|Cadwallon ap Cadfan|
|King of Gwynedd|
|Reign||c.625 – 634 AD|
|Predecessor||Cadfan ap Iago|
|Died||634 AD (Battle of Heavenfield)|
|House||House of Gwynedd|
|Father||Cadfan ap Iago|
Cadwallon ap Cadfan (died 634) was the King of Gwynedd from around 625 until his death in battle. The son and successor of Cadfan ap Iago, he is best remembered as the King of the Britons who invaded and conquered the Kingdom of Northumbria, defeating and killing its king, Edwin, prior to his own death in battle against Oswald of Bernicia. His conquest of Northumbria, which he held for a year or two after Edwin died, making him one of the last recorded culturally traditional Celtic Britons to hold substantial territory in eastern Britain until the rise of the Welsh House of Tudor. He was thereafter remembered as a national hero by the Britons and as a tyrant by the Anglo-Saxons of Northumbria.
As with other figures of the era little is certainly known of Cadwallon's early life or reign. The primary source of information about him is the Ecclesiastical History of the English People of the Anglo-Saxon writer Bede, who is strongly critical of him. Cadwallon consistently appears in the genealogies of the Kings of Gwynedd as the son of Cadfan ap Iago and a descendant of Maelgwn Gwynedd and Cunedda.Historian Alex Woolf, however, presents the case that the genealogists have erroneously inserted Bede's Cadwallon into the pedigree of the unrelated Kings of Gwynedd as son of Cadfan. Instead, Woolf suggests that Bede's Cadwallon was the Catguallaun liu found in genealogies as son of Guitcun and grandson of Sawyl Penuchel, rulers in the Hen Ogledd or Brythonic-speaking area of northern Britain.
Whatever the case may be, Cadwallon was certainly affected by the ambitions of Edwin, King of Northumbria. Bede, writing about a century after Cadwallon's death, describes Edwin, the most powerful king in Britain, conquering the Brittonic kingdom of Elmet (what is now western Yorkshire) and ejecting its king, Cerdic. This opened the door to the Irish Sea, and Edwin successfully extended his rule to the "Mevanian Islands" – the Isle of Man and Anglesey. The Annales Cambriae says that Cadwallon was besieged at Glannauc (now Puffin Island, a small island off eastern Anglesey), and dates this to 629. Surviving Welsh poetry and the Welsh Triads portray Cadwallon as a heroic leader against Edwin. They refer to a battle at Digoll (Long Mountain) and mention that Cadwallon spent time in Ireland before returning to Britain to defeat Edwin.
According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (which includes a fairly extensive account of Cadwallon's life but is largely legendary—for example, Geoffrey has Cadwallon surviving until after the Battle of the Winwaed in 654 or 655), Cadwallon went to Ireland and then to the island of Guernsey. From there, according to Geoffrey, Cadwallon led an army into Dumnonia, where he encountered and defeated the Mercians besieging Exeter, and forced their king, Penda of Mercia, into an alliance. Geoffrey also reports that Cadwallon married a half-sister of Penda.However, his history is, on this as well as all matters, suspect, and it should be treated with caution.
In any case, Penda and Cadwallon together made war against the Northumbrians. The Battle of Hatfield Chase on 12 October 633ended in the defeat and death of Edwin and his son Osfrith. After this, the Kingdom of Northumbria fell into disarray, divided between its sub-kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia, but the war continued: according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , "Cadwallon and Penda went and did for the whole land of Northumbria". Bede says that Cadwallon was besieged by the new king of Deira, Osric, "in a strong town"; Cadwallon, however, "sallied out on a sudden with all his forces, by surprise, and destroyed him [Osric] and all his army."
After this, according to Bede, Cadwallon ruled over the "provinces of the Northumbrians" for a year, "not like a victorious king, but like a rapacious and bloody tyrant."Furthermore, Bede tells us that Cadwallon, "though he bore the name and professed himself a Christian, was so barbarous in his disposition and behaviour, that he neither spared the female sex, nor the innocent age of children, but with savage cruelty put them to tormenting deaths, ravaging all their country for a long time, and resolving to cut off all the race of the English within the borders of Britain." Bede's extremely negative portrayal of Cadwallon as a genocidal tyrant cannot be taken at face value. Cadwallon's alliance with the Anglo-Saxon Penda undermines Bede's assertion that Cadwallon had attempted to exterminate the English. Additionally, the fact that Cædwalla of Wessex a generation after Cadwallon's death bore a name derived directly from the British Cadwallon suggests that Cadwallon's reputation could not have been so poor among the Saxons of Wessex as it was in Northumbria.
The new king of Bernicia, Eanfrith, was also killed by Cadwallon when the former went to him in an attempt to negotiate peace. However, Cadwallon was defeated by an army under Eanfrith's brother, Oswald, at the Battle of Heavenfield, "though he had most numerous forces, which he boasted nothing could withstand". Cadwallon was killed at a place called "Denis's-brook".
