Part 6: Uncertain Kingdoms
There are a series of regions, or territories, in the British south-east that get
the most fleeting of mentions in various sources, with tantalising glimpses given of some
of the possible kingdoms that existed there in the short gap between post-Roman
administration and Anglo-Saxon domination.
Brief mentions in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles give a vague picture of how the
war was going, and centres of British resistance can often be deduced from the location
of these battles, and from archaeological evidence.
Linnuis / Lind Colun
The colonia of Linnuis, or Lind Colun, was founded by Rome around the start of the second century.
The possible post-Roman kingdom of the same name was linked (by Professor Kenneth Jackson)
to the Lincolnshire region, and the names are remarkably similar, given the translation from Celtic to English.
appears in Nennius' list of Arthur's Twelve Battles,
making up four of them.
These battles were fought one after the other, suggesting a series
of strategic fights, or a running battle along one of Linnuis' rivers (Dubglas, the modern
River Trent?). The aim must have been to push back an Anglian incursion, or a large scale
Saxon raid. There were already Anglians settled in Deywr, on the other side of the Humber,
although they appear to be mostly peaceful at this time.
On the other hand, the Saxons to the south were actively hostile, and the Historia Brittonum describes how,
at "...Hengist's death, Octha his son went from the northern part of Britain to the
kingdom of Kent".
Hengist died in 488, during the presumed height of Arthur's reign, so in theory Octha
could have been recalled from an attempt to take territory in Linnuis.
The probable Celtic name of the capital of this region is Caer Lind Colun (modern Lincoln, Roman
Lindum colonia, hence Lind(um) Colun(ia)). The name Linnuis would also appear to derive
from that of the regional capital.
Linnuis appears to have be taken over early by the Anglian Lindiswaras from the region of the Humber, in circa 480 (perhaps as a result of territory
ceded during the attacks postulated above?). That much is about all that is known in an
area that was greatly isolated from the country by the extensive marshlands around The
Wash (Metaris Aest.) to the south, the vast Sherwood Forest and the marshes of the River
Trent to the west, and the Humber to the north.
Nothing is known of the Anglian Kingdom of Lindsey until the late eighth
century, but it is possible that the Linnuis section of the Saxon Shore passed to them
intact, and may have included some intermarriage between Angles and Britons.
Archaeological finds of British and Anglian pottery at the same site in a Saxon church at
Barton-on-Humber supports the theory that there was no break in rule between British and
Anglian governorship of Lindsey.
The Roman Newport Gate at Linnuis, through which passes Ermine
Street, is today the world's only surviving Roman arch that is
still open to traffic