Part 1: The first wave of Jutes
With the rise of the Merovingian rulers in Gaul and the former Roman
province being peopled with new barbarian populations, settlement
for the Saxons south of the Rhine Delta was no longer an inviting
However, their own ancestral lands were coming under
increasing pressure, not least from sea flooding. Therefore, once
Vortigern had allowed Germanic mercenaries into Britain, the
opportunity for Angles and Saxons had to be taken. It would seem
that such pressing problems would not have driven the warriors of
Jutland. As adventurers, with Britain in the throes of a crisis,
they availed themselves of the chance to establish a new territories
on the Isle of Wight and in Hampshire by founding settlements among
the beleaguered Britons.
The Jutish leaders perhaps eventually
elected a king. It is contended here that by this time Ambrosius
Aurelianus would have taken the helm of a Romano-British state whose
existence was threatened on all fronts. He motivated the Britons to
take up arms and fight, inspiring young British warriors. The
phenomenal success of his military campaign was to enter legend as
the twelve battles of King Arthur, who was probably a battle leader,
perhaps called Artorius.
There is no documented history to
substantiate the idea, but it is feasible that part of the new
British sword power was turned against the early Jutish immigrants
in order to subdue them and restore Romano-British rule. Maybe it is
worth noting in this context that there might have been a rebellion,
following the British triumph at Mount Badon, in the upper Thames
The reaction of the Britons was to drive every settler from
the region. We can only surmise on this, of course, and unfortunately, the lamentations of
Gildas shed no light on these matters, but according to Bede England
was won by right of conquest.
In the South, the irreversible
breakthrough came [first] with the West Saxon capture of Salisbury in 552
[and then the defeat of the three cities in 577].
Conjectural derivation of the Meon Valley name
The derivation of the name could be Celtic, as many river names in
England can still be labelled with their modern Welsh equivalents.
Bede gives the name as Mean when referring to the Meonware. As Welsh
has come down to us today, there could be four possible candidates,
listed here in alphabetical order:
MAEN (pronounced something like 'mine'), meaning stone, which
would compare with the River Gorlech = rocky.
MEHYN (pronounced with the last syllable stressed), meaning a
place, which would compare with the River Gafenni (Welsh spelling)
referring to a smithy.
MENA (pronounced as 'menna'), which is a personal name and would
compare with the River Elan.
MWYN (pronounced like 'moo-in as a dipthong), meaning gentle,
which would compare with the River Tawe = silent. Abertawe is
Swansea in Welsh.
Perhaps the most favourable candidates are the words MWYN, since
a number of river names are descriptive in Welsh, and MENA.
name, assuming it was used, might have paired with the appellation
of another river flowing into the Channel. The Eastern Rother,
further down the coast, was at one time called the Limen. The older
name might have derived from the Welsh Lli Mena = Mena's Flood,
referring to the strength of the tide pulling out and flooding back
into the Rother. MENA therefore seems to be the best choice.
the elements of Bede's Mean are easily traced back to MENA. Possibly
it was the name Afon Mena which became the River Mean (said as if
bisyllabic), and over generations the Meon, which is the source of
the name Meonware.
Cerdic Elsing or Ceretic ab Elised?
Was the maternal uncle of the Jutish Stuf and Wihtgar, Cerdic
Elsing or Ceretic ab Elised? Was their mother the daughter of Elsa Elsing, or actually the daughter of a British aristocrat?
Cerdic is often considered to have been the son of a Saxon nobleman
and a Briton, the conjecture put forward in this note is that he
might have been the natural son of a British aristocrat whose
mistress was a Saxon. Indeed, Cerdic might have been represented in
Arthurian legend as Sir Mordred, the king's son by incest.
this argument through, the British aristocrat, supposed as Elised
here, might have had two children by his Saxon concubine, a daughter,
born (possibly) about 467 and Cerdic, born (possibly) about 473. If this is what
happened, then both his children would have been seen as blemished
by being half barbarian.
Ceretic could have had a grudge as a result
of such discrimination, although this is only conjecture. However, let us
suppose for a moment that these circumstances were historical
actuality. Cerdic would have grown up bilingual and well acquainted
with both British and Saxon culture. He would have been baptised
into the British church, and later have trained for combat with
Elised's teulu, or personal warriors.
Yet, taking the ideas
cautiously introduced here, by 495 Ceretic is recorded as
marshalling an attack against the Britons. As the new leader of the
Thames Valley Gewisse, Ceretic was perhaps about twenty two years
old. Presuming his father to have been a Briton, he had early
committed his loyalties to his mother's race and their heathen view
of the world, preferring to be part of the new and vigorous
This conjecture brings another perspective on the
possible maternal relatives of Stuf and Wihtgar, bringing with it
the possibility that their mother's family might have been of mixed
blood. This is illustrated below:
Conjectural table showing Cerdic's possible family ties