Campus Elleti

HB 41 refers to a site called Campus Elleti:

“As they explored all the provinces they came to the plain of Elled in the country called Glywysing.”

where the envoys found what they were searching for, a child without a father. His name was “Ambrosius”, that is “Embreis Guletic”. The answer to the question of who the plain was named after can be found in JC 4 which consists of three parts:

Gen. JC 4a
JC 4b JC 4c seg.
1 Cadog
0 Gwynllyw
-1 Glywys
-2 Solor
-3 Nor
-4 Owain Finddu Constantinus Owain Finddu
-5 Macsen Wledig Magnus Maximus Macsen Wledig Ceindrech
-6 Maximianus Rheiden
-7 Constantinus Magnus Eledi
-8 Cynan Constantius Chlorus Elen Luyddog Morddu
-9 Eudaf Hen Meirchion

JC 4c mentions the individual, Eledi ap Morddu, as a grandfather of Ceindrech, a wife of Macsen Wledig and mother of Owain Finddu. JC 4a shows Glywys, the eponym of Glywysing, as a descendant of Owain.

The Liber Landavensis mentions the name “Elleti” and the place is located near “Llansanwyr”, that is Llansannor.[1] It may be significant that the village is less than 3 miles distant from Llanillid. There was a chapel dedicated to St. Ilid on Tintagel island.

[1] Davies, W., 1979, 98.

The Annales Cambriae A-text

The text covers a period from numerical year 1 to numerical year 533, that is an interval of 532 years. This time-span is known as the paschal cycle which is made up of 28 Metonic cycles, each of 19 years length. A Metonic cycle consists of a period of 11 years, called the hendecad, followed by another of 8 years, called the ogdoad.[1]

The question arises what date should one ascribe to numerical year 1. The first annotated entry appears under numerical year 9:

” Pasca commvtatur super diem dominicum cum papa leone . episcopo rome .”[2]
“Easter altered on the Lord’s Day by Pope Leo, Bishop of Rome.”[3]

Prosper dated this event to 455. It is proposed that this was the last year of the first Metonic cycle. 447, the last year of the cycle’s hendecad, was designated as year 1. The Metonic cycle to which it belonged would have commenced in the year 437. It would thus seem that there originally was a hendecad starting at that date, now largely missing. The table below explains the proposal using the “a” prefix dating for numerical years employed in the  Annales Cambriae The A text (pdf document)[4].

Start date
End date Year
a-9 437 a1 447 hendecad a-9 = 437 was start date of the 1st Metonic cycle. a-9 to a0 are missing years.
a2 448 a9 455 ogdoad a9 = 455 was the end date of the 1st Metonic cycle. a9 is the first annotated year.
a10 456 a20 466 hendecad a10 = 456 was the start date of the 2nd Metonic cycle.
a21 467 a28 474 ogdoad a21 = 467 was the end date of the 2nd Metonic cycle.
a504 950 a514 960 hendecad a504 = 950 was the start date of the 28th Metonic cycle.
a515 961 a522 968 ogdoad a522 = 968 was the last date of the 28th Metonic cycle. Last annotated year is a517.
a523 969 a533 979 hendecad Unannotated years.
a534 980 a541 987 ogdoad Unannotated years.

Evidence for this might be the lack of annotations after a517, which may be due to the adding of a Metonic cycle at the end of the text to compensate for the partial loss of the first one. This would achieve the desired goal of listing a full paschal cycle. However, this was brought about by miscounting the number of years in the various decades. It is proposed that this earliest Metonic cycle would have included versions of two entries in AC B-text, namely:

“Anus aduentus anglorum . horsi et hengisti tempore wortigerni regis.”

“Anus dies tenebrosa sicut nox.”

It is also important to note that Badon occurred in the year given numerically as 72. It follows that this was the year 518.

