Cerdic of Wessex

From Academic Kids

Cerdic of Wessex (c. 467534), the Patriarch of the Blood Royal of Saxony, was an early King of Wessex (519–534). He is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle when he landed in Hampshire in 495 and in 519 gained a great victory at Charford, "but Hengest and Adelle's men had touched hardly more than the coast, and the true conquest of Southern Britain was reserved for a fresh band of Saxons, a tribe known as the Gewissas, who landed under Cerdic and his son Cynric on the shores of the Southampton Water, and pushed in 495 to the great Downs of Gwent where Winchester offered so rich a prize. Nowhere was the strife fiercer than here; and it was not till 519 that a decisive victory at Charford ended the struggle for the "Gwent" and set the crown of the West-Saxons on the head of Cerdic." The West Saxons also fought a British king named Natanleod in Wiltshire and slew him. Under his leadership the West Saxons also advanced into Dorset and Somerset. Cerdic was defeated at Mount Badon in Dorsetshire in 520. The conquest of the Isle of Wight is also mentioned among his campaigns, and it was later given to his nephews, Stuf and Wihtgar (who brought many other Saxons with them).

In 530 he and his son gradually conquered the country from Sussex to the River Avon in Hampshire; they also passed the Thames and subdued the country as far as Bedford. They were called the West Saxons and the Kingdom of Cerdic was named Wessex. Cerdic died in 534 and was succeeded by his son Cynric.

Curiously, the name Cerdic is thought to be British—a form of the name Ceretic—rather than Germanic in origin. One explanation for this is the possibility that Cerdic's mother was British and that he was given a name used by his mother's people; if so, this would provide evidence for a degree of mixing, both cultural and biological, between the invaders and the native British.

In the 2004 film King Arthur, Cerdic and Cynric were depicted as Saxon invaders, and were killed, respectively, by Arthur and Lancelot and the Battle of Badon Hill (Mons Badonicus).

Preceded by:
King of Wessex Succeeded by:
Cynric

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