Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south. Shropshire Council was created in 2009, a unitary authority taking over from the previous county council and five district councils; the borough of Telford and Wrekin has been a separate unitary authority since 1998 but continues to be included in the ceremonial county. The county's population and economy is centred on five towns: the county town of Shrewsbury, culturally and important and close to the centre of the county; the county has many market towns, including Whitchurch in the north, Newport northeast of Telford and Market Drayton in the northeast of the county. The Ironbridge Gorge area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale and a part of Madeley. There are other historic industrial sites in the county, such as at Shrewsbury, Broseley and Highley, as well as the Shropshire Union Canal.
The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers about a quarter of the county in the south. Shropshire is one of England's most rural and sparsely populated counties, with a population density of 136/km2; the Wrekin is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the county, though the highest hills are the Clee Hills and the Long Mynd. Wenlock Edge is another significant geological landmark. In the low-lying northwest of the county overlapping the border with Wales is the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, one of the most important and best preserved bogs in Britain; the River Severn, Great Britain's longest river, runs through the county, exiting into Worcestershire via the Severn Valley. Shropshire is landlocked and with an area of 3,487 square kilometres is England's largest inland county; the county flower is the round-leaved sundew. The area was once part of the lands of the Cornovii, which consisted of the modern day counties of Cheshire, north Staffordshire, north Herefordshire and eastern parts of Powys.
This was a tribal Celtic iron age kingdom. Their capital in pre-Roman times was a hill fort on the Wrekin. Ptolemy's 2nd century Geography names one of their towns as being Viroconium Cornoviorum, which became their capital under Roman rule and one of the largest settlements in Britain. After the Roman occupation of Britain ended in the 5th century, the Shropshire area was in the eastern part of the Welsh Kingdom of Powys, it was annexed to the Angle kingdom of Mercia by King Offa in the 8th century, at which time he built two significant dykes there to defend his territory against the Welsh or at least demarcate it. In subsequent centuries, the area suffered repeated Viking incursions, fortresses were built at Bridgnorth and Chirbury. After the Norman conquest in 1066, major estates in Shropshire were granted to Normans, including Roger de Montgomerie, who ordered significant constructions in Shrewsbury, the town of which he was Earl. Many defensive castles were built at this time across the county to defend against the Welsh and enable effective control of the region, including Ludlow Castle and Shrewsbury Castle.
The western frontier with Wales was not determined until the 14th century. In this period, a number of religious foundations were formed, the county falling at this time under the Diocese of Hereford and that of Coventry and Lichfield; some parishes in the north-west of the county in times fell under the Diocese of St. Asaph until the disestablishment of the Church in Wales in 1920, when they were ceded to the Lichfield diocese; the county was a central part of the Welsh Marches during the medieval period and was embroiled in the power struggles between powerful Marcher Lords, the Earls of March and successive monarchs. The county contains a number of significant towns, including Shrewsbury and Ludlow. Additionally, the area around Coalbrookdale in the county is seen as significant, as it is regarded as one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution; the village of Edgmond, near Newport, is the location of the lowest recorded temperature in England and Wales. Shropshire is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle annal for 1006.
