History Files



Kingdoms of the British Isles


The British Isles
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British Isles

Kingdoms of Celtic England & Wales, the Celtic fringes, the Gaelic north & west, & the Angle & Saxon invaders

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Gloucester CathedralSo 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.



Celtic Tribes in Britain:


Roman Period:

Celts of Cymru (Wales):


Celts of Britain:


Gallery Focus

Celts of Armorica:


Later Wales:


Kingdoms of Caledonia:


Tribes of Ireland


Kingdoms of Ireland & Man:


Pre- & Post-Migration:


Saxons & Jutes of Southern England:


Angles & Saxons of Central England:


Angles North of the Humber:




United Angles & Saxons:




In Depth

Subsidiary Offices & Titles:

In Depth
In Depth