History Files


European Kingdoms

Celts of Armorica




MapDomnonia (Dumnonee)

Situated to the north east of Brittany, the earliest princes are mentioned in several Lives of the Saints.

FeatureThe three Armorican principalities were all subservient to the king of Brittany. Until the reign of Jonas, the rulers of Domnonia were titled princes. After that, they supply the 'Kings of the Bretons', and Domnonia itself was elevated as a result.

Domnonia may have been settled by Britons of Dumnonia, probably of the royal house, while many other Britons probably entered Armorica from other parts of Britain by going through Dumnonia. According to tradition and early surviving writings, the two kingdoms certainly seem to have shared a connection in their early days. It could be conjectured that Dumnonians fled to Armorica in the face of the initial Roman conquest of Britain in the first century AD, but this seems unlikely. It had only been a century since Armorica itself was conquered and large numbers of Celts had fled in the opposite direction. They would hardly flee one Roman force now simply to hand themselves over to another. Instead, the main migration of Dumnonians seems to have taken place in the face of the post-Roman uncertainties (and sometimes chaos) of the fifth century.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson and Geoffrey Tobin, and from External Link: Encyclopaedia of Earth.)

Gerenton / Gereint

Catou / Cadwy

Erbin / Urbien ap Gereint

Mistakenly named Erbin ap Custennin Corneu, of Dumnonia?

fl c.380

Guitol / Gwidol ap Gradlon

Son of the King of the Bretons.

fl c.420

Deroc / Deroch I


fl c.450?


Usurper and former general.

Upon the death of Deroc, his son is exiled to Britain. He eventually returns to kill the usurper and take the throne for himself.

fl c.460


Son. The Riothamus of AD 469 or the son of Deroc II instead?

FeatureOne Riothamus is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of Britons in the mid-fifth century, but it is unclear whether he is a leader of insular Britons, and possibly even high king of Britain or, less magnificently, Riotham, the princely son of Deroc of Dumnonee. Even which King Deroc to claim as his father is unclear, so perhaps two separate individuals are being confused. He could be Riothamus, leader of a 12,000-strong British expedition against the Visigoths in Gaul, in alliance with Soissons, Burgundians and the Western Roman empire. He could be Ambrosius Aurelius of Britain and therefore linked with the refortification of Cadbury Castle. Or he could be a more minor Breton prince.


FeatureAccording to tradition Cerdic and his (young) son Cynric, together with Saxon and possibly some Jutish companions, land in five ships on the south coast of Britain at Cerdices ora, and begin a takeover of the local Jutish, Saxon and sub-Roman territories. The Jutes and Saxons who are already settled there are apparently already referring to themselves as the West Seaxe.

Geoffrey Tobin suggests that this 'landing' of 495 be taken literally. The Encyclopaedia of Earth states 'Tidal streams in the eastern English Channel and [around the] Channel Islands area [are] generally anti-clockwise, whilst the western entrance of the Channel has a clockwise tidal circulation [that is] wedded to the Celtic Sea'. Visualising this, one can expect frequent landings in Hampshire from both Brittany and Flanders by skirting the English coast, and return journeys to the Cotentin peninsula then passing along the coasts of Brittany and France. Cerdic may take one of these routes while the Saxons take the other. If the strong states of Domnonia and Dumnonia are one kingdom in the fifth century, and Cerdic is an ambitious noble, perhaps a fractious younger brother of the magistrate or ruler of this region, this would explain his actions in landing near Southampton (as Bretons later often did) and taking on the loyalist Natanleod (in 508). Having established a beach-head, it would reflect the times for him to have forged alliances with rebellious Britons, immigrant Saxons and hybrid groups who needed a seasoned battle leader.

c.500 - 520

Riwal Deroc / Ferox

Son. Nicknamed 'the Obstinate/Arrogant'.

520 - 530

Deroc / Deroch II



Deroc II may be the father of one Riotham (see above), but it is Jonas (Ionas ap Deroch) who succeeds him. The principality is now raised to a kingdom.

530 - 540

Jonas / Ionas / Wiomarch / Widimacl

Son. Killed by Conomor. m dau of Budig II King of the Bretons.

540 - c.550

Judual / Iudwal ap Ionas

Son (born c.530). Imprisoned.

bef 550 - 560

Conomor / Cunomorus 'the Cursed'

Killed in battle against Clotair, king of the Franks.

560 - 585



585 - 607

Judual / Iudhael ap Iudwal

Son (born c.560).

607 - c.615

Haelog ap Iudhael

bef 635 - 657

JudicaŽl / St Iudicael ap Iudhael

Son? Same as Iudicael, King of the Bretons?

635 - 657

Under JudicaŽl's reign, Bro Erech is merged with Domnonia. JudicaŽl was descended on his great grandmother's side from Waroch of Bro Erech. As it seems highly probably that JudicaŽl King of Domnonia was also Iudicael, King of the Bretons, Domnonia's kings probably continue as high kings of Brittany, and Domnonia effectively becomes the chief state of the colony, their kings listed as Kings of the Bretons.