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Cerdic | King of Wessex

Updated on March 2, 2011

Cerdic, Speaking in First Person!

I am Cerdic, first king of West Saxons (Wessex) in England, born in Lower Saxony in 467 AD to Elesa (my father) who was born about 439 AD in Ancient Saxony, Northern Germany. My grandfather was Esla born about 411 AD. I am also descended from Freya, a Saxon conqueror and from Thor. Oden, Freya and Thor were historical figures allegedly later transformed into gods as ancestral tales were retold over the centuries!

I lived on the west shore of Jutland, in boglands opposite Odense (means Oden’s Sanctuary), the city named after the most renowned king of Saxons, Oden, who lived in the second Christian century - from whom I am descended. Oden, or Woden, was “the master of all poets” (per medieval Poets were believed to be able to converse with the gods of Assgard, their ancient homeland. Poets preserved the oral history of the people and were highly regarded.

Knowing the land held by the Britons to be good land, in 495 AD when I was a Saxon Ealdorman (leader), my son Cynric and I sailed from Jutland with 5 ships and landed at Cerdic's-ore (Cerdic's mouth, later called Caldshore) where we battled the British tribes known as Welsh of the Horn (Cornwalls).

Ancient Welch poets tell the history of my conflict with the legendary (King) Arthur, commander-in-chief, united with Geraint ab Erbin, Prince of Devonshire, in the Battle of Llongborth around 501 AD. This was a ferocious and bloody battle, in which Erbin was slain. Some scholars believe King Arthur was merely legend; others believe he was a living King. Is this ancient Welch poetry true or fabricated?

In 508 we encroached upon the British forces of King Natanleod, who we slayed along with five thousand of his Celtic warriors.

Ultimately after several other battles over the years, I established the Kingdom of the West Saxons (Wessex) in 519, centered around Wantage, birthplace of King Alfred the Great and I became the first King of Wessex in England.

I died in 534 AD. My son Cynric succeeded me in our government for “six and twenty winters.” When Cynric died, his son, Ceawlin reigned for seventeen years. When Ceawlin died, his son Ceol reigned for five years. When Ceol died, Ceolwulf, Ceol’s brother, reigned for seventeen years. Then Ceolwulf’s nephew, Cynebils, reigned “one and thirty winters.”

From Cerdic’s Sage at : Forced west by the British fighters of King Arthur, Cerdic once again met the Welsh at Cerdic's Ford (Charford) on the River Avon. Moving north to Mount Badon (Bath), Cerdic fought Arthur in the British king's last major victory, earning the name Caradoc Vreichvras (Cerdic Strong-Arm) of Arthurian legend. Although Cerdic was turned back by Arthur, it would become a pyrrhic victory for the British king. As Arthur tried to regroup his forces at the eastern stronghold of Fort Guinnion (Caer Guinn, Guinnii Castrum or Winchester), Cerdic moved freely through the land, defeating earlier Saxon tribes who had followed Hengist and had settled in the area of Wantage (Dog River) northwest of Fort Guinnion (Winchester), after slaughtering the Britons at Stonehenge in the Night of the Long Knives. There, in the upper valley of the Thames, Cerdic established the kingdom of West Saxons (Wessex) in 519, which centred around Wantage, birthplace of Ælfred the Great. Cerdic thus became the first king of West Saxons (Wessex) in England.

King Arthur By Castleden R. Staff; MAP

King Arthur By Castleden R. Staff 
The Kings of Briton at the time of King Arthur.  
Dates approximate.

Following Video

From YouTube site: "This is a compilation of Cerdic, the Anglo-Saxon warlord antagonist played by Stellan Skarsgard in King Arthur. In a lot of ways, I wished that he would have won. These clips do slant it in a way to lead one to believe that he defeated Arthur at the end."


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      donna cator 5 years ago

      Thank you Barbara for reading my hub. I do a lot of genealogy and there are some very interesting stories that develop.

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      Barbara_Louisa 5 years ago

      I have enjoyed this very much,I have 3 lines going back to Adam and have I must admit fallen for my mighty Saxon forebears.As the Wessex guys are my family I guess you are are also..Hi cousin!I am in Australia .

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      msresearch 6 years ago from The Space Coast of Florida

      Thank you Janell. Your having studied the ancients, makes me feel so honored! Donna

    • msresearch profile image

      msresearch 6 years ago from The Space Coast of Florida

      By the way, this is my 26th great grandfather (if my family tree is without glitches in this ancient line)

    • msresearch profile image

      msresearch 6 years ago from The Space Coast of Florida

      Thanks. It gets really interesting when I research this far back in history and realize an ancestor's life is documented to the point where we can envision the person he might have been back then. Thanks for reading!

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      Kolby 6 years ago

      Very cool. I had never heard of this particular King.