Cynric of Wessex
Cynric was King of Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

 from 534 to 560. Everything known about him comes from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great...

. There he is stated to have been the son of Cerdic
Cerdic of Wessex
Cerdic was probably 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...

, and also (in the regnal list in the preface) to have been the son of Cerdic's son, Creoda
Creoda of Wessex
Creoda of Wessex is a shadowy figure in early Wessex history, mentioned only in the regnal list in the preface of the Anglo-Saxon chronicle. There he is stated to have been the son of Cerdic and father to Cynric....

. During his reign it is said that he captured Searobyrig or Old Sarum
Old Sarum
Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England. The site contains evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BC. Old Sarum is mentioned in some of the earliest records in the country...

, near Salisbury, in 552, and that in 556 he and his son Ceawlin
Ceawlin of Wessex
Ceawlin was a King of Wessex. He may have been the son of Cynric of Wessex and the grandson of Cerdic of Wessex, whom the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle represents as the leader of the first group of Saxons to come to the land which later became Wessex...

 won a battle against the Britons at Beranburh, now identified as Barbury Castle
Barbury Castle
Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort situated in Wiltshire, England. It is one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The site, which lies within the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been managed as a country park by Swindon Borough Council since 1971...

. If these dates are accurate, then it is unlikely that the earlier entries in the chronicle, starting with his arrival in Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 with his father Cerdic in 495, are correct. David Dumville
David Dumville
Professor David Norman Dumville is a British medievalist and Celtic scholar. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Ludwig-Maximilian Universität, Munich, and received his PhD. at the University of Edinburgh in 1976. In 1974, he married Sally Lois Hannay, with whom he had one son...

 has suggested that his true regnal dates are 554-581.

The name Cynric has a straightforward Old English etymology meaning "kin-ruler." However, as both his predecessor, Cerdic, and successor, Ceawlin, might have Celtic names, an alternative etymology has been postulated from "Cunorix" which would mean "hound-king" in Old British (rendered as Cinir in Old Welsh, Kynyr in Middle Welsh). In 1967 a stone was found at Wroxeter in a Sub-Roman context (dating to c. 460 - 475 AD) with the inscription CUNORIX MACUS MAQVI COLINE, which translates as "Cunorix ('Hound-king') son of Maqui-Coline ('Son-of-Holly'), both of which are regarded as Irish personal names.

In the 2004 film King Arthur, Cerdic and Cynric were depicted as Saxon
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 invaders, and were killed, respectively, by King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

 and Lancelot
Sir Lancelot du Lac is one of the Knights of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend. He is the most trusted of King Arthur's knights and plays a part in many of Arthur's victories...

 at the Battle of Badon Hill (Mons Badonicus). Cynric was portrayed by Til Schweiger
Til Schweiger
Tilman Valentin "Til" Schweiger is a German actor, director, and producer.He is one of Germany’s most successful filmmakers. Since 1968, when the FFA started counting, no other German actor has drawn more people to the cinemas. He runs his own production company, Barefoot Films, in Berlin.-Early...


See also

  • House of Wessex family tree
    House of Wessex family tree
    The following chart is a family tree of the kings of the House of Wessex, a dynasty whose members were Kings of Wessex, and then, from Athelstan onwards, Kings of England....

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