End of Roman rule in Britain

The end of Roman rule in Britain was the transition from Roman Britain to post-Roman Britain. Roman rule ended in different parts of Britain at different times, and under different circumstances.


In 383, the usurper Magnus Maximus withdrew troops from northern and western Britain, probably leaving local warlords in charge. Around 410, the Romano-British expelled the magistrates of the usurper Constantine III, ostensibly in response to his failures to use the Roman garrison he had stripped from Britain to protect the island. Roman Emperor Honorius replied to a request for assistance with the Rescript of Honorius, telling the Roman cities to see to their own defence, a tacit acceptance of temporary British self-government. Honorius was fighting a large-scale war in Italy against the Visigoths under their leader Alaric, with Rome itself under siege. No forces could be spared to protect distant Britain. Though it is likely that Honorius expected to regain control over the provinces soon, by the mid-6th century Procopius recognised that Roman control of Britannia was entirely lost.


By the early 5th century, the Roman Empire could no longer defend itself against either internal rebellion or the external threat posed by Germanic tribes expanding in Western Europe. This situation and its consequences governed the eventual permanence of Britain's detachment from the rest of the Empire.

In the late 4th century, the empire was controlled by members of a dynasty that included the Emperor Theodosius I. This family retained political power within itself and formed alliances by intermarriage with other dynasties, at the same time engaging in internecine power struggles and fighting off outside contenders (called "usurpers") attempting to replace the ruling dynasty with one of their own. These internal machinations drained the Empire of both military and civilian resources. Many thousands of soldiers were lost in battling attempted coups by figures such as Firmus, Magnus Maximus and Eugenius.

The Empire's historical relationship with Germanic tribes was sometimes hostile, at other times cooperative, but ultimately fatal, as it was unable to prevent those tribes from assuming a dominant role in the relationship. By the early 5th century, as a result of severe losses and depleted tax income, the Western Roman Empire's military forces were dominated by Germanic troops, and Romanised Germans played a significant role in the empire's internal politics. Various Germanic and other tribes beyond the frontiers were able to take advantage of the Empire's weakened state, both to expand into Roman territory and, in some cases, to move their entire populations into lands once considered exclusively Roman, culminating in various successful migrations from 406 onwards. The crossing of the Rhine caused intense fear in Britannia, prone as it was to being cut off from the Empire by raids on the primary communications route from Italy, to Trier to the Channel Coast. In the event, this was much more than just another raid.



In 383, the Roman general then assigned to Britain, Magnus Maximus, launched his successful bid for imperial power,[1] crossing to Gaul with his troops. He killed the Western Roman Emperor Gratian and ruled Gaul and Britain as Caesar (i.e., as a "sub-emperor" under Theodosius I). 383 is the last date for any evidence of a Roman presence in the north and west of Britain,[2] perhaps excepting troop assignments at the tower on Holyhead Mountain in Anglesey and at western coastal posts such as Lancaster. These outposts may have lasted into the 390s, but they were a very minor presence,[3] intended primarily to stop attacks and settlement by groups from Ireland.

Coins dated later than 383 have been excavated along Hadrian's Wall, suggesting that troops were not stripped from it, as once thought[4] or, if they were, they were quickly returned as soon as Maximus had won his victory in Gaul. In the De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, written c. 540, Gildas attributed an exodus of troops and senior administrators from Britain to Maximus, saying that he left not only with all of its troops, but also with all of its armed bands, governors, and the flower of its youth, never to return.[5]

Raids by Saxons, Picts, and the Scoti of Ireland had been ongoing in the late 4th century, but these increased in the years after 383. There were also large-scale permanent Irish settlements made along the coasts of Wales under circumstances that remain unclear.[6][7][8][9] Maximus campaigned in Britain against both the Picts and Scoti,[10][11] with historians differing on whether this was in the year 382 or 384 (i.e., whether the campaign was before or after he became Caesar). Welsh legend relates that before launching his usurpation, Maximus made preparations for an altered governmental and defence framework for the beleaguered provinces. Figures such as Coel Hen were said to be placed into key positions to protect the island in Maximus' absence. As such claims were designed to buttress Welsh genealogy and land claims, they should be viewed with some scepticism.

