Part 3: Cissa's Witenagemot
It was told that when Ælle died in 514, his eldest son and
co-warlord (see the postulation in the main text), became king of
the South Saxons. It is argued here that he was elected by his
As has been recalled, tradition tells us that the new king
declared his settlement of Cissan Ceaster, presumably a vil
occupying the old Roman town of Noviomagum Regnorum, to be the royal
centre of his tribal realm. At the same time he would probably have
appointed the former members of the, by now, defunct Ællean Warmoot
as the new Cissan Witenagemot. It is of course impossible to know
exactly what Cissa might have called this conjectured gathering,
perhaps the King's Moot?
Sometime after his son, Wine, reached his maturity at the age of
fourteen, Cissa must have installed him as the royal alderman of the
new settlement called Wines Ceseley, later to be known as
Winchelsea. The West March of the kingdom had already been secured
by the Haegelingas, and now the East March of the kingdom could be
secured at the new centre of power on the firth of the Eastern
Wines Ceseley might have been established by about 525, and its
significance would not have been missed by the Jutish colony of the
Haestingas (Hastings). It is feasible, at least in theory, that a
South Saxon Witenagemot would have agreed to recognise Wine Cissing
as his father's atheling.
By the fourth decade of the sixth century, Cilta, Cidda, Cymen
Wlencing, the chieftain of the Meallingas and perhaps the king of
the Haestingas might have formed the members of this postulated
witan, at a time when the Cissan kingdom was arguably at its height.
If the evidence of pagan graves is significant in this context,
Cissa would have needed the loyalty of such a council to maintain
his royal authority over an expanding population in the centre of a
long coastal territory.
This factor also adds weight to the idea that Cilta and Cidda
might have been Cissa's brothers, because their vils would have
formed a cluster of royal power, together with the settlement at
South Malling, where the growth of the South Saxon tribe was
Eventually, the death of Wine Cissing, predeceasing his father
in about 563, and the exceptional longevity of Cissa himself must
have contributed to the later course of history.