The origin of the name is the Old English Scrobbesbyrigscīr, which means "Shrewsburyshire". The name may, therefore, be derived indirectly from a personal name such as Scrope. Salop is an old name for Shropshire used as an abbreviated form for post or telegrams, it is thought to derive from the Anglo-French "Salopesberia", it is replaced by the more contemporary "Shrops" although Shropshire residents are still referred to as "Salopians". Salop however, is used as an alternative name for the county town, which shares the motto of Floreat Salopia; when a county council for the county was first established in 1889, it was called Salop County Council. Following the Local Government Act 1972, Salop became the official name of the county; the name was not well-regarded locally however, a subsequent campaign led by a local councillor, John Kenyon, succeeded in having both the county and council renamed as Shrops
Eowa of Mercia
Eowa was a son of the Mercian king Pybba and a brother of the Mercian king Penda, as the King of Northern Mercia, as he is said to have been co-ruler with his brother Penda in the Historia Brittonum, written in the 8th century, 200 years after his life. Historia Brittonum, Chapter 65: " fought the battle of Cocboy, in which fell Eawa, son of Pybba, his brother, king of the Mercians, Oswald, king of the North-men, he gained the victory by diabolical agency." Annales Cambriae, 644: "The battle of Cogfry in which Oswald king of the Northmen and Eawa king of the Mercians fell." These two sources state that Eowa was a king of the Mercians himself at the time of the Battle of Maserfield, in which he was killed, on August 5 of what was the year 642. The Mercian kings Æthelbald and Ecgfrith were descended from Eowa, it was in the battle of Maserfield that Oswald of Northumbria was defeated and killed by the Mercians under Penda. Eowa died in that battle, although little is known about this, it has been suggested that Eowa may have been a co-ruler of the Mercians alongside Penda, or even superior in status to Penda at this time, that he may have been subject to Oswald and fighting as his ally in the battle.
"The Formation of the Mercian Kingdom", in S. Bassett's The Origins of Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, it is possible that it was customary among the Mercians until this time for there to be more than one king, Penda and Eowa may have ruled over the southern and northern Mercians respectively. Neither Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, nor the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions Eowa's participation or death at Maserfield, or his being a Mercian king, but the Chronicle mentions him when tracing the descent of Æthelbald and Offa. Nicholas Brooks wrote that, if Eowa is considered to have ruled during the period between 635 and Maserfield, this could account for an obscure recorded Welsh raid into Mercian territory, during which it is said that no mercy was shown to "book-holding monks". Brooks noted that if Eowa was a Northumbrian puppet, there would be the possibility that Oswald may have made moves to promote Christianity in Mercia at this time, thus accounting for the presence of monks in what was still a pagan kingdom.
Since Penda is known to history as an ally of the Welsh, this along with the presence of monks makes it seem unlikely that the raid could have taken place during his rule. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the lineage of two Mercian kings of Eowa's blood, Æthelbald and Offa. "Aethelbald was Alweo's offspring, Alweo Eawa's offspring, Eawa Pybba's offspring...", Later, it gives the lineage of Eowa's great-great-grandson Offa, who ruled from 757 to 796 and was descended from Osmod rather than Eowa's other son Alweo, "That Offa was Thingfrith's offspring, Thingfrith Eanwulf's offspring, Eanwulf Osmod's offspring, Osmod Eawa's offspring, Eawa Pybba's offspring, Pybba Creoda's offspring, Creoda Cynewald's offspring, Cynewald Cnebba's offspring, Cnebba Icel's offspring, Icel Eomer's offspring, Eomer Angeltheow's offspring, Angeltheow Offa's offspring, Offa Wermund's offspring, Wermund Wihtlaeg's offspring, Wihtlaeg Woden's offspring". Kings of Mercia family tree Eowa 1 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England
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 roughly covered the top two thirds of the modern county of Powys and part of the West Midlands. More and based on the Romano-British tribal lands of the Ordovices in the west and the Cornovii in the east, its boundaries 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, this region is referred to in Welsh literature as "the Paradise of Powys". The name Powys is thought to derive from Latin pagus'the countryside' and pagenses'dwellers in the countryside' the origins of French "pays" and English "peasant". During the Roman Empire, this region was organised into a Roman province, with the capital at Viroconium Cornoviorum, the fourth-largest Roman city in Britain. An entry in the Annales Cambriae concerning the death of King Cadell ap Brochfael says that the land called Powys was known as Teyrnllwg.
Throughout the Early Middle Ages, Powys was ruled by the Gwerthrynion dynasty, a family claiming descent jointly from the marriage of Vortigern and Princess Sevira, the daughter of Magnus Maximus. Archaeological evidence has shown that, unusually for the post-Roman period, Viroconium Cornoviorum survived as an urban centre well into the 6th century and thus could have been the Powys capital; the Historia Brittonum, written around AD 828, records the town as Caer Guricon, one of his "28 British Towns" of Roman Britain. In the following centuries, the Powys eastern border was encroached upon by English settlers from the emerging Anglian territory of Mercia; this was a gradual process, English control in the West Midlands was uncertain until the late 8th century. In 549 the Plague of Justinian - an outbreak of a strain of bubonic plague - arrived in Britain, Welsh communities were devastated, with villages and countryside alike depopulated. However, the English were less affected by this plague as they had far fewer trading contacts with the continent at this time.