In 388, Maximus led his army across the Alps into Italy in an attempt to claim the purple. The effort failed when he was defeated in Pannonia at the Battle of the Save (in modern Croatia) and at the Battle of Poetovio (at Ptuj in modern Slovenia). He was then executed by Theodosius.[12]


With Maximus' death, Britain came back under the rule of Emperor Theodosius I until 392, when the usurper Eugenius would successfully bid for imperial power in the Western Roman Empire, surviving until 394 when he was defeated and killed by Theodosius. When Theodosius died in 395, his 10-year-old son Honorius succeeded him as Western Roman Emperor. The real power behind the throne, however, was Stilicho, the son-in-law of Theodosius' brother and the father-in-law of Honorius.

Britain was suffering raids by the Scoti, Saxons, and Picts and, sometime between 396 and 398, Stilicho allegedly ordered a campaign against the Picts,[13] likely a naval campaign intended to end their seaborne raids on the east coast of Britain.[14] He may also have ordered campaigns against the Scoti and Saxons at the same time,[15] but either way this would be the last Roman campaign in Britain of which there is any record.[16]

In 401 or 402 Stilicho faced wars with the Visigothic king Alaric and the Ostrogothic king Radagaisus. Needing military manpower, he stripped Hadrian's Wall of troops for the final time.[15][17][18] 402 is the last date of any Roman coinage found in large numbers in Britain, suggesting either that Stilicho also stripped the remaining troops from Britain, or that the Empire could no longer afford to pay the troops who were still there.[19] Meanwhile, the Picts, Saxons and Scoti continued their raids, which may have increased in scope. In 405, for example, Niall of the Nine Hostages is described as having raided along the southern coast of Britain.[20]


On the last day of December 406 (or, perhaps, 405[21]), the Alans, Vandals, and Suebi living east of Gaul crossed the Rhine, possibly when it was frozen over, and began widespread devastation.[20][22]

As there was no effective Roman response, the remaining Roman military in Britain feared that a Germanic crossing of the Channel into Britain was next, and dispensed with imperial authority – an action perhaps made easier by the high probability that the troops had not been paid for some time.[3] Their intent was to choose a commander who would lead them in securing their future but their first two choices, Marcus and Gratian, did not meet their expectations and were killed. Their third choice was the soldier Constantine III.[23]

Coin of Constantine III.

In 407 Constantine took charge of the remaining troops in Britain, led them across the Channel into Gaul, rallied support there, and attempted to set himself up as Western Roman Emperor.[20] Honorius' loyalist forces south of the Alps were preoccupied with fending off the Visigoths and were unable to put down the rebellion swiftly, giving Constantine the opportunity to extend his new empire to include Spain.[24][25]

In 409 Constantine's control of his empire fell apart. Part of his military forces were in Spain, making them unavailable for action in Gaul, and some of those in Gaul were swayed against him by loyalist Roman generals. The Germans living west of the Rhine River rose against him, perhaps encouraged by Roman loyalists,[26][27] and those living east of the river crossed into Gaul.[28] Britain, now without any troops for protection and having suffered particularly severe Saxon raids in 408 and 409, viewed the situation in Gaul with renewed alarm. Perhaps feeling they had no hope of relief under Constantine, both the Romano-Britons and some of the Gauls expelled Constantine's magistrates in 409 or 410.[29][30][31] The Byzantine historian Zosimus (fl. 490's – 510's) directly blamed Constantine for the expulsion, saying that he had allowed the Saxons to raid, and that the Britons and Gauls were reduced to such straits that they revolted from the Roman Empire, 'rejected Roman law, reverted to their native customs, and armed themselves to ensure their own safety'.[32]

It has been suggested that when Zosimus records that the natives expelled the Roman civilian administration in 409 he might have been referring to the Bacaudic rebellion of the Breton inhabitants of Armorica since he describes how, in the aftermath of the revolt, all of Armorica and the rest of Gaul followed the example of the Brettaniai. A later appeal for help by the British communities was, according to Zosimus, rejected by the Emperor Honorius in 410 AD. In the text called the Rescript of Honorius of 411, the Western Emperor Honorius tells the British civitates to look to their own defence as his regime was still fighting usurpers in the south of Gaul and trying to deal with the Visigoths who were in the very south of Italy. The first reference to this rescript is written by the sixth-century Byzantine scholar Zosimus and is located randomly in the middle of a discussion of southern Italy; no further mention of Britain is made, which has led some, though not all, modern academics to suggest that the rescript does not apply to Britain, but to Bruttium in Italy.[33][34][35]

Historian Christopher Snyder wrote that protocol dictated that Honorius address his correspondences to imperial officials, and the fact that he did not implies that the cities of Britain were now the highest Roman authority remaining on the island.[36] The idea that there may have been larger-scale political formations still intact on the island has not been completely discredited however.

