6th and 7th Centuries
of Gwent, Ewias, may have originally been
a small kingdom before it became a commote
of Gwent. To the north and north-west of modern
Herefordshire the precursor of the Kingdom
of Powys was probably centred on Viroconium
(Wroxeter) the tribal city of the Cornovii.
early medieval kingdoms of south-western
Britain at a time when the terms 'England'
and 'Wales' were unknown.
and St Dyfrig
After the withdrawal of the Roman legions
from Britain in 410 AD, new smaller
political entities took the place of
the centralised structure. A kingdom
of Ergyng (or Ercic) seems to have been
based on, and named after, the old town
of Ariconium and covered what is now
southern Herefordshire. To the west
of Ergyng, the town of Venta (Caerwent)
gave its name to the kingdom of Gwent.
Beyond Gwent, Glywysing occupied modern
Ergyng presumable had a Christian Church from
Roman times. However, the outstanding figure
in the history of the church of Ergyng is
St Dyfrig, or Dubricius. Dyfrig seems to have
emerged from the local Romano-British population
and is said to have been born at Lann Ebrdil
(Madley) in the 5th century. He began his
activities at the time when the British kingdoms
had a 70-year respite from Germanic incursions
following their victory at Mons Badonicus
(legend says under Arthur) in around 500AD.
Dyfrig founded large teaching monasteries,
first at Henn Lann Dyfrig (Llanfrother near
Hoarwithy) and subsequently at Mochros (Moccas).
A bishopric seems to have been based at St
Constantine's Church at Garthbenni (Hentland
in Goodrich parish) by 500AD.
In the east of Britain, Germanic invaders
from were overrunning the Romanised native
people. There has been a lot of speculation
about the numbers of the Germanic Anglo-Saxons
who come to Britain. DNA analysis of modern
males suggests that the British population
was totally swamped in large areas of the
country. Powys seems to have lost its eastern
territories (in modern Shropshire) to an expanding
Mercia, the Anglian kingdom based in the midlands.
In 577 the Saxons defeated the British at
the Battle of Dyrham, and captured Bath, Cirencester
The British king Tewdrig's victory at the
Battle of Pont y Saeson on the lower Wye in
around 620 or 630 stopped their advance and
South Wales was never again to be seriously
threatened by the English peoples.
Ergyng, King Peibio was followed by Cinuin
and Gwyddgi, who were followed in turn by
Gwrgan. Gwrgan is the last person recorded
as King of Ergyng, and probably died in about
645. Gwrgan's daughter, Onbraust, married
Meurig of Glywysing/Gwent, and their son Athrwys
became king of both kingdoms.
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