Faced with shrinking manpower and increasing Anglian encroachment, King Brochwel Ysgithrog may have moved the court from Caer Guricon to Pengwern, the exact site of, unknown but may have been at Shrewsbury, traditionally associated with Pengwern, or the more defensible Din Gwrygon, the hill fort on The Wrekin. In 616, the armies of Æthelfrith of Northumbria clashed with Powys. Seeing an opportunity to further drive a wedge between the North Welsh and those of Rheged, Æthelfrith invaded Powys' northern lands. Æthelfrith defeated Selyf and his allies. At the commencement of the battle, Bede tells us that the pagan Æthelfrith slaughtered 1200 monks from the important monastery of Bangor-on-Dee in Maelor because, he said, "they fight against us, because they oppose us by their prayers". Selyf ap Cynan was killed in the battle and may have been the first of the kings of Powys to be buried at the church dedicated to St. Tysilio, at Meifod, thence known as the Eglwys Tysilio and subsequently the dynasty's Royal mausoleum.
If King Cynddylan of Pengwern hailed from the royal Powys dynasty forces from Powys may have been present at the Battle of Maes Cogwy in 642. According to the ninth-century cycle of englyn-poems Canu Heledd, the region around Pengwern was sacked soon after, its royal family slaughtered and most of its lands were annexed by Mercia, some by Powys. However, this account is now thought to represent ninth-century imaginings of what must have been going on in the seventh, inspired by Powys's political situation in the ninth century. Powys enjoyed a resurgence with successful campaigns against the English in 655, 705-707 and 722, wrote Davies; the court was moved to Mathrafal Castle in the valley of the river Vyrnwy by 717 by king Elisedd ap Gwylog. Elisedd's successes led King Æthelbald of Mercia to build Wat's Dyke; this endeavour may have been with Elisedd's own agreement, for this boundary, extending north from the Severn valley to the Dee estuary, gave Oswestry to Powys. King Offa of Mercia seems to have continued this consultive initiative when he created a larger earth work, now known as Offa's Dyke.
Davies wrote of Cyril Fox's study of Offa's Dyke: In the planning of it, there was a degree of consultation with the kings of Powys and Gwent. On the Long Mountain near Trelystan, the dyke veers to the east, leaving the fertile slopes in the hands of the Welsh, and for Gwent Offa had the dyke built "on the eastern crest of the gorge with the intention of recognizing that the river Wye and its traffic belonged to the kingdom of Gwent. This new border moved Oswestry back to the English side of the new frontier, Offa attacked Powys in 760 at Hereford, again on 778, 784 and 796. Offa's Dyke remained the frontier between the Welsh and English, though the Welsh would recover by the 12th century the area between the Dee and the River Conwy, known as the Perfeddwlad or "Midlands". Powys was united with Gwynedd when king Merfyn Frych of Gwynedd married princess Nest ferch Cadell, sister of king Cyngen of Powys, the last representative of the Gwertherion dynasty. With the death of Cyngen in 855 Rhodri the Great became king of Powys, having inherited Gwynedd the year before.
This formed the basis of Gwynedd's continued claims of overlordship over Powys for the next 443 years. Rhodri the Great ruled over most of modern Wales until his death in 878, his sons would in t
Battle of Heavenfield
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. An alliance between Cadwallon of Gwynedd and King Penda of Mercia had led to an invasion of Northumbria; this was an odd alliance between a Christian king of Brythonic descent and a pagan king of Anglian descent. At the Battle of Hatfield Chase on 12 October 633, the invading Welsh and Mercians had killed Northumbrian king Edwin and Northumbria was split between its two sub-kingdoms and Deira. Cadwallon's army laid waste to Northumbria. Eanfrith, exiled under Edwin, became king of Bernicia, whilst Deira was ruled by Osric, a cousin of Edwin. Eanfrith's reign was short. According to Bede, Osric was killed by Cadwallon whilst trying to besiege him. Eanfrith's brother, Oswald returned from seventeen years exile in Dál Riata to claim the crown of Northumbria.
