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Calchfynedd's place in Britain
- Calchfynedd is a very
mysterious British kingdom mentioned in a few old Welsh poems.
Historians don't know much about it.
- The poems say it was
south of Powys in Wales. There is
also a faint
tradition that Dunstable & Northampton were its most
- So it is thought that it
roughly covered Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire,
Bedfordshire, North Buckinghamshire and South Oxfordshire.
- The name is
pronounced 'Calk-vineth'. It means 'Chalk
Mountains' which refers to the Chiltern Hills.
- There was a
cathedral at Norton (in Northamptonshire) where the great Welsh saint,
- The area may have been
ruled by the people of London after the Romans
left Britain. It was on the edge of many Saxon
regions though and may have been left leaderless.
- In the early 6th
century, the region was probably taken over by a prince named
Cynwyd and his band of warriors. His cousins had thrown him
out of his homeland in the Pennine Hills up North.
- The Saxons of East
Anglia may have built the Devil's
Dyke in order to keep him out of their kingdom.
- However, Calchfynedd only lasted about 50 years!
Cynwyd's family was wiped out when his son, Cadrod, was defeated in
battle by King Cuthwulf of the Gewissae
- The Mercians
moved south to take over Calchfynedd. They called the southern
part of the kingdom 'Chilternset'.
- In Victorian times, an
historian called William Skene suggested that Calchfynedd was
really around Kelso in Scotland, which means 'chalky-place'.
- This was because he knew
the kings came from the North. But the idea does not match the
traditions from old Welsh poetry. Where do you think it was?