Oswald was King of Northumbria from 634 until his death, and is venerated as a saint, of whom there was a particular cult in the Middle Ages.
Year 633 (DCXXXIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 633 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig, was King of Bernicia from 642 and of Northumbria from 654 until his death. He is notable for his role at the Synod of Whitby in 664, which ultimately brought the church in Northumbria into conformity with the wider Catholic Church.
Wulfhere or Wulfar was King of Mercia from 658 until 675 AD. He was the first Christian king of all of Mercia, though it is not known when or how he converted from Anglo-Saxon paganism. His accession marked the end of Oswiu of Northumbria's overlordship of southern England, and Wulfhere extended his influence over much of that region. His campaigns against the West Saxons led to Mercian control of much of the Thames valley. He conquered the Isle of Wight and the Meon valley and gave them to King Æthelwealh of the South Saxons. He also had influence in Surrey, Essex, and Kent. He married Eormenhild, the daughter of King Eorcenberht of Kent.
Penda was a 7th-century King of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is today the Midlands. A pagan at a time when Christianity was taking hold in many of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Penda took over the Severn Valley in 628 following the Battle of Cirencester before participating in the defeat of the powerful Northumbrian king Edwin at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 633.
Edwin, also known as Eadwine or Æduinus, was the King of Deira and Bernicia – which later became known as Northumbria – from about 616 until his death. He converted to Christianity and was baptised in 627; after he fell at the Battle of Hatfield Chase, he was venerated as a saint.
Æthelfrith was King of Bernicia from c. 593 until his death. Around 604 he became the first Bernician king to also rule the neighboring land of Deira, giving him an important place in the development of the later kingdom of Northumbria. He was especially notable for his successes against the Britons and his victory over the Gaels of Dál Riata. Although he was defeated and killed in battle and replaced by a dynastic rival, his line was eventually restored to power in the 630s.
Bernicia was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom established by Anglian settlers of the 6th century in what is now southeastern Scotland and North East England.
Osric was a King of Deira in northern England. He was a cousin of king Edwin of Northumbria, being the son of Edwin's uncle Æthelric of Deira. Osric was also the father of Oswine.
The Battle of the Winwaed was fought on 15 November 655 between King Penda of Mercia and Oswiu of Bernicia, ending in the Mercians' defeat and Penda's death. According to Bede, the battle marked the effective demise of Anglo-Saxon paganism.
The Battle of Maserfield was fought on 5 August 641 or 642 between the Anglo-Saxon kings Oswald of Northumbria and Penda of Mercia, ending in Oswald's defeat, death, and dismemberment. The location was also known as Cogwy in Welsh, with Welshmen from Pengwern participating in the battle, probably as allies of the Mercians. Bede reports the commonly accepted date given above; the Welsh Annales Cambriae is generally considered incorrect in giving the year of the battle as 644. The site of the battle is traditionally identified with Oswestry; arguments have been made for and against the accuracy of this identification.
Eanfrith (590–634) was briefly King of Bernicia from 633 to 634. His father was Æthelfrith, a Bernician king who had also ruled Deira to the south before being killed in battle around 616 against Raedwald of East Anglia, who had given refuge to Edwin, an exiled prince of Deira. His mother was Acha of Deira.
The Battle of Hatfield Chase was fought on 12 October 633 at Hatfield Chase near Doncaster. It pitted the Northumbrians against an alliance of Gwynedd and Mercia. The Northumbrians were led by Edwin and the Gwynedd-Mercian alliance was led by Cadwallon ap Cadfan and Penda. The site was a marshy area about 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Doncaster on the south bank of the River Don. It was a decisive victory for Gwynedd and the Mercians: Edwin was killed and his army defeated, leading to the temporary collapse of Northumbria.
The Battle of Heavenfield was fought in 633 or 634 between a Northumbrian army under Oswald of Bernicia and a Welsh army under Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd. The battle resulted in a decisive Northumbrian victory. The Annales Cambriae record the battle as Bellum Cantscaul in 631. Bede referred to it as the Battle of Deniseburna near Hefenfelth.
Cadafael ap Cynfeddw was King of Gwynedd. He came to the throne when his predecessor, King Cadwallon ap Cadfan, was killed in battle, and his primary notability is in having gained the disrespectful sobriquet Cadafael Cadomedd.
Cadfan ap Iago was King of Gwynedd. Little is known of the history of Gwynedd from this period, and information about Cadfan and his reign is minimal.
Iago ap Beli was King of Gwynedd. Little is known of him or his kingdom from this early era, with only a few anecdotal mentions of him in historical documents.
Events from the 7th century in England.
Urbs Iudeu was a city besieged in 655 AD by Penda, King of Mercia, and Cadafael, King of Gwynedd. The siege was an important episode in a long-running war between Mercia and Northumbria in the years 616–679. This war was fought in the area north of the River Trent, in particular in and around the Peak District (Wirksworth) also around Heathfield (Doncaster), Elmet (Aberford) and Lindsey (Lincoln), as these were provinces of Northumbria at the time.