However the threat of Cadwallon lingered and Oswald had to raise an army as soon as possible to deal with his invading force. It seems. Oswald, who may have been accompanied by a force of Scots, took up a defensive position beside the Roman Wall, about 6 km north of Hexham, it was claimed that the night before the battle, Oswald had a vision of Saint Columba, in which the saint foretold that Oswald would be victorious. Oswald placed his army so that it was facing east, with its flanks shielded by Brady's Crag to the north and the Wall to the south. According to Bede, Oswald raised a cross, prayed for victory alongside his troops, it is believed that the Welsh had greater numbers, but they were forced to attack from the east along a narrow front, where they were hemmed in and unable to outflank the Northumbrians. It is not known how long the battle lasted or what the losses were, but the Welsh line broke; this began a headlong flight southward by the Welsh, pursued by the vengeful Northumbrians.
Many Welsh soldiers were cut down as they ran, according to Bede, Cadwallon was caught and killed at a place called the'Brook of Denis', now identified as the Rowley Burn. The battle was a decisive victory for Oswald, it was that the Welsh losses were substantial. Afterwards, the site was known as Heavenfield. After the battle, Oswald became king of all Northumbria. Bede believed. Oswald was only to spend eight years upon the Northumbrian throne before he was defeated and killed by King Penda of Mercia at the Battle of Maserfield, in Shropshire. Oswald was succeeded as king of Northumbria by his brother Oswiu; the road east of Chollerford that runs alongside the Roman Wall has a wooden cross standing alongside it to mark site of the Battle of Heavenfield. On the hill to the north of the cross stands a church marking the spot where Oswald was believed to have raised his battle standard. Sadler, John. Battle for Northumbria, 1988, Bridge Studios, ISBN 0-9512630-3-X Marsden, John. Northanhymbre Saga, 1992, Kyle Cathie Limited, ISBN 1-85626-055-0
Oswestry is a market town and civil parish in Shropshire, close to the Welsh border. It is at the junction of the A5, A495 roads, it is one of the UK's oldest border settlements. The town was the administrative headquarters of the Borough of Oswestry until, abolished under local government reorganisation with effect from 1 April 2009. Oswestry is the third-largest town following Telford and Shrewsbury; the 2011 Census recorded the population of the civil parish as 17,105 and the urban area as 16,660. The town is five miles from the Welsh border, has a mixed English and Welsh heritage, it is the home of the Shropshire libraries' Welsh Collection. Oswestry is the largest settlement within the Oswestry Uplands, a designated natural area and national character area, it has been known as, or recorded in historical documents as: Album Monasterium. Oswestry's story began with the 3000-year-old settlement of Old Oswestry, one of the most spectacular and best preserved Iron Age hill forts in Britain, with evidence of construction and occupation between 800 BC and AD 43.
The site is named Caer Ogyrfan or The City of Gogyrfan, the father of Guinevere in legend. The Battle of Maserfield is thought to have been fought there in 642, between the Anglo-Saxon kings Penda of Mercia and Oswald of Northumbria. Oswald was dismembered, thus it is believed that the name of the site is derived from a reference to "Oswald's Tree". The spring, Oswald's Well, is supposed to have originated where the bird dropped the arm from the tree, though one historian suggested that it was to have been a pagan spring, in use long before the Saxon battle; the water from the well was believed to have healing properties for curing eye trouble. Offa's Dyke runs to the west; the Domesday Book records a castle being built by Rainald, a Norman Sheriff of Shropshire: L'oeuvre – see Oswestry Castle. Alan fitz Flaad, a Breton knight, was granted the feudal barony of Oswestry by King Henry I who, soon after his accession, invited Alan to England with other Breton friends, gave him forfeited lands in Norfolk and Shropshire, including some which had belonged to Ernulf de Hesdin and Robert of Bellême.
