Sawyl Benuchel, King of the Southern Pennines
(Born c.AD 505)
(Welsh: Sawyl; Latin: Samuvellus; English: Samuel)

The Kingdom of the Southern Pennines may have been known as the Peak, as later retained by the Anglo-Saxon 'Pecset' or Peak Settlers who took over the area. King Pabo Post Prydein's son, Sawyl the Arrogant seems to have inherited this southern half of his father's kingdom but as more and more Anglo-Saxons moved northward, he was unable to reist them. Sawyl may have obtained his epithet from some complacent actions during this time when his kingdom was lost in the late 6th century. Bizarrely, however, he was also known as Sawyl Benisel which means quite the opposite - the Humble.

Sawyl was eventually forced to flee to Wales: probably Tegeingl (Flintshire) and then Morgannwg (Glamorgan). He appears in the 'Life of St. Cadog' in this area, apparently holding court on Allt Cynadda near Cydweli (Kidwelly). However, he did not mend his arrogant ways and took to harassing St. Cadog at Llangadog. One day, Sawyl's warband stole all the food in the Abbey and the saint was forced to pursue the evil doers till he found them sleeping under some trees. The monks then set about cutting-off the warriors' hair before running off into a bog. Sawyl and his men gave chase but all drowned in the process. The king was buried in the nearby mound known as 'Banc Benuchel'. A body excavated there in 1850 is supposed to have been his. Cadog had stripped Sawyl of all his regalia and he was merely covered with a hexagonal stone imitating his battle-shield.

Records of King Sawyl date back to the 11th century. He is generally considered legendary.


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