rapid was the disintegration of Romanised British life under the pressure of
Saxon and Angle invaders that evidence of the Romano-British states to the
east of the Celtic strongholds of modern Wales and Cornwall is often fragmentary
and inconclusive. Many of them lasted only a generation or two, and most had
been overrun by the end of the seventh century. Where names of these states
are unknown, the capital town is used to differentiate them.
The names of many British states have more than one accepted
spelling. Between AD 400-600, the twin impacts of the mass migration of Britons
both within Britain and over the Channel to Armorica, and the destructive influence
of the Saxon and Angle invasions, had within that short time forced the breakdown
of the Celtic language into various dialects of the Early Welsh language. Together
with the lack of written records from this period, the task of recovering the names
of many of the smaller British states is not an easy one.
There are also some differences in how personal names are spelt
and pronounced. It depends on their source, be it Latin, Welsh, English or Irish
records (the Picts kept no records), and there can be noticeable differences. Most
Gaelic names contain "mac", "mab" or "map", and
Celtic names "ab" or "ap", and all mean "son of".
The Celtic tradition was to be able to recite one's lineage
in an unbroken chain from father to son dating back as far as memory would allow,
and probably back to a semi-legendary British figure. So a name will usually
consist of the individual's own given name, followed by the local variant of
"son of" and then the father's name. For daughters in Wales, the term
"ferch" was used.