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5th & 6th Century Timeline
From the departure of the
to the establishment of sizeable
Emperor Honorius of Rome
to attend to its own affairs. Zosmius reports Roman officials expelled and
native government establishes "independence".
Circa 410 - Governor Owain Finddu of Glywysing (Cardiff &
Glamorgan area) is assassinated in Gwynedd (North
Wales). Irish incursions into Gwynedd
(North Wales), Powys (Mid Wales), Garth Madrun, Dyfed (South West Wales)
& the Gower Peninsula (South
411 - Capture, at Arles,
last Emperor of Britain.
He was executed at Ravenna
413 - Pelagian heresy said to have begun, by Prosper (Tiro) of
in his "Chronicle".
420 - Pelagian heresy outlawed in Rome
(418) but, in Britain,
supposedly enjoys much support from "pro-Celtic" faction.
Traditionalists (pro-Romans) support Roman church. During this time, according
is ruled by petty "tyrants".
Circa 420 - Death of Coel Hen, probably the
last Roman Dux Brittanniarum. The lands of his office in Northern
Britain are divided between his descendants and
become petty kingdoms of the "Gwyr y Gogledd".
421 - Supposed death of King Gradlon Mawr of Brittany. Probable division of Brittany into sub-kingdoms of Cornouaille and Domnonée.
Circa 423 - Birth of St. Patrick in Banna Venta Burniae,
thought to be near Birdoswald.
425 - Vortigern usurps Imperial power in Britain, possibly as
Circa 425 - Cunedda Wledig and his retinue are moved south
from Manau Gododdin to Gwynedd (North Wales)
in order to expel the invading Irish.
Circa 425-50 - King Conomor flourishes in Dumnonia (North
probably from his capital at Castle Dore.
428 - Vortigern invites a number of Germanic warriors to aid
him in consolidating his position in Britain
according to the Historia Brittonum. This appears to have been an early use of
German mercenaries, who probably settled in the Dorchester-upon-Thames
429 - At the request of Palladius, a British deacon, Pope Celestine
I dispatches Bishops Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes
to combat Pelagian heresy. While in Britain,
Germanus, a former military man, leads Celtic Britons to "Hallelujah"
victory on the Welsh border. St. Cadfan founds the Monastery of Barsdey (Island
off the coast of Lleyn Peninsula, North
Some traditions claim Bardsey Island
to be Avalon)
Circa 434 - St. Patrick is captured by pirates and taken to Ireland
as a slave.
435 - Tibatto leads Armorican movement for independence from
Circa 435 - War breaks out between the Irish settlers in Garth
Madrun and Powys (Mid Wales).
King Anlach of Garth Madrun is defeated and forced to send his son, Brychan, as
a hostage to the Powys (Mid Wales)ian
437 - Ambrosius Aurelianus appears as leader of the Pro-Roman
faction in Britain
(traditionally returning from exile in Brittany).
Vortigern's apparent relative, Vitalinus (Guitolinus), fights against Ambrosius
(King Arthur’s Uncle) at the Battle of
Wallop. The latter is probably victorious and is "given all the kingdoms
of the western side of Britain".
Circa 437 - The Irish chieftain, Triffyn Farfog takes the Kingdom
(South West Wales)
by marrying the daughter of King Clotri.
Circa 440 - St. Patrick escapes from his captors and returns
Circa 440-50 - Period of Civil War and famine in Britain,
caused by ruling council's weakness and inability to deal with Pictish
invasions; situation aggravated by tensions between Pelagian/Roman factions. Vacated towns and cities in ruin. Migration
of pro-Roman citizens toward west. Country beginning
to be divided, geographically, along factional lines. King Glywys of Glywysing
(Cardiff & Glamorgan area) flourishes in Glywysing (Cardiff & Glamorgan
Circa 440-90 - King Brychan flourishes in Brycheiniog (Brecon).
His three wives give birth to many saintly children
who evangelize Dumnonia (North Yorkshire Pennines).
One tradition maintains that Brychan was the father of Merlin the Magician.
Circa 441 - Gallic Chronicle records, prematurely, that "Britain,
abandoned by the Romans, passed into the power of the Saxons."
443 - Death of King Constantine Corneu of Dumnonia (North
His kingdom was divided between his two sons as Dumnonia (North
446 - Celtic Britons (probably the pro-Roman party) appeal to
Aetius, Roman governor of Gaul,
for military assistance in their struggle against the Picts and the
Irish/Scots. No help could be sent, at this time, as Aetius had his hands full
with Attila the Hun.