At the time that the Rescript was sent, Honorius was holed up in Ravenna by the Visigoths and was unable to prevent their Sack of Rome (410).[36] He was certainly in no position to offer any relief to anyone. As for Constantine III, he was not equal to the intrigues of imperial Rome and by 411 his cause was spent. His son was killed along with those major supporters who had not turned against him, and he himself was assassinated.[37]

Interpretative variations

There are various interpretations that characterise the events in a way that supports a particular thesis without taking issue with the basic chronology.

The historian Theodor Mommsen (Britain, 1885) said that "It was not Britain that gave up Rome, but Rome that gave up Britain ...", arguing that Roman needs and priorities lay elsewhere. [38] His position has retained scholarly support over the passage of time.

Michael Jones (The End of Roman Britain, 1998) took the opposite view, saying that it was Britain that left Rome, arguing that numerous usurpers based in Britain combined with poor administration caused the Romano-Britons to revolt.

Factual disputes

Mucking DSCF9230
Romano-British or Anglo-Saxon belt fittings in the Quoit Brooch Style from the Mucking Anglo-Saxon cemetery, early 5th century, using a mainly Roman style for very early Anglo-Saxon clients

Regarding the events of 409 and 410 when the Romano-Britons expelled Roman officials and sent a request for aid to Honorius, Michael Jones (The End of Roman Britain, 1998) offered a different chronology to the same end result: he suggested that the Britons first appealed to Rome and when no help was forthcoming, they expelled the Roman officials and took charge of their own affairs.[39]

One theory that occurs in some modern histories concerns the Rescript of Honorius, holding that it refers to the cities of the Bruttii (who lived at the "toe" of Italy in modern Calabria), rather than to the cities of the Britons.[40][41][42] The suggestion is based on the assumption that the source (Zosimus) or a copyist made an error and actually meant Brettia when Brettania was written, and noting that the passage that contains the Rescript is otherwise concerned with events in northern Italy.

Criticisms of the suggestion range from treating the passage in the way it was written by Zosimus and ignoring the suggestion,[43] to simply noting its speculative nature,[44] to a discussion of problems with the suggestion (e.g., 'why would Honorius write to the cities of the Bruttii rather than to his own provincial governor for that region?', and 'why does far-off southern Italy belong in a passage about northern Italy any more than far-off Britain?').[45][46] The theory also contradicts the account of Gildas, who provides independent support that the reference is to Britain by repeating the essence of Zosimus' account and clearly applying it to Britain.[47]

E. A. Thompson ("Britain, A.D. 406–410", in Britannia, 8 (1977), pp. 303–318) offered a more provocative theory to explain the expulsion of officials and appeal for Roman aid. He suggested that a revolt consisting of dissident peasants, not unlike the Bagaudae of Gaul, also existing in Britain, and when they revolted and expelled the Roman officials, the landowning class then made an appeal for Roman aid.[48] There is no textual proof that that was so, though it might be plausible if the definition of 'bagaudae' is changed to fit the circumstances. There is no need to do this, as any number of rational scenarios already fit the circumstances.[49] There is the possibility that some form of bagaudae existed in Britain, but were not necessarily relevant to the events of 409 and 410. The alleged ubiquity of Pelagianism amongst the British population may have contributed to such a movement if it had existed, not to mention large-scale purges amongst the British elite over previous decades. Among the works that mention but skirt the issue is Koch's Celtic Culture (2005), which cites Thompson's translation of Zosimus and goes on to say "The revolt in Britain may have involved bacaudae or peasant rebels as was the case in Armorica, but this is not certain."[50]


