Gwenddoleu, King of Caer-Wenddoleu
(Welsh: Gwenddoleu; Latin: Ventolovus; English: Wendley)

Gwenddoleu was an historical personage of the late 5th century, well-remembered in ancient Welsh poetry. He was a son of Prince Ceidio, a younger brother of King Eliffer Gosgorddfawr of Ebrauc (York). Little is known of him except for his role in a battle on the Cumbro-Scottish border some way from his original homeland. The details suggest that his uncle may have been the aggressor in a dynastic struggle which expelled Gwenddoleu and his father from York. For the battle was fought at Arthuret in Longtown and W.F. Skene has identified nearby Carwinley as being derived from Caer-Wenddoleu which would have been this king's stronghold. If Gwenddoleu was in permanent residence in the area, one might suggest that he had somehow managed to carve out a small kingdom for himself in the borderlands between North Rheged and Strathclyde.

It seems unlikely that Gwenddoleu was a welcome addition to the monarchical landscape of what is now Southern Scotland. Possibly as a defensive measure, he allied himself to Prince (later King) Aedan mac Gabhran of Scottish Dalriada. However, this only served to destable his position within the overlordship of the latter's enemy, King Riderch Hael of Strathclyde. Riderch seems to have allied himself to Gwenddoleu's cousins, Kings Peredur and Gwrgi of Ebrauc (York) - sons of his old opponent, Eliffer Gosgorddfawr - and, when a dispute over the township of Caer-Laverock arose in AD 573, armies from the four nations clashed at Arderydd (Arthuret). Gwenddoleu brought some 2,100 men to the battle, but the combined might of Strathclyde and Ebrauc were ultimately victorious. Gwneddoleu was killed and his kingdom wiped from the map.

Records of Gwenddoleu date back to at least the 10th century. He is generally considered historic.


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