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King of the West Saxons and Bretwalda

Ceawlin was the son of Cynric and grandson of Cerdic, founder of the kingdom of the West Saxons. In the year of our Lord 556, he fought alongside his father Cynric who was King of Wessex against the Britons at Beranbury and succeeded in his turn as king when his father died but four years afterwards.

With his brother Cutha in the year 568 he fought King Æthelberht of Kent, but with what result is uncertain. His moment of glory was at the Battle of Deorham in 577, when he fought the Britons and slew three of their kings named Commail, Condida, and Farinmail and took the cities of Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath and thus expanded the kingdom westwards into the valley of the Severn. Seven years later he and Cutha fought the Britons once more at Fretherne, when Cutha was killed, but Ceawlin returned to his territory with much booty and wealth.

But in the year 591 he was alas driven from his kingdom by his nephew Ceolric who replaced him as king. Two years later the Great Chronicle records his death but not the cause. Perhaps he endeavoured to regain his kingdom and died in the attempt?

He was the second to be named by the great Bede as Bretwalda.

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