  1. ^ Snyder 1998:13, An Age of Tyrants. Snyder cites Zosimus 4.35.2-6 and 37.1-3, and Orosius (7.34.9-10), with the latter saying that Maximus was an unwilling usurper.
  2. ^ Frere 1987:354, Britannia, The End of Roman Britain. Specifically, Frere refers to Wales, the western Pennines, and the fortress at Deva; he then goes on to suggest that the same was true north of Hadrian's Wall, referring to the lands of the Damnonii, Votadini, and the Novantae.
  3. ^ a b Higham 1992:75, Rome, Britain and the Anglo-Saxons, "Britain Without Rome".
  4. ^ Frere 1987:354, Britannia, The End of Roman Britain. Frere notes that excavation of coins dated after 383 suggests that Maximus did not strip the Wall of troops.
  5. ^ Giles 1841:13, The Works of Gildas, The History, ch. 14
  6. ^ Laing 1975:93, Early Celtic Britain and Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man.
  7. ^ Miller, Mollie (1977), "Date-Guessing and Dyfed", Studia Celtica, 12, Cardiff: University of Wales, pp. 33–61
  8. ^ Coplestone-Crow, Bruce (1981), "The Dual Nature of Irish Colonization of Dyfed in the Dark Ages", Studia Celtica, 16, Cardiff: University of Wales, pp. 1–24
  9. ^ Meyer, Kuno (1896), "Early Relations Between Gael and Brython", in Evans, E. Vincent, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, Session 1895–1896, I, London: Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, pp. 55–86
  10. ^ Mattingly 2006:232, An Imperial Possession. The Gallic Chronicle of 452 is cited as giving the year 382/383.
  11. ^ Frere 1987:354, In "Britannia, The End of Roman Britain," Frere suggests that Maximus would return to Britain in 384, after he became Augustus, to campaign against the Scoti and Picts.
  12. ^ Snyder 1998:13, Age of Tyrants. Snyder cites Sozomen 7.13, and Orosius 7.35.3-4.
  13. ^ Snyder 2003:62, The Britons. The date is given as 398. Stilicho himself was suppressing revolts in Africa at the time.
  14. ^ Frere 1987:355, Britannia, "The End of Roman Britain".
  15. ^ a b Jones & Mattingly 1990:307, An Atlas of Roman Britain.
  16. ^ Mattingly 2006:238, An Imperial Possession.
  17. ^ Snyder 2003:62–63, The Britons. Stilicho had ordered measures for new fortifications in Britain prior to removing the troops.
  18. ^ Snyder 1998:18, An Age of Tyrants. Snyder notes that the sometimes confused effort of Gildas to relate history may contain references to Stilicho's actions in Britain. In De Excidio, ch. 16-18, he talks of campaigns against the Scoti, Saxons and Picts, and then mistakenly says that that is when Hadrian's Wall was built, followed by the removal of troops.
  19. ^ Snyder 1998:18, An Age of Tyrants.
  20. ^ a b c Frere 1987:357, Britannia.
  21. ^ Michael Kulikowski, "Barbarians in Gaul, Usurpers in Britain" Britannia 31 (2000:325-345).
  22. ^ Snyder 1998:18, Age of Tyrants.
  23. ^ Snyder 1998:19, Age of Tyrants.
  24. ^ Frere 1987:358, Britannia.
  25. ^ Snyder 1998:19–20, Age of Tyrants.
  26. ^ Snyder 2003:79, The Britons.
  27. ^ Higham 1992:72, Rome, Britain and the Anglo-Saxons, "Britain Without Rome".
  28. ^ Snyder 1998:20–21, Age of Tyrants.
  29. ^ Frere 1987:358–359, Britannia.
  30. ^ Snyder 1998:20, Age of Tyrants.
  31. ^ Higham 1992:71–72, Rome, Britain and the Anglo-Saxons, "Britain Without Rome".
  32. ^ Snyder 1998:22, An Age of Tyrants.
  33. ^ Birley, Anthony Richard The Roman Government of Britain OUP Oxford (29 Sep 2005) ISBN 978-0199252374 pp.461-463 [1]
  34. ^ Halsall, Guy Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 Cambridge University Press; illustrated edition (20 Dec 2007) ISBN 978-0521434911, pp. 217-18
  35. ^ Discussion in Martin Millett, The Romanization of Britain, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) and in Philip Bartholomew 'Fifth-Century Facts' Britannia vol. 13, 1982, p. 260
  36. ^ a b Snyder 1998:21, Age of Tyrants.
  37. ^ Snyder 1998:21–22, Age of Tyrants.
  38. ^ Mommsen, Theodor (1885), "Britain", in Dickson, William P. (translator), The Provinces of the Roman Empire, I, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons (published 1887), p. 211
  39. ^ Snyder 1998:25, Age of Tyrants.
  40. ^ Birley, Anthony (2005) The Roman Government of Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-925237-8, pp. 461–463
  41. ^ Halsall, Guy Barbarian migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 Cambridge University Press; illustrated edition (20 Dec 2007) ISBN 978-0-521-43491-1 pp.217-218
  42. ^ Discussion in Martin Millett, The Romanization of Britain, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) and in Philip Bartholomew 'Fifth-Century Facts' Britannia vol. 13, 1982 p. 260
  43. ^ Frere 1987:359, Britannia, "The End of Roman Britain".
  44. ^ Higham 1992:73, Rome, Britain and the Anglo-Saxons, "Britain Without Rome".
  45. ^ Snyder 1998:24, Age of Tyrants.
  46. ^ Woolf, Alex (2003), "The Britons: from Romans to Barbarians", in Goetz, Hans Werner; Jarnut, Jörg; Pohl, Walter, Regna and Gentes, Brill, pp. 346–347, ISBN 90-04-12524-8. Woolf cites the argument of E. A. Thompson but does not choose sides, saying that the issue is neither provable nor disprovable.
  47. ^ Snyder 1998:18, Age of Tyrants. Gildas (De Excidio, 18.1) is quoted as saying "The Romans therefore informed our country that they could not go on being bothered with such troublesome expeditions. ... Rather, the British should stand alone, get used to arms, fight bravely, and defend with all their powers their land."
  48. ^ Snyder 1998:22, Age of Tyrants.
  49. ^ Snyder 1998:23–24, Age of Tyrants.
  50. ^ Koch, John T., ed. (2005), "Civitas", Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, ABL-CLIO (published 2006), pp. 450–451, ISBN 978-1-85109-440-0


