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Waegdaeg's Folk (Angles)

FeatureWoden, legendary king of Angeln, is claimed as an ancestor figure by many of the Anglian, Jutish and Saxon tribes which migrated to Britain. Although entirely impossible to prove, one theory is that this semi-mythical figure represents a powerful Anglian king whose many sons and their descendants found or created positions of power as the Anglian peoples fragmented before and during their migration.

One of the sons of Woden, Węgdęg was claimed as the originator of the line of princes which migrated to Britain in the fourth to fifth centuries. He and his followers appear to have been settled in an existing British territory known as Deywr, presumably as laeti, settled mercenaries, in the service of the Britons. Once their masters at Ebrauc had weakened enough, they founded their own independent Anglian kingdom called Deira, their pronunciation of the British name.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, and from The Oxford History of England: The English Settlements, J N L Meyers, from Ulwencreutz's The Royal Families in Europe V, Lars Ulwencreutz, from the Textus de Ecclesia Roffensi per Ernulphum Episcopum (The Story of the Church of Rochester up to Bishop Ernulf), known as the Textus Roffensis or Annals of Rochester, and from the Historia Brittonum, Nennius, and also from External Link: An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, page 728, by Bosworth and Toller, 1898.)

Węgdęg / Waegdaeg

Son of Woden of Angeln. Originator of the Deiran Angles.

Węgdęg is a mystifying name. The first part, 'waeg' appears to mean 'a way' in the form of a path. 'Daeg' is 'day', still also in use in modern German as 'dag'. Węgdęg would appear to mean something along the lines of 'the path to day', or 'day's path'. Quite possibly a true leader's name if ever there was one. His son, Sigegar, breaks down into 'sig' meaning 'victory' plus 'gar' meaning 'spear. Clearly a warrior's name.

Malton
The remains of the defensive bank at Roman Derventio (modern Malton) in Britain are shown here, which formed the main military post in the region of Deywr - home of Węgdęg's Folk once they had settled in Britain in the fifth or early sixth centuries

Sigegar

Son.

Swebdaeg

Son.

The name Swebdaeg is another odd two part name. 'Swebban' (a verb) is 'to put to sleep', a euphemism for 'kill' in many cases. 'Daeg' is 'day', making him 'Killing Day'. Possibly in reference to a particularly successful battle? His son is Sigegeat, with 'sig' again meaning 'victory' and Geat being the name of a powerful Scandinavian group of Germanic people who are also very relevant to the early English, being especially important in the epic poem, Beowulf. Does 'the Geat of Victory' suggest part of Sigegeat's ancestry, perhaps?

Sigegeat

Son.

c.420

Sębald / Saebald

Son. Led the Angles as laeti into Deywr?

c.420

Saebald's name is obscure, but if it breaks down into 'saec', meaning 'fighting', cognate with 'sig', and with the 'ch' sound lost, plus 'bald', meaning 'bold', then his name would mean 'Bold Fighter' - highly appropriate for what may be a key achievement in the history of his folk. He apparently leads his people into Deywr in Britain to settle as laeti, mercenaries in the Roman tradition who have been granted their own land in return for their services. In 559, his descendant founds the independent Anglian kingdom of Deira.