Gwerthefyr Fendigaid, King of Gwerthefyriwg
(Born c.AD 402)
(Latin: Vortimoricus; English: Vortimer)

Vortimer, as he is generally known to history, was the eldest son of the tyranical High-King of Britain, Vortigern Vorteneu (NHB). As a young man, Vortimer had probably met St. Germanus of Auxerre on his first visit to Britain in AD 429. The saint may have blessed him (DNF), like his brother Brydw, and, ever since, he was given the name Fendigaid or "the Blessed" (PofE). He was the short-lived ruler of what became Gwent, but during the early 5th century was actually named after him as Gwerthefyriwg (Bartrum 1993; BoL; DNF). As his legendary ancestry makes him a great grandson of Eudaf Hen (the Old) (PofE; DofMW), this is presumably from where medieval writers believed he had inherited the kingdom, although this is more likely to have been from an expansion of his father's homeland around Gloucester (DNF).

It was this young warrior King who took up the British cause against his father's pro-Anglo-Saxon policies and fought the Germanic invaders in at least three distinct battles during the AD 450s: Derguentid (Crayford), Rithergabail (Aylesford) and Lapis Tituli (Richborough) (NHB, GofM, ASC). He was defeated in the first, but victorious by the last. Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that he was actually set-up as High-King in his father's stead at this time (GofM). Vortimer was then apparently poisoned by his Anglo-Saxon step-mother and, on his death bed, persuaded his fellows to bury him in the chief port of Britain upon a "brazen pyramid" (GofM) (probably the Roman triumphal arch at Richborough (DNF)) as a talisman to keep the Anglo-Saxon invaders away (TYP). Vortigern, however, revealed his son's resting place to his wife and the Anglo-Saxons had him re-interred in Caer-Lundein (London) (TYP).

Vortimer had married and fathered at least one daughter, Madrun (ByS). Iolo Morganwg offered a second daughter, Anna (Iolo MSS). Whether he had really seen records of this lady and her marriage to Cynyr Ceinfarfog is unknown (DNF). However, she could have been the Anna of Gwent who was the mother of St. Samson. If this identification is accepted, then there was also a third daughter, Afrella, but no sons (LBS). His kingdom would appear to have been inherited by Madrun and her husband, Ynyr Gwent (DNF).

Records of Vortimer date back to the 9th century. He is generally considered historic.


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