  • Frere, Sheppard Sunderland (1987), Britannia: A History of Roman Britain (3rd, revised ed.), London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 0-7102-1215-1
  • Giles, John Allen, ed. (1841), "The Works of Gildas", The Works of Gildas and Nennius, London: James Bohn
  • Higham, Nicholas (1992), Rome, Britain and the Anglo-Saxons, London: B. A. Seaby, ISBN 1-85264-022-7
  • Jones, Barri; Mattingly, David (1990), An Atlas of Roman Britain, Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers (published 2007), ISBN 978-1-84217-067-0
  • Laing, Lloyd (1975), The Archaeology of Late Celtic Britain and Ireland, c. 400–1200 AD, Frome: Book Club Associates (published 1977)
  • Mattingly, David (2006), An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, London: Penguin Books (published 2007), ISBN 978-0-14-014822-0
  • Snyder, Christopher A. (1998), An Age of Tyrants: Britain and the Britons A.D. 400–600, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, ISBN 0-271-01780-5
  • Snyder, Christopher A. (2003), The Britons, Malden: Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 978-0-631-22260-6

Further reading

  • Gerrard, James (2013). The Ruin of Roman Britain An Archaeological Perspective. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107038639.
  • Halsall, Guy (2013). Worlds of Arthur Facts & Fictions of the Dark Ages. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199658176.
  • Speed, Gavin (2014). Towns in the dark? : urban transformations from late Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford, UK: Archaeopress Archaeology. ISBN 9781784910044.
3rd century in Roman Britain

Events from the 3rd century in Roman Britain.


Year 407 (CDVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the YEAR OF THE CONSULSHIP FROM HONORIUS AND THEODOSIUS (or, less frequently, year 1160 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 407 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.

4th century in Roman Britain

Events from the 4th century in Roman Britain.

Aquae Sulis

For the Roman Baths complex at Aquae Sulis, see Roman Baths (Bath).Aquae Sulis was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is the English city of Bath, Somerset.


Britannia () has been used in several different senses. The name is a Latinisation of the native Brittonic word for the island, Pretanī, which also produced the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally, in the fourth to the first centuries BC, designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Britain. In Modern Welsh the name remains Prydain. By the 1st century BC, Britannia came to be used for Great Britain specifically. After the Roman conquest in 43 AD, Britannia meant Roman Britain, a province covering the island south of Caledonia (roughly Scotland). When Roman Britain was divided into four provinces in 197 AD, two were called Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior. Britannia is the name given to the female personification of the island, and it is a term still used to refer to the whole island.

In the 2nd century, Roman Britannia came to be personified as a goddess, armed with a trident and shield and wearing a Corinthian helmet. The name Britannia long survived the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century and yielded the name for the island in most European and various other languages, including the English Britain and the modern Welsh Prydain. After centuries of declining use, the Latin form was revived during the English Renaissance as a rhetorical evocation of a British national identity. Especially following the Acts of Union in 1707, which joined the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, the personification of the martial Britannia was used as an emblem of British maritime power and unity, most notably in "Rule, Britannia!".

A British cultural icon, she was featured on all modern British coinage series until the redesign in 2008, and still appears annually on the gold and silver "Britannia" bullion coin series. In 2015 a new definitive £2 coin was issued, with a new image of Britannia. She is also depicted in the Brit Awards statuette, the British Phonographic Industry's annual music awards.