[1] Dumville, D.N., 1975, 52 n.2.
[2] Gough-Cooper, H., 2012, (accessed 26.10.19)
[3] Halsall, P., 1998, (accessed 26.10.19)
[4] Gough-Cooper, H., 2015, (accessed 28.10.19)

Cadwaladr Fendigaid

There is an entry in Hengwrt 33 V, NLW Cwrtmawr 453 (c.1615×1630) that states:

“The age of the Lord when Cadwaladr Vendigaid went to Rome: 653.”[1]

There are two possible chronologies for Cadwaladr Fendigaid:

1. HRB XII 14 tells us his mother was a sister of Penda. This is confirmed by ByA 28a:

“Mam Gatwaladyr vendigait, merch Pyt, chwaer y Banna ap Pyt.”[2]

where Panna ap Pyd is the Welsh for Penda son of Pybba. The Annales Cambriae tells us his father died at ‘bellum cantscaul’ c.632 to 634. Bartrum estimated her marriage to Cadwallon c. 632.[3]  Thus, AC dating Cadwaladr’s death in 682, during a plague, is plausible. That there was indeed a plague around this time is confirmed by entries in a number of Irish annals.

2. Bartrum argued that the plague in which Cadwaladr died actually occurred in 664. Reference to it is given by Bede:

“In the same year of our Lord 664, there happened an eclipse of the sun, on the third day of May, about the tenth hour of the day. In the same year, a sudden pestilence …”[4]

The timing of the eclipse is accurate to within days, as the following reconstruction of the eclipse path shows:

Total Solar Eclipse of 1 May, 664 AD. NASA GSFC.

The earlier date is supported by HB 64 which talks of his death during the reign of Oswy. HRB states Cadwaladr reigned for 12 years which would give a start to his reign close to the time of his Rome visit. Charles Oman argued that HRB dating his death in Rome to 689 is a conflation with the Wessex Ceadwalla.[5]

The second of the two chronologies appears to carry more weight.

[1] Guy, B., 2016, 23.
[2] Bartrum, P.C., 1966, 91.
[3] Bartrum, P.C., 1993, 90.
[4] Sellar, A.M., 1907.
[5] Oman, C., 1921.

Rhita Gawr

The Arthurian connection of Ricca (or Ritta) may have originated from the HRB. Iolo Morganwg mentions a story of Rhita Gawr and he gave the source as a o Lyfr Iaco ap Dewi. Rhita settled a dispute between kings Nynnio and Peibio by conquering them and cutting off their beards. He did the same with all the other 28 kings that challenged him and made a mantle from the beards.

That this may not have been an invention of Iolo is the fact that Ricca may well have been of one generation earlier than Arthur since JC 9 and JC 10 indicate that to be the case for the brothers Nynnio and Peibio. This generational placement is in line with Culhwch ac Olwen which indicates that Eigr was married to a Ricca, chief elder of Cornwall.

One possible speculation, if Iolo’s story has any historical basis, is that if Eigr’s husband was indeed the paramount British ruler it would suggest his conflict with him was not over a damsel but rather over which ruler would have supremacy over the British kingdoms.

Nynnio and Peibio ruled in S. Wales and the Liber Landavensis locates a Tref Rita there.

Tintagel and the Alfred coin

A coin dating from Alfred’s reign (871-99) was found on Tintagel island at the ‘chambers south of chapel’ site, probably by a visitor. The discovery may not have been made as part of an excavation. Its caption was given as ‘Tintagel 4/1/35 64a’. Number 64 indicates it was a pre-1938 discovery and 4/1/35 points to 1935.

“The coin is of a two-line type (BMC xiv), moneyer Beornmær, issued c 880-99, but its circulation outwith Wessex may suggest a depositon c 880-910.”[1]

The following is an item on it from the British Numismatic Society:

British Numismatic Society, 1988, 137

British Numismatic Society, 1988, 137

The excavations between 1990 and 1999 text, Excavations at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, has the following account:

Barrowman, R.C., Batey, C.E., Morris, C.D., 2007, 321

Barrowman, R.C., Batey, C.E., Morris, C.D., 2007, 321

The original chapel may well have been dedicated to Coliavus, see Coliavus, a name with Arthurian associations. One could speculate the coin was not an accidental loss but rather placed near the chapel if Tintagel had already been identified with Arthur in the 9th C and, perhaps, Alfred saw himself as the new Arthur.

[1] Barrowman, R.C., Batey, C.E., Morris, C.D., 2007, 17.

The two Teilos

The Vita Teliaui mentions the following kings as Teilo’s contemporaries:

“Teudiric filio teithpall. Idon filio ynyr guent. Gurcant maur. Mailcun. Aircol lauhir. Catgucaun tredicil. Rein.”[1]

The dating for each of the seven kings listed will be considered.

