Heavenfield Round-up 7: June Links

I’m not sure where June went. I wish I had been more productive, but luckily some of my fellow bloggers have been  much busier.

Bamburgh Research Project has been out in the field for most of June. Various updates have been posted on their blog.

Curt Emanuel, the Medieval History Geek, has posts on late antique panegyrics and mixed feelings on studying human tragedies.

Guy Halsall, the Historian on the Edge, has posted a recent conference paper Feud, Vengeance, Politics and History in Early Medieval Europe.

Kristina Killgrove of Powered by Osteons has put her presentation from the Moving Romans conference in Holland on her blog: Etched in Bone: Uncovering information about immigrants to Rome.

Magistra et Mater writes about why medievalists write cultural history.

Jonathan Jarrett of A Corner of Tenth Century Europe wrote on medieval gender studies and Vandals and archaeology.

Tim Clarkson of Senchus wrote about the Aberlady Cross and Medieval Archaeology goes online. At Heart of the Kingdom, Tim provides some background for a short story on a queen of Strathclyde.

Diane McIlmoyle of Esmeralda’s Cumbrian History and Folklore writes about the 9th century Kingmoor Ring.

Carl Pyrdum of Got Medieval finds reason to call fundamentalists medieval, dragging poor Nessie and St Columba into the fray.

Andy Gaunt of Archaeology and History of Sherwood Forest has posts on the Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve and Bothamsall Castle.

Clas Merdin has a series of posts this month on the foundation legends of London as New Troy, London as Mallory’s Winchester, and the London Stone. A little background for the coming Olympics in London in July.

Karen Jolly of Revealing Words has been scouting her sites for her novel around Oakley and interpreting what a note about an Anglo-Saxon tent means.

Sally Wilde has posts on her research on the importance of male heirs, early Welsh research, on landscape research.

Here at Heavenfield, I have posts on secondary sources for the Britons and a review of Disney/Pixar’s Brave. Medievalist.net also reviewed my Kalamazoo talk Famine and Pestilence in the Irish Sea Region, 500-800 AD.  On Contagions, I also have a post on plague at the siege of Caffa in 1346 that is reported to have started the Black Death in Europe.

Books on Early Medieval Britons

Sally Wilde mentioned on her blog this week that it is hard to find information on early medieval Wales. There is no doubt that this is true. It would help to search for Britons rather than Welsh, since Wales didn’t come into existence until after the early medieval period. So I went through the bibliography I had on my old early medieval resources website. I haven’t updated it in several years now but hopefully this will give anyone interested in the British / Welsh a head start. Leave more suggestions in the comments!

The Heroic Age issues on Britons and Anglo-Saxons:

Issue 4 Anglo-Celtic Relation in the Early Middle Ages

Issue 9 Oswald, King and Saint: His Britain and Beyond (has several articles with Britons)

Tim Clarkson, The Men of the North: Britons in Southern Scotland, 2011

Christopher Snyder, An Age of Tyrants: Britain and the Britons, 300-600 AD (1998)

Christopher Synder, The Britons, Blackwell’s People of Europe Series, 2003.

Kenneth Dark, Civitas to Kingdom: British Political Continuity, 300-800 AD (1999)

Higham, NJ An English Empire: Bede and the early Anglo-Saxon Kings MUP, 1995, 269pp

Higham, NJ The Convert Kings: power and religious affiliation in early Anglo-Saxon England MUP 1997, 293pp

Higham, NJ ‘Dynasty and Cult: the utility of Christian mission to Northumbrian kings between 642 and 654′, in Northumbria’s Golden Age ed. J. Hawkes and S. Mills, Sutton 1999, 95-104

Higham, NJ. ‘King Edwin of the Deiri: rhetoric and the reality of power in early England’, in Early Deira: Archaeological studies of the East Riding in the fourth to ninth centuries ed. H. Geake & J. Kenny, Oxbow 2000, 41-50

Higham, NJ ‘Medieval “Overkingship” in Wales: the earliest evidence’ Welsh History Review 16, 1992, 145-59

Higham, NJ. ‘King Cearl, the battle of Chester and the origins of the Mercian “overkingship”‘, Midland History, 17, 1992, 1-15

These Higham books and papers focus on the Anglo-Saxons but have a lot of information on the Britons as well.

