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Genealogy Places of Interest

Nennius v Bede

The Original Cities of Britain

The lists of ‘The Cities of Britain’ as supplied by both Nennius and Bede are not only different in number by some listings but have a very different interpretation of location. The Caerleon History would appear to have thirty three cities listed by Nennius with Early British Kingdoms listing twenty eight by Bede, with a further sixteen others listed as mentioned in various records.

Below the two are listed side by side with the relative interpretation of the present day location and with four of the sixteen additional ones underlined as appearing in the list by Nennius. The twelve extra are listed after Bedes list. Note that in both lists there is a spelling difference between Cair and Caer and the place names.

In the Bede list the present location is followed by the Roman name of the Fort/City. It must be remembered that Roman forts were classed as cities, whereas in current places a city must have a cathedral to be classed as such and even have an Act of Parliament to be classed as such.


The other twelve

You may wonder why, when I am mainly concerned with family history, the above should be included. It is because of Caer Meguaidd which is thought to be Meifod, the court of the Kings of Powys at the Manor of Mathrafal. It was also an ecclesiastical centre at which St. Gwyddfarch built the original church, replaced about 625 AD by St. Tysilio. The present church houses what may be the memorial stone to Prince Madog ap Maredydd of Powys Fadog.

The above lists have been copied from the two publications so that any current spelling errors are shown as it is thought that the gap of about two hundred years between Nennius and Bede would have shown very many changes.

In the Nennius list the later or present name, as stated by the author, has been added, whilst in the Bede listing, where possible the Roman name has been given after the current or latest British name, as many Saxon names, etc. were taken from the Roman.

Gildas, whose writings I also sought, appears to have written that there were twenty eight cities of Britain, but does not seem to have listed them.

Acknowledgement is extended to www.caerleon.net for their paper on Nennius and David Nash Ford for the information used from Bede.