Caerhun (Welsh: Caerhûn) is a scattered rural community, and former civil parish, on the west bank of the River Conwy. It lies to the south of Henryd and the north of Dolgarrog, in Conwy County Borough, Wales, and includes the villages of Llanbedr-y-cennin, Rowen, Tal-y-bont and Ty'n-y-groes. It was formerly in the historic county of Caernarvonshire. At the 2001 census, it had a population of 1,200, increasing to 1,292 at the 2011 census.


Caernarfon (; Welsh: [kaɨrˈnarvɔn]) is a royal town, community, and port in Gwynedd, Wales, with a population of 9,615. It lies along the A487 road, on the eastern shore of the Menai Strait, opposite the Isle of Anglesey. The city of Bangor is 8.6 miles (13.8 km) to the north-east, while Snowdonia fringes Caernarfon to the east and south-east. Carnarvon and Caernarvon are Anglicised spellings that were superseded in 1926 and 1974, respectively. The villages of Bontnewydd and Caeathro are close by. The town is also noted for its high percentage of native Welsh speakers. Due to this, Welsh is often the predominant language of the town.

Abundant natural resources in and around the Menai Strait enabled human habitation in prehistoric Britain. The Ordovices, a Celtic tribe, lived in the region during the period known as Roman Britain. The Roman fort Segontium was established around AD 80 to subjugate the Ordovices during the Roman conquest of Britain. The Romans occupied the region until the end of Roman rule in Britain in 382, after which Caernarfon became part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. In the late 11th century, William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a motte-and-bailey castle at Caernarfon as part of the Norman invasion of Wales. He was unsuccessful, and Wales remained independent until around 1283.

In the 13th century, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, ruler of Gwynedd, refused to pay homage to Edward I of England, prompting the English conquest of Gwynedd. This was followed by the construction of Caernarfon Castle, one of the largest and most imposing fortifications built by the English in Wales. In 1284, the English-style county of Caernarfonshire was established by the Statute of Rhuddlan; the same year, Caernarfon was made a borough, a county and market town, and the seat of English government in North Wales.The ascent of the House of Tudor to the throne of England eased hostilities between the English and resulted in Caernarfon Castle falling into a state of disrepair. The city has flourished, leading to its status as a major tourist centre and seat of Gwynedd Council, with a thriving harbour and marina. Caernarfon has expanded beyond its medieval walls and experienced heavy suburbanisation. Its population includes the largest percentage of Welsh-speaking citizens anywhere in Wales. The status of Royal Borough was granted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1963 and amended to Royal Town in 1974. The castle and town walls are part of a World Heritage Site described as the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd.


Galloway (Scottish Gaelic: Gall-Ghàidhealaibh, Latin: Gallovidia) is a region in southwestern Scotland comprising the historic counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire.

A native or inhabitant of Galloway is called a Gallovidian. The place name Galloway is derived from the Gaelic i nGall Gaidhealaib ("amongst the Gall Gaidheil"). The Gall Gaidheil, literally meaning "Stranger-Gaidheil", originally referred to a population of mixed Scandinavian and Gaelic ethnicity that inhabited Galloway in the Middle Ages.

Galloway is bounded by sea to the west and south, the Galloway Hills to the north, and the River Nith to the east; the border between Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire is marked by the River Cree. The definition has, however, fluctuated greatly in size over history.

A hardy breed of black, hornless cattle named Galloway cattle is native to the region, in addition to the more distinctive 'Belted Galloway' or 'Beltie'.


Geordie () is a nickname for a person from the Tyneside area of North East England, and the dialect used by its inhabitants. The term is also used to refer to anyone from North East England.Geordie is a continuation and development of the language spoken by Anglo-Saxon settlers, initially employed by the ancient Brythons to fight the Pictish invaders after the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century. The Angles, Saxons and Jutes who arrived became ascendant politically and culturally over the native British through subsequent migration from tribal homelands along the North Sea coast of mainland Europe. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that emerged in the Dark Ages spoke largely mutually intelligible varieties of what is now called Old English, each varying somewhat in phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon. This linguistic conservatism means that poems by the Anglo-Saxon scholar the Venerable Bede translate more successfully into Geordie than into Standard English.In Northern England and the Scottish borders, then dominated by the kingdom of Northumbria, there developed a distinct Northumbrian Old English dialect. Later Irish migrants influenced Geordie phonology from the early 19th century onwards.The word "Geordie" can refer to a supporter of Newcastle United. The Geordie Schooner glass was traditionally used to serve Newcastle Brown Ale.The Geordie dialect and identity are primarily associated with those of a working-class background. A 2008 newspaper survey found the Geordie accent the "most attractive in England".

