So rapid was the disintegration of Romanised British life under the
pressure of Saxon and Angle invaders that evidence of the Romano-British kingdoms 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 kingdoms are unknown, the capital town is
used to differentiate them.
The names of many British kingdoms 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 kingdoms 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"