King of Pagenses (Powys)


The Pagenses appears to have grown into a recognisable region and kingdom only in Vortigern’s time, so it is likely he was drawing upon territory that had previously come under Britain’s central administration. This was part of his powerbase from which he was able to build his claim to the High Kingship of Britain.

Philip Barker’s painstaking years of investigation at Caer Guricon (Urecon, Roman Viroconium, modern Wroxeter), which was the part-military, part-civil civitas (tribal capital) of the Cornovii, have revealed the construction well into the fifth century of a large and remarkable timber palace on quasi-Classical lines. Grandiose in conception, there existed a massive hall with a linear spread of outbuildings and even, perhaps, shops, all executed in timber. Once Pengwern had emerged as a separate kingdom at the end of the sixth century, this became its early capital.

Vortigern’s main powerbase seems to have been further south than Powys, and his father may have had connections with Caer Gloui. Given the later divisions of towns in the area, Caer Baddan and Caer Ceri could have formed part of this territory. From the available evidence, it seems likely that, once Vortigern was defeated shortly after the civil war of the 440s, Ambrosius Aurelianus confirmed the rule of his sons over Powys, Builth and Gwent, and took the Gloucester region to form his own powerbase in southern Lloegr (England). Is it possible that the territories of Caer Gloui, Caer Baddan and Caer Ceri all formed parts of one administrative region, or kingdom, in the mid-fifth century, and was passed onto Ambrosius’ descendants, to be finally conquered by the West Saxons in 577? It seems highly likely.

from Kessler, P. L. (2007, September 8). Post-Roman Britain: Early Independent Britain AD 400-425. Retrieved from http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/FeaturesBritain/BritishMapAD400.htm


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