Circa 446 - Vortigern authorizes the use of Saxon mercenaries,
known as foederati, for the defence of the northern parts against attack by the
Picts and to guard against further Irish incursions. The Saxons are given a
little land in Lincolnshire.
447 - Second visit of St. Germanus (this time accompanied by
Severus, Bishop of Trier)
Was this visit spiritually motivated, to combat a revived Pelagian threat or
was Germanus sent in Aetius' stead, to do whatever he could to help the
desperate Celtic Britons? Vortigern is accused of incest. Battle
of Aylesford (Kent) in which the rebellious sons of Vortigern, Vortimer and
Cadeyrn, defeat Hengest for the first time. Cadeyrn is killed in the fighting.
Germanus expells the Irish from Powys (Mid Wales)
and restores Cadeyrn's son, Cadell Ddernllwg, to the throne.
Circa 447 - Celtic Britons, aroused to heroic effort,
"inflicted a massacre" on their enemies, the Picts and Irish, and
were left in peace, for a brief time. Could this heroic effort have been led,
again, by St. Germanus?
Circa 448 - Civil war and plague ravage Britain.
Circa 450 - In the first year of Marcian and Valentinian,
Hengest arrives on shores of Britain
with "3 keels" of warriors, and are welcomed by Vortigern. This event
is known in Latin as the "Adventus Saxonum," the Coming of the Saxons
or the Dawn of the Saxon Age.
Circa 452 - Increasing Saxon settlement in Britain. Vortigern marries Hengest's daughter,
Rowenna, and supposedly offers the Jutish leader the kingdom
Hengest invites his son, Octha, from Germany with
"16 keels" of warriors, who occupy the northern lands, to defend
against the Picts. Picts never heard from, again.
Circa 453 - Raids on British towns and
cities becoming more frequent. Increasing Saxon
455 - Prince Vortimer apparently rebels against the pro-Saxon
policies of his father, Vortigern, and fights Hengest at the Battle
of Crayford. Hengest is victorious and the British army flees back to London.
456 - The indecisve Battle
of Aylesford between Hengest's Saxons and the British under Prince Vortimer.
Prince Cadeyrn of Britain
and King Horsa of Kent
are killed in the fighting.
Circa 456 - St. Patrick leaves Britain
once more to evangelise Ireland.
Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us of a probably fictitious, but entirely
believable, event in which Saxons massacre 300 leading British noblemen at a
phony "peace" conference.
Circa 458 - Saxon uprising in full-swing.
Hengest finally conquers Kent,
in south-eastern Britain.
Circa 458-60 - Full-scale migration of
British aristocrats and city-dwellers across the English Channel to Armorica, in north-western Gaul (the "second migration").
British contingent led by Riothamus (perhaps a title, not a name).
Circa 459 - Vortigern is burnt to death while being besieged
by Ambrosius Aurelianus at Ganarew.
Circa 460-70 - Ambrosius Aurelianus of pro-Roman faction takes
full control of Britain;
leads Celtic Britons in years of back-and-forth fighting with Saxons. British
strategy seems to have been to allow Saxon landings and to then contain them
464 - Supposed death of the legendary King Aldrien of Brittany.
465 - Battle of Wippedsfleet (or Richborough), in which
the Celtic Britons defeat the Saxons, but with great slaughter on both sides.
The latter are confined to the Isle of Thanet
and there is a respite from fighting "for a long time."
Circa 465 - 'King' Arthur probably born
around this time. Birth of St. Dyfrig also.
Circa 466-73 - Period of minimal Saxon
activity. Re-fortification of ancient hillforts and construction of the
Wansdyke possibly takes place during this time.
Circa 469 - Roman emperor, Anthemius, appeals to Celtic
Britons for military help against the Visigoths. Reliable accounts by Sidonius
Apolonaris and Jordanes name the leader of the 12,000 man Breton force,
Riothamus. The bulk of the British force was wiped out in battle against Euric,
the Visigothic king, and the survivors, including Riothamus, vanished and were
never heard from, again.
Circa 471 - The army of King Ceretic of Strathclyde raids the Irish Coast
and carries off some of St. Patrick's new flock and sells them into slavery.
The king receives a written repremand from the Irish Evangelist.
473 - Men of Kent,
under Hengest, move westward, driving Celtic Britons back before them "as
one flees fire."
477 - Saxon chieftain, Aelle, lands on Sussex
coast with his sons. Celtic Britons engage him upon landing but his superior
force besieges them at Pevensey and drives them into the Weald. Over next nine
years, Saxon coastal holdings are gradually expanded in Sussex.