Gracianus Municeps

Gracianus Municeps was a legendary King of the Britons, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae (Latin: History of the Kings of Britain), a largely fictional account of British history. After the death of Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus, Gracianus seized the throne of Britain upon receiving word of Maximus's demise, by whose orders he had been sent to defend the attacked island while Maximus was campaigning on the continent.

Gracianus served under Maximus during his campaigns in Rome and Germany, and was sent to Britain to defeat Wanius and Melga, the kings of the Picts and Huns respectively. He defeated the armies of both kings immediately upon arrival, ejecting them to Ireland. Soon after, word came that Maximus had died at the hands of either a supporter of the late Roman Emperor Gratian or by one of Gracianus Municeps' own followers. Despite mention previously made by Geoffrey of Monmouth of Dionotus, regent in Maximus' absence and king of Cornwall, Gracianus seized the crown of Britain and began a reign of terror throughout the island but soon certain plebs banded together and assassinated him. This led to a period of instability when news of his demise reached Britain's enemies, but he was eventually succeeded by Constantine II of Britain, the brother of King Aldroenus of Brittany.

Historically, the predecessor to Constantine was Gratian on whom Geoffrey's tale was probably based. The Venerable Bede refers to this Gratian as Municeps in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Latin: Ecclesiastic History of the English People) in Chapter XI of this work and the epithet is seemingly there to distinguish this Gratian from the earlier Gratian killed by the Usurper Magnus Maximus.

Hanging bowl

Hanging bowls are a distinctive type of artifact of the period between the end of Roman rule in Britain in c. 410 AD and the emergence of the Christian Anglo-Saxon kingdoms during the 7th century. The surviving examples have mostly been found in Anglo-Saxon graves, but there is general agreement that they reflect Celtic traditions of decoration.

The bowls are usually of thin beaten bronze, between 15–30 cm (6-12 inches) in diameter, and dished or cauldron-shaped in profile. Typically they have three decorative plates ('escutcheons') applied externally just below the rim to support hooks with rings, by which they were suspended. The ornament of these plates is often very sophisticated, and in many cases includes beautiful coloured enamel work, commonly in champlevé and using spiral motifs. Although their designs and manufacture are thought to proceed from Celtic technique, they are principally found in eastern Britain, and especially in the areas which received Anglo-Saxon acculturation. Their production is also evidenced in Pictish and Irish contexts, but they seem almost completely absent from Wales, Devon and Cornwall.

Rupert Bruce-Mitford's corpus gives the following breakdown of the locations in modern terms of the 174 finds he includes (many are just one or more elements of a bowl):

England 117, Scotland 7, Ireland 17

Norway 26, Sweden 2, Denmark 1,

Germany 2, Belgium 1, Netherlands 1

Illuminating Hadrian's Wall

Illuminating Hadrian's Wall was a public event on Hadrian's Wall which took place 13 March 2010 and saw the route of the wall lit with beacons. The event was organised by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd. and coincided with the 1600th anniversary of the end of Roman rule in Britain.

Kingdom of Gwent

Gwent (Old Welsh: Guent) was a medieval Welsh kingdom, lying between the Rivers Wye and Usk. It existed from the end of Roman rule in Britain in about the 5th century until the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century. Along with its neighbour Glywyssing, it seems to have had a great deal of cultural continuity with the earlier Silures, keeping their own courts and diocese separate from the rest of Wales until their conquest by Gruffydd ap Llywelyn. Although it recovered its independence after his death in 1063, Gwent was the first of the Welsh kingdoms to be overrun following the Norman conquest.

Kingdom of Powys

The Kingdom of Powys was a Welsh successor state, petty kingdom and principality that emerged during the Middle Ages following the end of Roman rule in Britain. It very roughly covered the top two thirds of the modern county of Powys and part of the West Midlands (see map). More precisely, and based on the Romano-British tribal lands of the Ordovices in the west and the Cornovii in the east, its boundaries originally extended from the Cambrian Mountains in the west to include the modern West Midlands region of England in the east. The fertile river valleys of the Severn and Tern are found here, and this region is referred to in later Welsh literature as "the Paradise of Powys".

