Ceol of Wessex

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Ceol
King of Wessex
Reign 591-597
Predecessor Ceawlin
Successor Ceolwulf
House House of Wessex
Died after 597

Ceol (also known as Ceola or Ceolric) was the King of the Gewisse,[a] also called the King of Wessex. He ruled from 591 to 597. He was first an underking until 592 when he replaced his uncle Ceawlin of Wessex as king.


King in Wessex[change | change source]

Ceol was the grandson of Cynric. He was also the brother of Ceolwulf.[3] He was underking to his uncle Ceawlin, king of the Gewisse.[4] In 592 Ceawlin was driven out of power.[5] This was the result of losing in a battle at Woddesbeorg (or Wodnesbeorg).[b][7] The chronicle says there was a great slaughter, presumably this was among the Gewisse (West Saxons).[7] If the story in the chronicle is correct the older king Ceawlin was removed from his throne by his nephew, Ceol.[8] In 593 Ceawlin, along with a Cwichelm and a Crida (both otherwise unknown) died.[7] Ceol ruled until 577 when he was succeeded by his brother Ceolwulf. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not say when he died. But he either died in 577 or shortly afterwards.[9]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Bede thought of the Gewisse and the West Saxons as being the same people. That identification has been generally accepted by historians. But the Gewisse were not the only dynastic lineage in Wessex.[1] But when writing of the West Saxons during the reign of Cynegils he referred to them as "anciently known as the Gewissae."[2]
  2. The historian Johann Martin Lappenberg (History of England, 1834-1837) thought there was a temple to the pagan god Woden at Wodensburg. In the long struggle between Mercia and Wessex the kings of Wessex frequently defended this place.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. D. P. Kirby, The Earliest English Kings (London; New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 38-39
  2. Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, trans. Leo Sherley Price, revsd. R. E. Latham (London; New York: Penguin, 1990), p. 153
  3. G. H. Wheeler, 'The Genealogy of the Early West Saxon Kings', The English Historical Review, Vol. 36, No. 142 (Apr., 1921), p. 167
  4. Edwin Guest, Origines Celticae (a Fragment) and Other Contributions to the History of Britain (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1971), p. 243
  5. Benjamin Thorpe, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle according to the Several Original Authorities: Translation (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1861), p. 17
  6. Edwin Guest, Origines Celticae (a Fragment) and Other Contributions to the History of Britain (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1971), pp. 243-44
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 30
  8. Jim Bradbury, The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare (London; New York: Routledge, 2004), p. 25
  9. Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens (New york: Carroll & Graf, 1999), p. 302

Other websites[change | change source]