rapid was the disintegration of Romanised British life under
the pressure of Saxon and Angle invaders that evidence of the
Romano-British states 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 AD. Where names of these
states are unknown, the capital town is used to differentiate them.
The names of many British states 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
migrations into the land 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 states 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 (or very historic Roman figure in the post-Roman
country). 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" was used.