1. Tewdrig ap Teithfall was of gen. -3. However, that name was at times incorrectly ascribed to Tewdrig ap Llywarch of gen. 1. see Tewdrig.

2. The Buchedd Beuno states Iddon ab Ynyr Gwent had dealings with Cadwallon ap Cafan who belonged to gen. 3, see list 1a in Harleian Genealogies. This dating for Iddon is confirmed by the Liber Landavensis which tells us:

“In the time of the aforesaid King Iddon, the Saxons came into his country to plunder, and he with his army pursued them, and in his way came to St. Teilo …”[2]

Bartrum claims the chronology indicated by the LL is imposssible as Teilo was a contemporary of Dewi. However, the Dewi concerned could have been the later individual, see The two bishop Davids.

3. Gwrgan Fawr was the father of Onbrawst who was married to Meurig ap Tewdrig.[3] Meurig was of gen. 2 as shown in list 9a of Jesus College ms. 20.

4. Maelgwn Gwynedd was of gen. 0, see list 1b in Harleian Genealogies.

5. Aergol Lawhir was of gen. -2, see list 2b in Harleian Genealogies.

6. Cadwgon ap Cathen of gen. 4 has a cognomen that takes the form Trydelic in ABT 18 G and Tredylic in ABT 18 H2. As Bartrum noted, his giving land to Teilo is probably a reference to the church of Teilo.[4]

7. It is unclear which Rhain is being spoken of.

There appears to have been two Teilos. The earlier one was a contemporary of Tewdrig, Maelgwn and Aergol. A possible candidate for the earlier Teilo is Eiludd ap Stater of gen. -1 whose name appears in list 2c of Harleian Genealogies. The Vita explains the evolution of his name thus:

“After he grew up in age, virtue, and wisdom, he was called by intelligent persons by the suitable name of Elios; and Elios, in Greek, is interpreted in Latin by Sol, [the Sun;] for his learning shone as the sun, by illustrating the doctrine of the faithful. But illiterate men corruptly pronouncing the termination of the word, it came to pass, in course of time, that he was called not Elios, but Eliud.”[5]

As noted by Wade-Evans:

“Teilo is not said to be of the stock of Cunedda in B.L.D., nor is his name in P.K. This throws doubt on his Cuneddan origin.”[6]

The later Teilo, who was descended from Cunedda, was the son of Ensych, see list 5 in Bonedd y Saint, and belonged to gen. 1, as did Dubricius, see list 10a of Jesus College ms. 20, who he succeeded as bishop of Llandaff. He could have been a contemporary of Iddon and Gwrgan. He was not of the same period as Aergol Lawhir and as noted by Bartrum:

“In the Book of Llandaf persons named Aircot, Aircol appear as witnesses to two charters in the times of bishops Aeddan and Elwystl. But the properties concerned are in the Dore Valley and a different person is probably indicated.”[7]

[1] Evans, J. G, Rhys, J., 1893, 118.
[2] Rees, W. J., 1840, 361.
[3] Evans, J. G, Rhys, J., 1893, 140.
[4] Bartrum, P.C., 2009, 95.
[5] Rees, W. J., 1840, 333.
[6] Arch. Camb. 86, 163, n. 3.
[7] Bartrum, P.C., 2009, 5.

Elidir Mwynfawr

Elidir the Wealthy was killed in Arfon, according to the Chirk Codex, and a failed attempt to avenge his death was made by Rhydderch Hael, Mordaf Hael, Nudd Hael and Clydno Eidyn. Their pedigrees are shown below.

Gen. BGG 8 BGG 9 BGG 12 ByA 17 seg.
ByS 18 seg.
HG 7
2 St. Lleuddad
1 Dingad
0 Rhydderch Hael Mordaf Hael Elidir Mwynfawr Elidir Mwynfawr Nudd Hael
-1 Tudwal Tudclyd Serwan Gwrwst Briodor Gwrwst Briodor Senyllt Clinog Eitin
-2 Cedig Cedig [Gwidol] Gwidol Cedig Cynfelyn
-3 Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen
-4 Ednyfed Ednyfed
-5 Macsen Wledig Macsen Wledig