From the archaeological evidence the Saxon / Jutish kingdom of Kent
ruled by Octha must have suffered defeat in circa AD 500, as there is
a break in the sequence of Saxon ceramic finds, indicating a withdrawal from
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (ASC) the Saxon Kingdom
of Sussex (founded AD
477 by the warrior Ælle) did not survive for long as there are no further
mentions after 491, until its re-establishment over a century later.
Additionally, archaeology has discovered no Saxon burials in the area
between the late fifth and late sixth centuries. [There is no archaeological
evidence to suggest that Cerdic's Wessex
had any real influence for another fifty years.]
Britons regain the initiative
The only plausible reason for the problems experienced by these two
adjoining kingdoms would seem to be a resurgence of British resistance
sometime during the 490's. A crucial British victory sometime in the
mid-490's tallies perfectly with what Gildas tells us of the battle [or
siege] of Badon.
A Saxon presence only fifteen miles away from the Bristol Channel would
threaten to cut the British nation in two. This would explain why any battle
fought in this region would have been so significant.
The battle of Badon appears to have been fought against a Sussex / Kent
alliance led by Ælle and/or Octha somewhere near the Bristol Channel, which
was as far as the Saxons had pushed westward. As Bath is called Badanceaster
- 'City of Badan' (ASC) - it is an excellent candidate.
Not only is
Bath precisely where the otherwise dubious Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us
that Arthur fought his most celebrated battle, but Nennius mentions the
'Baths of Badon' in a closing summary of British marvels. (Historia
Brittonum) These are almost certainly the old Roman baths in the city of
As both Gildas and Nennius refer to the battle of 'Mount Badon', it is
not unreasonable to assume that the conflict was fought for the possession
of a hill-fort.