaunus, the Romans did arrive back in Britain almost a century later, under Emperor Claudius in AD 43; they were opposed by Arviragus and then Caractacus; Britain was less of a full-on province than Gaul (France) and Hispania (Spain); the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great was half-British and born in Britain and many other Britons achieved prominence in the Roman Empire; Roman influence was to last until AD 410; similarly although Arthur beat the Saxons in battle every time in the AD 500s, they did gain the upper hand in England at least in the following centuries, becoming Wessex, Middlesex, Essex and Sussex; the ‘Anglo-Saxon Conquest’ was less a conquest though than a long-drawn out encroachment, with endless military encounters and toings and froings, including intermarriage; Cerdic, founder of the West Saxons, bears a British name - it's a version of Caradoc - and thus seems to have been British or Saxon-British; in the AD 800s Alfred the Great contained the Danish Vikings, but he did not expel them from the island; what these heroes have in common is that they delayed incomers long enough for them to become more civilised and assimilable; Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul is reckoned to have cost a million lives, with another million people going into exile; dissuading him from seeking permanent colonisation was one of the greatest feats of British arms; the later Roman wars on British soil were at least less costly than the conquest of Gaul; the Saxons of the time of King Arthur were pagan barbarians, but numbers of generations on they had risen to become Christian kings of the status of Alfred the Great and Athelstan the Glorious, AD 900s; for their part, the Vandals in the Midlands became the Mercians, allies to Alfred’s now-civilised Wessex; Mercia and Wessex united against the Danish Vikings, who also improved over time and subsumed themselves into a united kingdom of England, eventually providing a trio of English kings, starting with Canute the Great (reigned in England 1016-35), who was also king of Denmark and Norway; the invader who was not held off for long was William the Conqueror (‘1066 and All That’), a Viking by descent; the islanders experienced the Normans at full strength, though their ancestors intermarried and the Normans were eventually absorbed; the Norman Conquest did not fully encompass Scotland or affect Ireland; Philip II of Spain was held off thrice (starting with the Spanish Armada of 1588), as was Napoleon (1798-1805) and Hitler (1940), among 50 invasion attempts since 1066, the last on the mainland being the dismal failure of the French at Fishguard in 1797, during the Napoleonic wars; 68% of ethnic Britons in England (excluding Cornwall) can trace their genes to ancestors who had arrived even before farming started around 4000 BC, according to Stephen Oppenheimer, author of The Origins of the British (2007); the corresponding figure for Scotland is 70%, Cornwall 79% and Wales 81%; this emphasizes continuity of population as more important than invasions; the Dark Age Anglo-Saxons, for example, contributed just 5% to the English gene pool; invasions and influxes there have been, but according to Stephen Oppenheimer ‘no individual event contributed even a tenth of our modern genetic mix.’

'...the country was invaded piecemeal by those resilient enough to brave the rough waters of its encircling seas. Because of that difficulty the numbers which came, whether they were tribes from the Rhineland, Romans from the Mediterranean south, Anglo-Saxons from Germany or Vikings from Scandinavia, were always small. Once here they were absorbed into the existing population.' (Roy Strong, The Story of Britain, 1996)

'…yet hath it [Britain] been four times conquered; first by the Romans; secondly, by the Saxons; thirdly, by the Danes; and fourthly, by the Normans.' (Percy Enderbie, Cambria Triumphans or Brittain in its Perfect Lustre, 1661)

Royal Coat of Arms: on this the king of the jungle (the Lion of England) is united with a fabulous creature (the Unicorn of Scotland) – with beguiling accompaniment provided by an Irish harp (quartered on shield)

Union Flag: also known as the Union Jack, this has been waved for over 400 years, since the time of James VI & I; it boasts the crosses of three saints - St George of England, St Andrew of Scotland, St Patrick of Ireland - more than any other flag; those charged with hoisting this flag aloft should keep their eye on the white diagonal and think ‘Thick on top’; the Union Flag is one of the most internationally recognised emblems; it has also been incorporated into other flags, e.g. Hawaii, discovered for the West by Captain Cook, 1778, and Australia and New Zealand; a Union Jack waistcoat came to feature on one national personification, invented in 1712 by John Arbuthnot, that of bluff country squire John Bull; a musician of that name (1562-1628) composed a galliard, some of whose phrases prefigured the tune of the national anthem, God Save the Queen; a John Bull figure was Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84), compiler of a famous dictionary

Jerusalem: this is the unofficial supplementary national anthem, along with Land of Hope and Glory (music by Edward Elgar, 1857-1934); the musical setting of Jerusalem was completed in 1916 by Hubert Parry (1848-1918) of the poem by William Blake (1757-1827), which includes the phrase ‘In England’s green and pleasant land’; the poem is about the legend of Jesus coming to Britain as a child with Joseph of Arimathea [see Joseph of Arimathea]; Blake’s Jerusalem in full is as follows:

'And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.'

Britannia: besides being the Roman name for the island, Britannia is also the name of the nation’s female personification; she was depicted as a goddess on Roman British coins during the time of the Emperor Hadrian, when a shrine was erected in York to Britain represented as a female deity; in The Reader’s Handbook by the Rev E Cobham Brewer, reprinted 1925, there is reported under ‘Britannia’ that ‘The Romans represented the island of Great Britain by the figure of a woman seated on a rock, from a fanciful resemblance thereto in the general outline of the island’; note that the female pronoun is used to describe the country; there is a stirring tradition in Britain, unmatched anywhere else, of queens regnant – said to derive from an ancient Trojan acceptance of female rulers – and other notable female leaders, including Albyne, Gwendolen, Cordelia, Marcia, Claudia, Boudicca, Queen Empress St Helen of the Cross, Abbess St Hilda of Whitby, Elizabeth I, Good Queen Anne, Victoria and, in the most recent era, Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher [see British women of renown]; there are also legendary figures such as Pope Joan and Lady Godiva; Britain is a motherland, her offspring scattered across the globe; one idea is that seafaring tin-exploiting Phoenicians brought to Britain their marine angelic protectress Barati [Source: Waddell]; images of seated Barati certainly resemble those of Britannia, complete with shield banner of red cross on white background; Barati entered Minoan, Egyptian and Assyrio-Babylonian pantheons, so a related possibility is that Brutus, who came from the Mediterranean, brought Barati along himself; the Phoenician Barati came to be identified with the later Roman deity Diana, goddess of the chase and destiny, the equivalent of the Greek goddess Artemis; British Chronicles say that Brutus established in London the Temple of Diana, celebrating his tutelary deity, on the site of what is now St Paul’s Cathedral – and there is archaeological evidence of a pre-existing temple there; the London Stone, from which the Romans measured distances, is said to be part of Brutus’s original altar; in this view Barati/Diana, newly of Britain, became naturalised as Britannia; in an alternative view, Artemis/Diana was an original British deity, as was her twin brother Apollo [see Hyperborea]; her face on coins from 1667 was that of Frances Theresa Stuart, mistress (one of 13 known) of Charles II; in the 1700s Britannia was given a trident to ‘rule the waves’; the words of Rule, Britannia! were written by poet James Thomson and set to music by Thomas Arne in the 1740s


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