Circa 480 - King Erbin of Dumnonia (North
abdicates in favour of his son, King Gerren LlygesoCirca Death of King Glywys of Glywysing
(Cardiff & Glamorgan area). His kingdom is divided into Gwynllwg, Penychen,
Gorfynedd, Edeligion and others.
Circa 485 - Birth of St. Samson.
Circa 485-96 - Period of Arthur's "twelve battles"
during which he gains reputation for invincibility.
486 - Aelle and his sons overreach their normal territory and
are engaged by Celtic Britons at battle of Mercredesburne. Battle
is bloody, but indecisive, and ends with both sides pledging friendship.
Circa 487 - Birth of St. David.
Circa 490 - Hengest dies. His son, Aesc, takes over and rules
for 34 years. Death of Einion Yrth of Gwynedd (North Wales).
His kingdom is divided into Gwynedd (North Wales)
and Rhos (North Wales Conwy Valley).
St. Cybi Felyn is born in Callington in Cerniw.
493 - Death of St. Patrick, in Glastonbury
according to local legend. Down Patrick seems more likely.
Circa 495 - The Germanic King Cerdic and his son, Cynric, land
somewhere on the south coast, probably near the Hampshire-Dorset border. Their
followers establish the beginnings of the Kingdom
King Gwynllyw of Gwynllwg carries off Princess Gwladys of Brycheiniog (Brecon).
War between the two kingdoms narrowly avoided by the
intercession of the legendary Arthur. The couple marry.
Circa 496 - The Siege of Mount Badon. Celtic Britons, under the command of the
"war leader" Arthur, defeat the Saxons, under King Esla of Bernicia and
possibly Cerdic of Wessex.
Circa 496-550 - Following the victory at Mt. Badon,
the Saxon advance is halted with the invaders returning to their own enclaves.
A generation of peace ensues. Corrupt leadership, more civil turmoil, public
forgetfulness and individual apathy further erode Romano-British culture over
next fifty years, making Britain
ripe for final Saxon "picking."
497 - Birth of St. Cadog. Death of King
Erbin of Dumnonia (North
Circa 500-17 - King Cadwallon Lawhir expels the Irish from Anglesey (North
Circa 505 - Death of St. Paulinus.
508 - King Cerdic of Wessex
begins to move inland and defeats British king, Nudd-Lludd (Natanleod), at the Battle
Circa 510 - The Battle of
Llongborth (possibly Langport or Portsmouth),
where King Gerren Llyngesoc of Dumnonia (North
was killed. Prince Rivod of Brittany
murders his brother, King Maeliaw, and usurps the Breton throne. Many of the
Breton Royal family flee to Britain,
including Prince Budic who seeks refuge at the court of King Aircol Lawhir in Dyfed
(South West Wales).
Circa 515 - Death of Aelle. Kingdom
passed to his son, Cissa and his descendents, but over time, diminished into
517 - Death of King Cadwallon Lawhir of Gwynedd (North
Wales). His son, Maelgwn takes the throne,
murders his uncle, probably King Owain Danwyn of Rhos (North Wales Conwy Valley),
and re-unites the two kingdoms.
517-49 - King Maelgwn flourishes in Gwynedd (North
Wales). Invades Dyfed (South West
Wales) and generally tries to assert himself as
High-King of Britain.
519 - Kingdom of the West
founded with Cerdic its first ruler.
Circa 520 - King Pabo Post Prydain of the Pennines
abdictaes his throne and divides the kingdom between his two sons. He retires,
as a hermit, to Anglesey (North
Wales). Death of King Riwal
Mawr Marchou of Domnonée. King Budic II of Brittany
returns to Cornouaille to claim the Breton throne.
521 - St. Samson is consecrated a bishop by St. Dyfrig,
Archbishop of Glywysing (Cardiff & Glamorgan area) & Gwent (South East
523 - Death of King Gwynllyw of Gwynllwg. Gwnllywg and
Penychen united under his son, St. Cadog
Circa 525 - St. Samson founds the Monastery of Dol and becomes
its first Abbot.
Circa 528 - King & Saint Cadog of Glywysing (Cardiff &
Glamorgan area) abdicates in favour of King Meurig of Gwent (South East Wales),
who is joined in marriage to Cadog's aunt. Banishment of
Princess Thaney of Gododdin. Birth of her son, St.
530 - Saint Pabo Post Prydain, ex-King of the Pennines
dies at Llanbabo. The British of the Isle of Wight
are defeated by King Cerdic of Wessex
at the Battle
Circa 535 - Kings Sawyl Penuchel of the Southern
Pennines is expelled from his kingdom (enemy
uncertain) and flees to Powys (Mid Wales).
