Cerdic was allegedly the first King of Anglo-Saxon Wessex from 519 to 534, cited by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as the founder of the Kingdom of Wessex and ancestor of all its subsequent kings. (See House of Wessex family tree). See below section on Origins, but I theorize that Cerdic was probably born to parents of Britain-Saxon ancestry already living in Southern England.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Cerdic landed in Hampshire in 495 with his son Cynric in five ships.
Descent from Cerdic became a necessary criterion for later kings of Wessex, and Egbert of Wessex (c769-839), progenitor of the English royal house and subsequent rulers of England and Britain, claimed him as an ancestor.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles declare Cerdic and his son Cynric to be earldonmen, hinting they were already existing authority figures of a junior rank when they appear in 495 A.D. and not granted the title of being independent rules of the Saxon Tribe of Wessex until 519 A.D. It is quite possible that even though he led the Saxons he had pre-existing ancestral connections to the Britains.
The Saxon tribes originated in Germany from the province of Saxony. The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain is the term traditionally used to describe the process by which the coastal lowlands of Britain developed from a Romano-British to a Germanic culture following the withdrawal of Roman troops from the island in the early 5th century. The traditional view of the process has assumed the migration of several Germanic peoples, later collectively referred to as Anglo-Saxons, from the western coasts of continental Europe, followed by the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms across most of what is now England and parts of lowland Scotland. The arrival of a Germanic element in the history of Britain is called in Latin texts the Adventus Saxonum, a term first used by Bede in about 731.
In Gildas's work of the sixth century, De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, a religious tract on the state of Britain, the Saxons were enemies originally from overseas, who brought well-deserved judgment upon the local kings or 'tyrants'. The Chronica Gallica of 452 records for the year 441: "The British provinces, which to this time had suffered various defeats and misfortunes, are reduced to Saxon rule." The Chronicle was written some distance from Britain
Any Ancestry for Cerdic is highly suspect and is generally believed to be inaccurate. Here is one example from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles: Cerdic was the father of Cynric, Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar, Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden.
Anglo Saxon Chronicles
- AD 495: This year came two leaders into Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, with five ships, at a place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And they fought with the Welsh the same day...
- AD 508: This year Cerdic and Cynric slew a British king, whose name was Natanleod, and five thousand men with him. After this was the land named Netley, from him, as far as Charford.
- AD 514: This year came the West-Saxons into Britain, with three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And Stuff and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight.
- AD 519: This year Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government of the West-Saxons; the same year they fought with the Britons at a place now called Charford. From that day have reigned the children of the West-Saxon kings.
- AD 527: This year Cerdic and Cynric fought with the Britons in the place that is called Cerdic's-ley.
- AD 530: This year Cerdic and Cynric took the isle of Wight, and slew many men in Carisbrook.
- AD 534: This year died Cerdic, the first king of the West-Saxons. Cynric his son succeeded to the government, and reigned afterwards twenty-six winters. And they gave to their two nephews, Stuff and Wihtgar, the whole of the Isle of Wight.
|Offspring of Cerdic of Wessex and unknown parent|
|Cynric of Wessex (-560)||560 Wessex|
- Cerdic of Wessex - Royal History of English Monarchs
- Cerdic of Wessex - Wikipedia
- House of Wessex - Family Tree Chart on Wikipedia
- Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - Pt 1 A.D. 250-750 - Online Medieval & Classical Library
- Yorke, Barbara (1990). Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England. London: Seaby. ISBN 1-85264-027-8.
- Kirby, D.P. (1992). The Earliest English Kings. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09086-5.