Arthur’s court is said to be located at a place called Celliwig in Cernyw. I believe it must be a place that occupies a prime strategic site in Cornwall. The Romans had to make a similar decision as to where to locate their forts. Two of their three known forts in Cornwall are a mere 5 miles apart. Both occupy hilltops that overlook the highest navigable point on major Cornish rivers.

The first is at Nanstallon and the associated river is the Camel which drains on the north coast at Padstow. The second fort is at Restormel, near the river Fowey which drains on the south coast at the town of Fowey. The forts are separated by an east-west ridgeway, possibly prehistoric in origin, which runs along the central spine of Cornwall. They could also monitor the north-south traffic, some of which would be avoiding having to sail round the tip of the peninsula.

It is here, near the geographical centre of Cornwall and between the two forts, that Castle Canyke or Kynock is situated. It is the largest hill-fort in Cornwall and I believe it to be Kelli wic. It is bivallate and oval in shape measuring 348 m and 308 m. Ferdinand Lot (1901) thought Arthur’s residence was Bodmin, the town the castle is located in, and he noted that nearby was a place called Callywith.[1] Nearby is Callywith wood, perhaps originally part of the forest indicated by the meaning of the name Celliwig, i.e forest grove.

[1] Romania 30, 13

The king list of Gwynedd

The line of descent of the Venedotian kings is given in H3859 1. However, this list poses a problem in terms of chronology until it is treated as two fragments as shown in the first and third columns in the table below. The reason why I have inserted a second column in between will be explained.

Gen. H3859 1:1st seg. H3859 1:2nd seg. H3859 1: 3rd. seg. ByA 28c ChB
13 Owain
12 Hywel D.
11 Cadell
10 Rhodri M.
9 Merfyn F.
8 Esyllt
7 Cynan D.
6 Rhodri M.
5 Idwal I. Conobertus
4 Cadwaladr F. Alain II
3 Cadwallon Salomon II
2 Cadfan Beli m. Rhun Hoel III
1 Iago Rhun H. Perweur Alain I
0 Beli Maelgwn G. Rhun R. Hoel II
-1 Rhun [Einion] Cadwallon L. Einion Hoel I
-2 Einion Y. Mar Budic
-3 Cunedda W. Ceneu Audroenus
-4 Edern Coel Salomon I
-5 Padarn B. Gradlon
-6 Tegid Conan M.

As can be seen in the first column, the list states that Rhun was the father of Beli. This is correct but that individual was not Rhun Hir, the son of Maelgwn Gwynedd, who appears in the 3rd column.

Rhun Hir married Perweur f. Rhun Ryfeddfawr whose name appears in ByA 28c and they both belonged to gen. 1 as shown in the above table. Triad 79 tells us she was one of the Three Lively Ladies of Britain. ByA 28c errs when it says Perweur was the “Mam Beli m Rhun …”. As can be seen from the first column Beli m. Rhun belonged to a generation one earlier than that of his supposed parents. ByB confirms that a Rhun was the father of Beli. It was this Rhun and not Rhun Hir who fled to Armorica. His daughter, Tymyr, married Hoel II who appears in ChB.

HRB wrongly asserts that an Einion was Beli’s father but I believe it contains a germ of truth in that he was his uncle. Both HRB and ByB assert that Einion was Rhun’s brother and this is depicted in column 2. However, although those documents claim they were the sons of Maelgwn, I suggest their father was Einion Yrth. This allows us to solve a 1500 year old murder mystery which is not a whodunit but a “who was it dun to”, as we know the identity of the murderer but it is unclear who the victim was. Gildas wrote of Maelgwn:

In the first years of thy youth, accompanied by soldiers of the bravest, whose countenance in battle appeared not very unlike that of young lions, didst thou not most bitterly crush thy uncle the king with sword, and spear, and fire?[1]

In the Latin text the word for uncle is avunculus which strictly means mother’s brother. However, in this context I believe this can be linked to the fact given in JC20 23 that Einion was not only half-brother to Cadwallon Lawhir, Maelgwn’s father, through Einion Yrth but that their mothers were sisters, daughters of king Didlet.

Although HRB states Rhun escaped to Armorica after the death of Einion because he was driven out by the Saxons, it would seem that Maelgwn had a hand in it as well. After Maelgwn’s death his son successfully thwarted challenges to his kingship. However, it would seem that the rightful lineage to the throne was reestablished when Beli became king. As can be seen in the above table, Cadwallon is correct when he tells Salomon II  in ByB that their two fathers were two second cousins.

[1] Williams, H., 1899, 77

Paganism in the Arthurian age

Although Arthur, himself, was likely to be Christian it does not follow that paganism had disappeared in the early 6th C. O.J. Padel refers to a probably early 10th C text in the Vatican library listing between twenty-four and thirty-two names of saints revered in Cornwall.[1] Another text lists the twenty-four saintly children of Brychan Brycheiniog, the Cornish version of which is in The Life of Saint Nectan. Both lists are in the vernacular and the names are partly geographically arranged. Padel states that these lists demonstrate the existence in Cornwall of local dedications, many of which are unique to particular parish churches. The explanations he gives for the dedications is usually in terms of the conversion of the area by the local saint. The Vatican list dedications includes a number of 6th C saints, such as St Levan, St Just and St Gerrans.

The Annales Cambriae records for the year 589 AD ‘The conversion of Constantine to the Lord’. This may well be Constantine, the king of Damnonia, the one rebuked by Gildas.


[1] Thacker, A., Sharpe, R., 2002, 316-319