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Timeline

410

Britain gains independence from Rome.


420-30

according to Prosper, Britain is ruled by
‘petty tyrants’.


c.438

Probable birth of Ambrosius Aurelianus, scion of the leading Romano-British family on the island.


c.440-50

Period of civil war and famine in Britain, caused by ruling council’s weakness and inability to deal with Pictish invasions. Country starts to divide along factional lines and the Romanised citizens migrate to the West.


c.445

Vortigern comes to power in Britain.


446

Britains appeal to Aetius, Roman governor of Gaul, for military assistance in their struggle against the Picts and Irish ( Scots). No help could be sent as Aetius had his hands full fighting Attila the Hun.


c.446

Vortigern authorizes the use of Saxon mercenaries, known as foederati, for the defense of the Northern parts against barbarian attack. To guard against further Irish incursions, Cunedda and his sons are moved from Manau Gododdin in Northern Britain to Northwest Wales.


c.447

Britons, aroused to heroic effort, “ inflicted a massacre” on their enemies, the Picts and Irish, and were left in peace, for a brief time.


c.448

Civil war and plague ravage Britain.


c.450

Hengest arrives on the shores of Britain with
“ 3 keels” of warriors, and are welcomed by Vortigern. This event is known in Latin as the “ adventus Saxonum”, the coming of the Saxons.


c. 452

Increasing Saxon settlement in Britain. Hengest invites his son, Octha, from Germany with “ 16 keels” of warriors, who occupy the Northern lands, to defend against the Picts. Picts never heard from again.


c.453

Increasing Saxon unrest. Raids on British towns and cities becoming more frequent.


c.456

Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us of the massacre, by the Saxons, of 300 leading British noblemen at a phoney peace conference. Ambrosius’ father may have been killed either during the Saxon uprising or this massacre.


c.457

Death of Vortigern.


c.458

Saxon uprising in full swing. Hengest finally conquers Kent.


c.458-60

Full-scale migration of British aristocrats and city-dwellers across the English Channel to Brittany.


c.460-70

Ambrosius Aurelianus takes full control of pro-Roman faction and British resistance effort. He leads Britons in years of back-and-forth fighting with the Saxons.


c.465

Arthur born around this time.


c.466

Battle of Wippedesfloet, in which Saxons defeat Britons, but with great slaughter on both sides. Mutual disgust and sorrow results in a respite from fighting for a long time.


c.466-73

Period of minimal Saxon activity. Refortification of ancient hill forts and construction of the Wansdyke.


c.469

Roman emperor, Anthemius, appeals to Britons for military help against the Visigoths. Reliable accounts by Sidonius Apolonaris and Jordanes name the leader of the 12,000 man British force, Riothanus. The bulk of the British force was wiped out in battle against Euric, the Visigoth king, and the survivors, including Riothamus, vanished and were never heard from again.


c.470

Battle of wallop ( Hampshire) where Ambrosius defeats Vitilanus, head of the opposing faction. Ambrosius assumes High-kingship of Britain.


473

Men of Kent, under Hengest, move Westward, driving Britons back before them “ as one flees fire”.


477

Saxon chieftain, Aelle, lands on Sussex coast with his sons. Britons engage him upon landing but his superior force drives them into the forest. Over the next 9 years, Saxon coastal holdings are gradually expanded in Sussex.


c.485-96

Period of Arthur’s “ twelve battles” during which he gains reputation for invincibility.


486

Aelle and his sons overreach their normal territory and are engaged by Britons at battle of Mercredesburne. Battle is bloody, but indecisive, and ends with both sides pledging friendship.


c.490

Hengest dies. His son, Aesc, takes over and rules for 34 years.


c.496

Britons, under overall command of Ambrosius and battlefield command of the ‘ war leader’ Arthur, defeat Saxons at the Siege of Mount Badon.


c.496-550

Following the victory of Mount Badon, the Saxon advance is halted with the invaders returning to their own enclaves. A generation of peace ensues. Corrupt leadership, more civil turmoil, public forgetfulness and individual apathy further erode Romano-British culture over next 50 years, making Britain ripe for final Saxon picking.


c.501

The Battle of Llongborth ( probably Portsmouth), where a great British chieftain, Geraint, King of Dumnonia, was killed. Arthur is mentioned in a Welsh poem commemorating the battle.


508

Cerdic begins to move inland and defeats British king Natanleod near present day Southampton.


c.515

Death of Aelle. Kingdom of Sussex passed to his son, Cissa and his descendants, but over time, diminished into insignificance.


519

Kingdom of the West Saxons ( Wessex) founded with Cerdic as its leader.


c.530-40

Mass migration of Celtic monks to Brittany.


534

Death of Cerdic. Cynric takes kingship of Wessex.


c.540

Probable writing of Gildas’ “ De Excidio Britanniae”.


c.537/542

Battle of Camlann, Slaughterbridge, according to Annales Cambriae. Arthur mortally wounded and Mordred killed ( according to Geoffrey of Monmouth).


c.540

King Arthur’s Stone is inscribed.


c.547

Yellow Plague hits Brittish territories, causing death of many. Ireland also effected. Saxons seam to be unaffected.


c.570

Probable death of Gildas.


c.600

Welsh bard, Aneirin, writes poem ‘ Y Gododdin’, alluding to Arthur’s prowess as a warrior.


c.600-700

Original Welsh triads probably composed; only later, medieaval collections survive.


823

Battle of Gafulford ( Camelford) fought at Slaughterbridge according to Saxon Chronical, 1154.


c.830

Nennius compiles Historia Brittonum.


c.890

Compilation of Anglo Saxon Chronical is begun, perhaps at the direction of Alfred the Great.


c.970

Annales Cambriae compiled.


c.1019

Earliest date of composition for the legend of St Goeznovius, a Breton legend, which, in its preface, mentions Arthur and calls him King of the Britons. Date is disputed as some scholars think this legend should be dated later than Geoffrey of Monmouth.


1066

William invades Briton and becomes King. Many Breton noblemen assisted.


1086

Domesday Book compiled. Worthyvale Manor at Slaughterbridge is known as ‘ Guerdevalan’.
( Battle of Avalon?).


c.1090

Professional hagiographers, such as Caradoc of Llancarfen, Lifris and others, write various Saints lives, some ( St.Gildas, St.Padarn, St.Cadog, St.Iltud) include mentions of Arthur and his exploits.


c.1100

Archivault of Modena Cathederal, Italy, contains early representation of Arthurian story.


1113

Canons of Laon shown Arthur’s Chair and Arthur’s Oven ( probably on Bodmin Moor), and provoke an argument in Bodmin that narrowly avoided bloodshed by refusing to believe a local man who asserted that Arthur was not dead!


1132

Geoffrey of Monmouth completes his History of the Kings of Britain ( Historia Regum Brittaniae).


1150

Geoffrey writes the Vita Merlini.


1154

Saxon Chronicle refers to Battle of Camelford, 823 AD.


c.1160

Chretien de Troyes writes romances.


c.1205

Robert Wace writes Roman de Brut.


c.1207

Layamon writes first stories in English.


1170-1220

Wolfram von Eschenbach writes Parzival.


1215-35

Vulgate Cycle written by Cistercian monks.


1485

Sir Thomas Malory writes Morte D’Arthur.


1538

Leland writes of local historical finds.


1602

Carew writes of King Arthur’s Stone, Slaughterbridge.


1848

Alfred Lord Tennyson visits Slaughterbridge and later writes Idylls of the King.