History Files

Celtic Kingdoms of the British Isles

Celts of Cymru


MapErcing (Ergyng)

FeatureThis small kingdom was located south of Powys, and east of Gwent, in the area south of modern Hereford, to the north of Monmouth and west of the River Wye. It probably became an independent kingdom under Gwrfoddw Hen, and until his reign it was regarded as part of the kingdom of Gwent, and certainly came under the aegis of Eudaf Hen, ruler of the Silures Britons in the fourth century. Through intermarriage it twice later became rejoined to Gwent, the second time being the final time. Its capital was at Caer Aricon (now known as Weston-under-Penyard), and as with many other Brythonic kingdoms, this kingdom took the name of its capital town, with language shifts changing Aricon into Arcing or Ercing and then Ergyng. The English name of Archenfield is a direct translation of this.

(Additional information by Mick Baker and Hywel George, from History of the Kings of Britain, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and from External Link: Fabulous Pedigree, and Trowbridge Family Descent (Rootsweb), and Boddy Family.)

fl c.430s?

Anblaud / Amlawdd Wledig

'The Imperator'.

Amlawdd Wledig, or perhaps more properly Anblaud in the name's earliest form, is extremely difficult to pin down. He is claimed as a king of Brittany, but this may instead mean Britain. He is called 'the Imperator', suggesting a man of real power, on a par with the imperial title presumed to have been held by Vortigern and probably by his immediate successors too. In British tradition, and noted in the lives of more than one of the saints, he marries Igerna's mother (or widow) and is also the father to Eigr and her sister, mothers to Arthur Pendragon and Culhwch respectively.


As the east of the island is engulfed by the chaos of the foederati revolt that sees the loss of Ceint, later tradition states that High King Vortimer is poisoned and his death allows Vortigern to reclaim the high kingship temporarily before he is faced by Ambrosius Aurelianus. Vortigern flees to his ancestral lands, 'at the fortified camp of Genoreu (Ganarew in later Welsh), on the hill called Cloartius (Little Doward, with its hilltop camp)', in Ercing, by the River Wye. There he meets his end when Ambrosius sets fire to his fortress with him inside it.


Gwrfoddw Hen



The genealogies are somewhat confused (and confusing) where a certain Yspwys Mwyntyrch ap Yspwys is concerned, as are modern descendant registers that may be based on them. He could be of Calchwynedd or he could just as easily be a noble of Ercing. His father is Esbwys (Yspwys) ap Cadrod, which makes him the grandson of Cadrod of Calchwynedd, but then the title 'lord of Ercing' is added, which is nowhere near Calchwynedd. It is acknowledged, though, that the Cadrod in question could either be the son of Cynwyd (above) or one Enir Fardd who himself has debatable links to Ercing.

It seems more likely that two individual figures with the name Yspwys have been confused and combined - with one in Ercing who may even have appeared a century before the one in Calchwynedd. Although the Welsh genealogies have only preserved a very Welsh version of the name, in Latin it would have been Isbuius, and a Brythonic version of this is likely to have been used in the Chilterns.



His daughter married King Meurig of Gwent.

c.590 - c.610

The kingdom falls under the rule of the kings of Gwent. Upon the death of Erb ap Erbic ap Meurig, the kingdom is again divided between his sons, the younger of the two gaining Ercing, or Ergyng to use the later Welsh form of the name.


Erbic ap Meurig

King of Gwent, Glywyssing & Ercing.


Erb ap Erbic

King of Gwent, Glywyssing & Ercing.


Upon Erb's death the unified kingdom of Gwent and Ercing is divided between his sons, nullifying the achievement of unification. Nynnio gains Gwent, while Pebiaw gains Ercing.


Pebiaw Gladrog (the Leprous) ap Erb

Son. m dau of King Constantine of Dumnonia.

Pebiaw, or Peibio Claforg, has a daughter named Efrddyl. She gives birth to an illegitimate son named Dubricius, perhaps around 465, who becomes bishop of Ergyng of the British Church at an unknown date and resigns around 545, dying in 550. Geoffrey of Monmouth has him distinctly out of his time, showing him as the fictitious archbishop of the City of the Legions (Caerleon), although even the known dating for him fails to match up entirely to the rough dates of rule for Pebiaw and his successor.


Gwrgant Mawr (the Great)


Gwent & Ergyng are once more reunited under the energetic Meurig's reign and Ergyng becomes a cantref to that kingdom. By this time, the Hwicce are probably pushing at Ergyng's borders, so its existence as an independent kingdom is unlikely to last for much longer anyway.

By the ninth century it has been conquered by Mercia, although rather than being entirely subjected, its Welsh inhabitants enjoy special rights. In 1535 and 1542, two acts of Parliament draw it into the county of Herefordshire.