Death of King Meirchion Gul of Rheged. The kingdom is
divided into North and South. Death of St. Illtud, Abbot of
537 - Battle of Camlann,
according to Annales Cambriae. Fought between the forces of
Arthur and Mordred. Death (or unspecified other demise) of Arthur (according
to Geoffrey of Monmouth). Saint and King Constantine ruling
in Dumnonia (North
Many historians put this battle much earlier. A possible site for the Battle
of Camlann is the fort of Moel Arthur in Clwyd North Wales
near the town of Ruthin/Rhuthun.
Circa 538 - King Cynlas Goch of Rhos (North Wales Conwy Valley)
abandons his wife in favour of his sister-in-law, a nun who he drags from her
convent. Civil War between Cynlas and his cousin, King
Maelgwn of Gwynedd (North
Maelgwn enters a monastery, but soon returns to secular life and murders his
nephew in order to marry his widow! Civil War also in Powys
(Mid Wales) due to the tyranny of King Cyngen Glodrydd.
540 - King Jonas of Domnonée is murdered by King Cono-Mark of
Cerniw and Poher. Cono-Mark marries Jonas' widow and rules Domnonée.
Circa 540 - Probable writing of Gildas'
"De Excidio Britanniae." King Caradog Freichfras of Gwent
(South East Wales)
gives Caerwent to St. Tathyw and moves the Royal court to Portskewett
545 - Death of the joint-Kings Budic II and his son Hoel I
Mawr of Brittany.
King Tewdwr Mawr succeeds to the throne, but is quickly ousted from Cornouaille
by King Macliau of the Vannetais. Tewdwr flees to Cerniw and sets himself up as
King of the Penwith region.
Circa 545 - The Synod of Brefi is held at Llandewi Brefi to
condemn the Pelagian heresy. St. Dyfrig, Archbishop of South
Wales resigns his position in favour of St.
David. David moves the Archdiocese from Caerleon to St. Davids. Death of St. Dyfrig. He is succeeded as Bishop of Glywysing
(Cardiff & Glamorgan area) & Gwent (South East
Wales) by St. Teilo. Prince Judwal of Domnonée
flees from his murderous step-father to the court of King Childebert of the
546 - St. Gildas returns to Brittany
with St. Cadog.
547 – King Morgan Bulc of Bryneich /Bernaccia
is expelled from his fortress of
Bamburgh by the Angle King Ida who renames the kingdom Bernicia. Morgan
Bulc is forced into exile and the events of his 50 year campaign to regain his kingdom
may have contributed to the King Arthur Legend.
Apparent death of the, probably joint-king,
Hoel II Fychan of Brittany.
Circa 548 - King Cono-Mark of Cerniw, Poher and Domnonée
marries Princess Triphine of BroëreCirca
549 - "Yellow" Plague hits Celtic British
territories, causing many deaths, including King Maelgwn of Gwynedd (North
also affected. Saxons, for whatever reason, are unaffected by
Circa 550 - Death of St. Ninian, Bishop of
Whithorn. Birth of St. Tremeur. Murder of his mother, Triphine, by his father, King Cono-Mark of
Cerniw, Poher and Domnonée. Prince Judwal of Domnonée retakes his
throne. Cono-Mark flees to Cornwall.
The semi-legendary Kingdom
centred around the Scilly Isles possibly inundated by
552 - King Cynric of Wessex
lays siege to the British at Old Sarum and put them to flight.
555 - St. Cybi Felyn, Abbot of Holyhead, dies at his
monastery. Murder of St. Tremeur. Death
of his father, King Cono-Mark of Cerniw and Poher.
Circa 555 - Death of King Erb of Gwent
(South East Wales). The kingdom is divided into Gwent (South East
Wales) and Ergyng (Ross on Wye area).
556 - King Cynric of Wessex
lays siege to the British at Barbury Castle
and is victorious.
558 - Broërec is attacked by King Childebert of the Franks. King
Canao II leads resistance.
Circa 560 - Prince Elidyr of Strathclyde invades Gwynedd (North
Wales) in right of his wife. He tries to expel
his brother-in-law, King Rhun Hir of Gwynedd (North
Wales), at the Battle
of the Cadnant Brook, but is killed in the process.
564 - Death of St. Tugdual, Bishop of Tréguier.
Circa 564 - St. Cadog settles in Weedon in Calchfynedd and is
made Bishop there. St. Samson attends the Council of Paris
and witnesses several Royal decrees.