Alan's duties to the Crown included supervision of the Welsh border. He founded Sporle Priory in Norfolk, he married daughter of Ernulf de Hesdin. Their eldest son William FitzAlan was made High Sheriff of Shropshire by King Stephen in 1137, he married a niece of Robert of Gloucester. Alan's younger son, travelled to Scotland in the train of King David I, Walter becoming the first hereditary Steward of Scotland and ancestor of the Stewart Royal family; the town has some Welsh language street and place names and the town's name in Welsh is Croesoswallt, meaning "Oswald's Cross". The town changed the Welsh a number of times during the Middle Ages. In 1149 the castle was captured by Madog ap Maredudd during'The Anarchy', it remained in Welsh hands until 1157. In the 13th century it is referred to in official records as Blancmuster or Blancmostre, meaning "White Minster". Oswestry was attacked by the forces of Welsh rebel leader Owain Glyndŵr during the early years of his rebellion against the English King Henry IV in 1400.
The castle was reduced to a pile of rocks during the English Civil War. In 1190 the town was granted the right to hold a market each Wednesday. With the weekly influx of Welsh farmers the townsfolk were bilingual; the town built walls for protection, but these were torn down in the English Civil War by the Parliamentarians after they took the town from the Royalists after a brief siege on 22 June 1644, leaving only the Newgate Pillar visible today. After the foot and mouth outbreak in the late 1960s the animal market was moved out of the town centre. In the 1990s, a statue of a shepherd and sheep was installed in the market square as a memorial to the history of the market site. Park Hall, a mile east of the town, was one of the most impressive Tudor buildings in the country, it was taken over by the Army during World War I in 1915 and used as a training camp and military hospital. On 26 December 1918 it burnt to the ground following an electrical fault; the ruined hall and camp remained derelict between the wars, the camp hospital, was still in use.
One of the main uses of the land from the 1920s was for motorcycle racing and it became quite a well-known circuit. The camp was reactivated in July 1939 for Royal Artillery training and the Plotting Officers' School. Following World War II, Oswestry was a prominent military centre for Canadian troops for the British Royal Artillery, a training centre for 15 to 17-year-old Infantry Junior Leaders; the camp closed in 1975. During the 1970s some local licensed wildfowlers discharged their shotguns at some passing ducks and were shot themselves by a young military guard, who had mistaken them for an attacking IRA force; the area occupied by the Park Hall military camp is now residential and agricultural land, with a small number of light industrial units. P
Penda of Mercia
Penda was a 7th-century King of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is today the English 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. Nine years he defeated and killed Edwin's eventual successor, Oswald, at the Battle of Maserfield, he defeated the East Angles and drove Cenwalh the king of Wessex into exile for three years. He continued to wage war against the Bernicians of Northumbria. Thirteen years after Maserfield, he suffered a crushing defeat by Oswald's successor and brother Oswiu, was killed at the Battle of the Winwaed in the course of a final campaign against the Bernicians; the etymology of the name Penda is unknown. Penda of Mercia is the only monarch with this name, but a number of Mercian commoners with the same name are on record. Suggestions for etymologies of the name are divided between a Celtic and a Germanic origin.
The names of members of a Northumbrian brotherhood are recorded in the ninth century Liber vitae Dunelmensis, the name Penda occurs in this list and is categorised as a British name. John T. Koch noted that, "Penda and a number of other royal names from early Anglian Mercia have more obvious Brythonic than German explanations, though they do not correspond to known Welsh names." These royal names include those of Penda's father Pybba, of his son Peada. It has been suggested that the firm alliance between Penda and various British princes might be the result of a "racial cause."Continental Germanic comparanda for the name include a feminine Penta and a toponym Penti-lingen, suggesting an underlying personal name Pendi. Penda was a son of Pybba of Mercia and said to be an Icling, with a lineage purportedly extending back to Wōden; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle gives his descent as follows: Penda was Pybba's offspring, Pybba was Cryda's offspring, Cryda Cynewald's offspring, Cynewald Cnebba's offspring, Cnebba Icel's offspring, Icel Eomer's offspring, Eomer Angeltheow's offspring, Angeltheow Offa's offspring, Offa Wermund's offspring, Wermund Wihtlæg's offspring, Wihtlæg Woden's offspring.