External Contacts and the Economy of Late Roman Britain and Post-Roman Britain. K.R. Dark Editor. Boydell Press. (1996) (Collected study by multiple authors)

Dark, Kenneth R. (1992) ‘A Sub-Roman Re-Defense of Hadrian’s Wall?’Britannia  23:111-120.

Cessford, C. (1993) ‘Calvery in Early Bernicia: A Reply’ Northern History 29: 185-87.

- (1994) ‘The Death of Aethelfrith of Lloegr’ Northern History 30: 179-183.

- (1996) “Exogamous Marriages between Anlgo-Saxons and Britons in Seventh Century North Britain” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 9: 49-52.

- (1999) “Relations between Britons of Southern Scotland and Anglo-Saxon Northumbria” p. 150-160 in  Northumbria’s Golden Age  Jane Hawkes and Susan Mills, Editors. Sutton Publishing.

Davies, Wendy (1982) Wales in the Early Middle Ages. Leicester University Press.

Davies, Sioned and Jones, Nerys Ann  (1997) The Horse in Celtic Culture: Medieval Welsh Perspectives.  Cardiff: University of Wales

Gruffydd, R. Geraint. (1989/90) ‘From Gododdin to Gwynedd: reflections on the story of Cunedda’. Studia Celtica Vol XXIV/XXV : 1-14.

- (1994)’In Search of Elmet’ Studia Celtica XXVIII:63-79.

Kirby, DP (1977) ‘Welsh bards and the border’, p. 31-42; In: Mercian Studies Ed. Ann Dornier, Leicaster University Press.

Knight, J.K. (1984) ‘Glamorgan AD 400-1100′, p. 315-364; In: Early Glamorgan: Prehistory and Early History Series: Glamorgan Country History, 2. H.N. Savory, Editor. Published by Glamorgan County Trust, Ltd. and distributed by University of Wales Press.

Pearce, Susan M. (1971) ‘The Traditions of the Royal King-List of Dumnonia’ Transactions of the Honorable Society of Cymmrodorionp. 128-39. [Cornwall and Devon]

Rahtz, P.A. (1982) ‘Celtic Society in Somerset AD 400-700′Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies  30: 176-200.

Rowland, Jenny. (1990) Early Welsh Saga Poetry: A Study and Edition of the Englynion D.S. Brewer.

- (1995) ‘Warfare and Horses in the Gododdin and the Problem of Catraeth’ Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies. 30:13-40.

Sims-Williams, Patrick (1996) “The Death of Urien” Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies  32: 25-56.

Steane, Kate and Alan Vince (1993) ‘Post-Roman Lincoln: Archaeological Evidence for Activity in Lincoln from the 5th to the 9th centuries’, p. 71-79; In: Pre-Viking Lindsey Alan Vince Editor. Lincoln Archaeological Studies No. 1.

Taylor, C. M. (1992) ‘Elmet: boundaries and Celtic survival in the post-Roman period’ Medieval History  2:111-129.

Wood, Juliette. (1984) ‘Maelgwn Gwynedd: A Forgotten Welsh Hero’ Trivium 19:103-117.

I would also suggest looking at the early Welsh hagiography. Most of it was written c. 1100 but is probably the closest to narrative history. Many of these saints date to c. 550-750 and most have royal connections.

Henken, Elissa R. (1987) Traditions of the Welsh Saints  [Cambridge] D.S. Brewer

Caradoc of Llancarfan and a monk of Rhys Two Lives of Gildas Translated and notes by Hugh Williams. Reprinted by Llanerch Press. (online)

Taylor, Thomas (1991 reprint) The Life of St. Samson of Dol. Llanerch Publishers. (immigrated from Wales to Brittany in the late 6th century – the earliest life of a British saint?)

There are lives of David (Dewi), Cadoc (Cadog) Illtud, Gildas, Padarn, Ninnian (Uinnau), Beuno of Gwynedd. William of Malmesbury’s History of Glastonbury might also be useful.

There are a variety of books about Welsh saints that I haven’t included here also.



All Cadwaladr’s Mothers

[From the archives with a new title: a little bit of folklore for the first Friday in June.]

Cadwaladr the blessed is one of my favorite Old British folklore figures so I can’t leave 2007 behind without one long post on him. A paraphrase translation follows of some matrilinear notes on Cadwaladr in the Bonedd y Arwyr (pedigrees of the heroes) taken from PC Bartun, Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts, Cardiff, U of Wales Press, 1966. I can’t read Old Welsh so this paraphrase is based off the little Welsh I can figure out in the pedigree and translations I’ve seen elsewhere for these names.

