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Post-Roman Britain

Southern Britain's Lost Kingdoms

by Peter Kessler, 1 April 1999. Updated 14 February 2007

Part 7: Lost Kings

As can be seen in the previous sections, there were many far less well-attested British territories which almost certainly existed for a time in central and southern Britain but which have been lost - entirely or almost - from the historical record.

However, while there are many states or territories which do not always have rulers to go with them, occasionally there are also records of rulers, magistrates, or chieftains who cannot be positively identified with any particular territory.

St Germanus, soon after his second visit to Britain in the 440s, met a British leader named as Elaf (Elaphius - Bede, A History of the English Church and People, ch 21).

He may have ruled the area around Caer Gwinntguic (Roman Venta, now Winchester in Hampshire).

A second possible ruler is Nudd, who may well have been the King Natan or Natanlaod who was killed by Cerdic in 508 at the Battle of Netley (Natanleag). This area covers the western side of Southampton Water, placing it firmly in Caer Gwinntguic's proposed borders once again.

Caer Celemion (from Roman Calleva, modern Silchester in Hampshire) was certainly a centre of resistance by the British, as indicated by protective dykes which surround its northern borders. Legends exist of a giant named Onion living there. This indicates a potential leader called Einion. The appellation of 'giant' could equate a strong or particularly tough warrior, appropriate for a British enclave which held out, almost entirely isolated, until the seventh century.

Winchester King's Gate
The medieval King's Gate in Winchester (Venta) was built over the site of the Roman south gate in the year 1264, almost eight hundred years after the original was blocked up by its defending Romano-British-Saxon population

Part 1: Intro
Part 2: Cynwidion & Pengwern
Part 3: Gloui, Dumnonia, & Ceint
Part 4: Celemion & Colun
Part 5: Venta, Lerion, Lundein, Went
Part 6: Linnius, Rhegin, & Weith
Part 7: Lost Kings


Text copyright © P L Kessler, from various notes and sources. An original feature for the History Files.