Circa 565 - King Riderch Hael of Strathclyde mounts an
unsuccessful revenge attack on King Rhun Hir of Gwynedd (North
Wales). Rhun marches on Strathclyde and
reinforces the armies of his half-brother, Brudei, in Pictland. Death of St. Samson.
569 - St. David holds the Synod of Victoria
to denounce the Pelagian heresy once more.
570 - Death of St. Gildas.
Circa 570-75 - The Northern British Alliance
is forged between the kingdoms of North Rheged,
Strathclyde, Bryneich and Elmet. They fight the Northumbrians at the Battles of
Gwen Ystrad and the Cells of Berwyn
571 - King Cuthwulf of Wessex
invades Midland Britain
and defeats the Celtic Britons, probably under the King of Calchfynedd, at the Battle
573 - Kings Peredyr and Gwrgi of Ebrauc (North
Yorkshire) ally themselves with Kings Dunaut Bwr of
the Northern Pennines
and Riderch Hael of Strathclyde. They march north to claim the fort at
Caerlaverock from King Gwendoleu of Caer-Gwendoleu. The latter was killed in
of Arthuret and his bard, Myrddin, is forced to flee into the Caledonian Forest.
575 - Prince Owein of North
Westmorland) kills King Theodoric of Bernicia
(Northumberland) at the Battle
of Leeming Lane.
577 - Wessex
invades the lower Severn Valley.
Kings Ffernfael of Caer-Baddan, Cyndyddam of Caer-Ceri and Cynfael of
Caer-Gloui are killed at the Battle
of Dyrham. Wessex overuns the Cirencester area. King Tewdwr Mawr of Brittany
returns to Cornouaille, reclaims his throne and kills
King Macliau of the Vannetais in battle.
580 - The army of Kings Peredyr and Gwrgi of Ebrauc (North
Yorkshire) march north to fight the Anglians of Bernicia.
Both are killed by King Adda's forces at Caer Greu. The Deirans rise up, under
King Aelle, and move on the City of Ebrauc (North
Yorkshire)irca King Peredyr's son is forced to flee the
Kingdom. St. Cadog is martyred in Calchfynedd by invading Mercians.
584 - Death of St.
Deiniol Gwyn, Bishop of Bangor
Fawr. The Celtic Britons are victorious over King Ceawlin of Wessex
at the Battle
of Fethanleigh and kill his brother, Cuthwine. Ceawlin ravages the
surrounding countryside in revenge.
585 - Death of King Alain I of Brittany.
586 - Death of King Rhun Hir of Gwynedd (North Wales). Death of King Judwal of Domnonée.
588 - King Edwin of Deira is ousted from his Kingdom by the
Bernicians and seeks refuge at the court of King Iago of Gwynedd (North Wales) .
589 - Death of Saint and King Constantine of Dumnonia (North
Death of St. David, Archbishop of St. Davids.
590 - The Siege of Lindisfarne.
The Northern Celtic British Alliance (North
Rheged, Strathclyde, Bryneich and Elmet) lays
siege to King Hussa of Bernicia
and almost exterminates the Northumbrians from Northern
Britain. King Urien of North
Westmorland) is assassinated at the behest of his jealous ally King Morgan Bulc
of Bryneich / Bernicia
(Northumberland) . The Northumbrians recover while
internal squabbles tear the Celtic British Alliance
Circa 591 - King Dunaut Bwr of the Northern
Pennines mounts an invasion of North
Rheged, but is repulsed by its King, Owein, and
his brother, Prince Pasgen. Prince Elffin of North
Westmorland)is simultaneously attacked by King
Gwallawc Marchawc Trin of Elmet.
Circa 593 - King Morgan Bulc of Bryneich invades North
Westmorland)and kills King Owein in battle. Prince
Pasgen of North Rheged (Cumberland,
Westmorland)flees to the Gower Peninsula (South
A greatly diminished North Rheged (Cumberland,
Westmorland)probably continues under the rule of their
595 - The aging King Dunaut Bwr of the Northern
Pennines dies fighting off a Bernician invasion. His
kingdom is overrun and his family flee to join his
grandson in Gwynedd (North Wales).
598 - Kings Mynyddog Mwynfawr of Din-Eidyn & Cynan of
Gododdin ride south to fight Saxon Bernicia against
enormous odds at the Battle
of Catterick. The Celtic Britions are victorious, though King Gerren of Dumnonia
(North Yorkshire Pennines)
is killed in the fighting. He is buried at Dingerein. Probable expansion of North
to fill the vacuum left in Dumnonia (North Yorkshire Pennines)
(North Yorkshire Pennines).
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