These are the mothers of Cadwaladr and most of his paternal ancestors. This list of mothers assumes that you know Cadwaladr’s paternal lineage (given further below).

The Mothers of Cadwaladr o Gogail

  • Mother of Cadwaladr the blessed, daughter of Pybba, sister of Penda son of Pybba.
  • Mother of Cadwallon son of Cadfan, Tandreg the black, daughter of Cynan Garwen [of Powys]
  • Mother of Beli son of Rhun, Perwar daughter of Rhun of Great Wealh son of Einian son of Mar son of Keneu son of Coel [Hen]
  • Mother of Rhun ap Maelgwn, Gwallwenn daughter of Avallach
  • Mother of Maelgwn Gwynedd, Meddyf daughter of Faeldaf son of Dylan Draws of Nan Conway
  • Mother of Meddyf, daughter of Tallwch son of March/Mark son of Meirchiawn, sister of Tristain [Drystann, Drustain]
  • Mother Cadwallon Long Arm, Prawst daughter of Tithlyn Britain [Prydain]
To fill in a few gaps, here is Cadwaladr’s patrilinear pedigree from Bonedd y Sant (pedigrees of the saints):

Catwaladyr vendigeit [ap Kadwallawn ap Catuan] m. Yago m. Beli m. Rhun m. Maelgwn m Catwallawn llawhir m. Einyawn yrth m. Cuneda weldic” (Bartrum, p. 56)

Cadwaladr the blessed [son of Cadwallon son of Cadfan] son of Iago son of Beli son of Rhun son of Maelgwn (Gwynedd) son of Cadwallon Long Arm son of Einian yrth son of Cunedda the Chieftain/ruler.

Cadwaladr became an immensely important ancestor to later kings of Gwynedd because they all traced their descent from him. The remainder of the First Dynasty of Gwynedd were his son and grandsons and the Second Dynasty of Gywnedd legitimated itself through a matrilinear linkage to Cadwaladr’s dynasty. As Cadwallon was universally said to be Cadwaladr’s father, thus the Cadwallon who was slain by King Oswald at Denisesburna close to Heavenfield was the ancestor of all later kings of North Wales.

I should point out that the patrilinear genealogy above probably has at least incorrect link. The ancestry of Iago ap Beli is given differently in different genealogical tracts. There seems to have been claims that Rhun ap Maelgwn was a bastard or died childless. Anyway, Iago ap Beli was related to Maelgwn but probably not his great grandson.

Getting back to this massive matrilinear genealogy… the whole point is to link Cadwaladr to as many Old British heroes and genealogical tales as possible. One of the oddest and most common tales of Cadwaladr is that his mother was the sister of Penda of Mercia. This is also found in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. Notably, it is not improbable, even if it is too late to rely on. Heroes whom Cadwaladr is said to descend from include Cynan Garwen of Powys (such a marriage, again, is not improbable), a fabulously wealthy descedant of the northern Coel Hen (Ole King Coel was a merry ole soul…), King Mark and Tristain of Arthurian fame, and then some sovereignty type tales. Both Coel Hen and King Mark-Tristain link Cadwaladr to the stories of the Gwyr y Gogledd [Men of the North- British heroes whose land later became Northumbria].

Did you notice a familiar figure here from last week? Cadwaladr via Rhun ap Maelgwn is said to be the descendant of Avallach, whom we met before as the grandfather of Owain ap Urien in the tale of Modron at the Ford. So… this means that Maelgwn Gwynedd had a similar meeting at a ford as Urien Rheged. It is not a coincidence that both fathers have their kingdom (Gwynedd and Rheged) as their epithet; this means that they were the real foundation king for the kingdom. We might say “Penda Mercia”, “Ida Bernicia” or “Aethelfrith Northumbria” as an analogy. Both Maelgwn Gwynedd and Urien Rheged create their kingdoms out of some minor land holding of their family.The last two figures probably represent similar sovereignty tales with local and pan-Brittonic claims respectively. Dylan Draws of Nan Conway is obviously some type of local tale within Gwynedd (which borders or includes the River Conway). The last figure who epithet is “Britain” suggests a similar foundation role but this story has been lost.

These extended genealogies give us a peek into all of the folklore and oral ‘history’ that has been lost and some of the material that Geoffrey of Monmouth and other twelfth century authors drew upon.