Maiden Way

The Maiden Way or Maidenway (Middle English: Maydengathe; Medieval Latin: Via Puellarum) was a roughly 20-mile (32 km) Roman road in northern Britain connecting the Roman fort of Bravoniacum (Kirkby Thore) near Penrith with that of Magnae (Carvoran) on Hadrian's Wall. It was sometimes considered to have run east along Stanegate to Banna (Birdoswald), then 7 miles (11 km) north to the Shrine of Cocidius (Bewcastle), and thence to Liddesdale, but the identity of this course as a single road is problematic.In 2016, it was reported that investigations using LIDAR technology by the Environment agency for the purposes of flood mapping and other environmental management were providing data showing the existence of underground archaeological features including Roman roads. This included a continuation of the Maiden Way southwards from Kirkby Thore to the Roman fort at Low Borrowbridge near Tebay.Bravoniacum was a waypoint on the northern leg of the Roman-era Watling Street connecting Luguvalium (Carlisle) with Eboracum (York) and points south. Magnae was one of the waypoints on the Stanegate beside Hadrian's Wall. As such, the Maiden Way served as a shortcut for supplying the central and eastern areas of the Wall. It also provided supplies to the lead and silver mines near Epiacum (Whitley Castle).Following the End of Roman rule in Britain, it was used as a drovers' road. The route was probably named for the "Maiden Castle" guarding the pass at Verterae (Brough).The Pennine Way footpath follows the line of the Maiden Way for several miles on a roughly north-south route across Lambley Common in Northumberland, above the west bank of the river South Tyne. Immediately north of this stretch, a modern minor road follows the line of the Maiden Way for several miles to the west of Featherstone Castle.


Powys (; Welsh: [ˈpowɪs]) is a principal area and county, and one of the preserved counties of Wales. It is named after the Kingdom of Powys which was a Welsh successor state, petty kingdom and principality that emerged during the Middle Ages following the end of Roman rule in Britain.

Roman roads in Britannia

Roman roads in Britannia were initially designed for military use, created by the Roman Army during the nearly four centuries (43 – 410 AD) that Britannia was a province of the Roman Empire. It is estimated that about 2,000 mi (3,200 km) of paved trunk roads (i.e. surfaced roads running between two towns or cities) were constructed and maintained throughout the province. Most of the known network was completed by AD 180. The primary function of the network was to allow rapid movement of troops and military supplies, but it subsequently provided vital infrastructure for commerce, trade and the transportation of goods.

A considerable number of Roman roads remained in daily use as core trunk roads for centuries after the end of Roman rule in Britain in AD 410. Some routes are now part of the UK's national road network. Others have been lost or are of archeological and historical interest only.

After the Romans departed, systematic construction of paved highways in the United Kingdom did not resume until the early 18th century. The Roman road network remained the only nationally-managed highway system within Britain until the establishment of the Ministry of Transport in the early 20th century.

Romano-British culture

Romano-British culture is the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest in AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and custom. It survived the fifth-century Roman departure from Britain, eventually finding itself a stronghold in Wales where it was to form the basis of an emerging Welsh culture. Scholars such as Christopher Snyder believe that during the 5th and 6th centuries – approximately from 410 when the Roman legions withdrew, to 597 when St Augustine of Canterbury arrived – southern Britain preserved an active sub-Roman culture that survived the attacks from the Anglo-Saxons and even used a vernacular Latin when writing.


Tywysog (Welsh pronunciation: [təˈwəsɔɡ]), in modern Welsh, means "Prince", but historically it referred to a broader category of rulers. The feminine form is Tywysoges. The work Brut y Tywysogion is the Annals of the Princes of Wales and is a historical narrative of the deeds of the various rulers of the kingdoms, large and small, which existed in Wales from the end of Roman rule in Britain in c.410AD to the final conquest of Wales and the death of its last consecrated native Tywysog Llywelyn ap Gruffudd of Gwynedd in 1282, who was also the first to bear the title Tywysog Cymru (Prince of Wales). Owain Glyndŵr, Lord of Glyndyfrdwy, and claimed heir to the Kingdom of Powys, was also proclaimed Tywysog Cymru in 1400 but his rule had come to an end by 1412.

Tywysog is cognate with taoiseach in Irish and tòiseach in Scottish Gaelic; the latter forms an element in "MacIntosh" (Mac an Tòisich) (see Clan Mackintosh). Both words originally had a similar meaning in the Goidelic languages to tywysog, with taoiseach coming to mean the Irish head of government, and tòiseach a Scottish clan chief. The word tywysog itself derives from Welsh tywys "to lead", so the literal meaning of tywysog is "one who leads".

In modern Welsh the word tywysog can be used to refer to any prince.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.