The Historia Brittonum says that Pybba had 12 sons, including Penda, but that Penda and Eowa of Mercia were those best known to its author. Besides Eowa, the pedigrees give Penda a brother named Coenwalh from whom two kings were said to descend, although this may instead represent his brother-in-law Cenwalh of Wessex; the time at which Penda became king is uncertain. Another Mercian king, Cearl, is mentioned by Bede as ruling at the same time as the Northumbrian king Æthelfrith, in the early part of the 7th century. Whether Penda succeeded Cearl is unknown, it is unclear whether they were related, if so how closely, it is possible that Cearl and Penda were dynastic rivals. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Penda became king in 626, ruled for 30 years, was 50 years old at the time of his accession; that he ruled for 30 years should not be taken as an exact figure, since the same source says he died in 655, which would not correspond to the year given for the beginning of his reign unless he died in the thirtieth year of his reign.
Furthermore, that Penda was 50 years old at the beginning of his reign is doubted by historians because of the ages of his children. The idea that Penda, at about 80 years of age, would have left behind children who were still young has been considered implausible; the possibility has been suggested that the Chronicle meant to say that Penda was 50 years old at the time of his death, therefore about 20 in 626. Bede, in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, says of Penda that he was "a most warlike man of the royal race of the Mercians" and that, following Edwin of Northumbria's defeat in 633, he ruled the Mercians for 22 years with varying fortune; the noted 20th-century historian Frank Stenton was of the opinion that the language used by Bede "leaves no doubt that... Penda, though descended from the royal family of the Mercians, only became their king after Edwin's defeat"; the Historia Brittonum accords Penda a reign of only ten years dating it from the time of the Battle of Maserfield around 642, although according to the accepted chronology this would still be more than ten years.
Given the apparent problems with the dates given by the Chronicle and the Historia, Bede's account of the length of Penda's reign is considered the most plausible by historians. Nicholas Brooks noted that, since these three accounts of the length of Penda's reign come from three different sources, none of them are Mercian, they may reflect the times at which their respective peoples first had military involvement with Penda; the question of whether or not Penda was king during the late 620s assumes greater significance in light of the Chronicle's record of a battle between Penda and the West Saxons under their kings Cynegils and Cwichelm taking place at Cirencester in 628. If he was not yet king his involvement in this conflict might in
Cadwallon ap Cadfan
Cadwallon ap Cadfan 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 and killing its king, 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, made him the last Briton to hold substantial territory in eastern Britain until the rise of the 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 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, critical of him. Cadwallon 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, 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 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 and ejecting its king, Cerdic; this opened the door to the Irish Sea, Edwin extended his rule to the "Mevanian Islands" – the Isle of Man and Anglesey. The Annales Cambriae says that Cadwallon was besieged at Glannauc, 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 and mention that Cadwallon spent time in Ireland before returning to Britain to defeat Edwin. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, Cadwallon went to Ireland and 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, forced their king, Penda of Mercia, into an alliance. Geoffrey reports that Cadwallon married a half-sister of Penda. However, his history is, on this as well as all matters, it should be treated with caution. In any case and Cadwallon together made war against the Northumbrians; the Battle of Hatfield Chase on 12 October 633 ended 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". 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, resolving to cut off all the race of the English within the borders of Britain."
Bede's 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, was 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". Kings of Wales family trees Koch, John T.. Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. Alex Woolf, "Caedualla Rex Brittonum and the Passing of the Old North", in Northern History, Vol. 41, Issue 1, March 2004, pages 5–24.
Cadwallon 1 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England