Ergyng (Welsh: Erging) was a Welsh kingdom located in present-day southern Herefordshire, southwestern Gloucestershire, and northern Monmouthshire. It flourished from the time of the Roman departure from Britain until the end of the eighth century. Along with the Welsh kingdoms of Glywysing and Gwent, Ergyng emerged from the territory of the pre-Roman Silures, and those three kingdoms acted cooperatively and in concert in all matters of any consequence, with histories that are very amicably intertwined.
As a border kingdom facing the Anglo-Saxon advances of the sixth and seventh centuries, its territories were steadily eroded, and by the ninth century its remainder was absorbed into the lands that would become the southern Herefordshire area of Archenfield. Unlike some other areas where Britons were supplanted by Anglo-Saxons, the region that was once Ergyng has retained the heritage of both peoples, including the survival of Welsh place-names, and the Welsh language into the eighteenth century. By a quirk of history, relics of the ancient Welsh law survived in Archenfield into the twentieth century.
The name Ergyng first emerges onto the historical stage in the wake of the Roman departure from Britain, when it appears as a kingdom in the former territory of the pre-Roman Silures, along with the kingdoms of Glywysing and Gwent. The similarity of its name to that of the former Roman town of Ariconium (Welsh: Din Aricon) suggests (without solid foundation) that the town was in the former Silurian territory.
The spelling of the name has varied in historical references, to include Ercing, Ergic, and Ercic. It is spelled a variety of ways in the Book of Llandaff, including Ergin and Ercicg. The Historia Brittonum of Nennius spells it Erging and Geoffrey of Monmouth refers to it as Hergin.
To c. 500
To c. 600
To c. 700
After the withdrawal of the Roman legions from Britain in 410 AD, new smaller political entities took the place of the centralised structure. The area was originally part of the Kingdom of Glywysing (modern Glamorgan) and Gwent, but seems to have become independent for a period under Gwrfoddw Hen in the late 5th century, and again under King Peibio Clafrog in the mid-6th century. Peibio was the grandfather of Saint Dubricius or Dyfrig, the first Bishop of Ergyng and an important figure in the establishment of Christianity in South Wales. He founded large teaching monasteries at Llanfrother near Hoarwithy and at Moccas, and a bishopric seems to have been based at St Constantine's Church at Goodrich.
Dubricius' cousin, Gwrgan Fawr (the Great) was one of its most important monarchs and may have obtained sway over Glamorgan as far as the River Neath. In the middle of the 7th century, Onbraust of Ergyng married Meurig of Gwent, and their son Athrwys became king of both kingdoms. Ergyng eventually became a mere cantref, the Welsh equivalent of a hundred.
- See also Archenfield
By the 8th century, the expanding power of Mercia led to conflict with the native British, and by the 9th century the Mercians had gained control over the area and nearby Hereford. The sites of old British churches fell to Mercia, and the British became foreigners - or, in the English language, "Welsh" - in what had been their own land. The rump of Ergyng then became known to the English as Arcenefelde or Archenfield. Although its Welsh-speaking inhabitants retained special rights, the area was unequivocally incorporated into England in the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542.
As Archenfield (variously spelled) the region would be often-mentioned in discussions on ancient Welsh law, and as a digression in discussions of English law, due to a quirk of history. The Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 abolished Welsh law in Wales. However, at that time Archenfield was a part of England, and as these laws applied only within Wales, local law and custom in Archenfield continued as before. This was an unusual survival of ancient Welsh law into the twentieth century, of interest to scholars studying the histories of both Welsh and English law.
- Rees 1840 The Book of Llandaff
- Nennius 1819:146, 170 Historia Britonnum page 146
- Geoffrey of Monmouth 1842:147 History of the Britons, Chapter II – a passing reference in the story of Aurelius Ambrosius' pursuit of Vortegirn.
- Ergyng at The History Files
- Hereford.uk.com - Herefordshire History
- Archenfield Archaeology - Who we are
- British Archaeological Association, ed. (1871), "Proceedings of the Congress, 10 September 1871", Journal of the British Archaeological Association (London: British Archaeological Association), XXVII: 536–541 http://books.google.com/books?id=KhIpAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage
|url=missing title (help) — notes that "all the churches of Ergyng or Archenfield have Welsh names in the Book of Llandaff"; the same page mentions a trip to Ariconium that was written up in the journal previously.
- Caradoc of Llancarfan (c. 1155), "Brut y Tywysogion (Chronicle of the Princes)", in Owen, Aneurin (translator), Archaeologia Cambrensis, Third Series (London: Cambrian Archaeological Association, published 1863) X: 1–143 http://books.google.com/books?id=osE1AAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage
|url=missing title (help)
- Geoffrey of Monmouth (1155), Giles, John Allen; Thompson, A. (translator), eds., The British History of Geoffrey of Monmouth (New ed.), London: James Bohn (published 1842)
- Gerald of Wales (1194), Rhys, Ernest, ed., The Itinerary and Description of Wales, London: J. M. Dent & Co (published 1908) - see the TOC's
- Ingram, J., ed. (c. 1100), The Saxon Chronicle, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown (published 1823)
- Lloyd, Jacob Youde William (1882), The History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog III, London: T. Richards - search for erging; pages 264, 265
- Lloyd, John Edward (1911), A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest I (2nd ed.), London: Longmans, Green, and Co (published 1912) — search for erging
- Lloyd, John Edward (1911), A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest II (2nd ed.), London: Longmans, Green, and Co (published 1912) — search for erging
- Nennius (c. 795), Gunn, W., ed., Historia Brittonum, London: John and Arthur Arch (published 1819)
- Newell, Ebenezer Josiah (1895), A History of the Welsh Church to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, London: Elliot Stock — search for ergyng, et al
- Newell, Ebenezer Josiah (1902), Llandaff, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge - search for ergyng, et al
- Rees, William Jenkins (1840), The Liber Landavensis, Llyfr Teilo, Llandovery: William Rees — from MSS. in the Libraries of Hengwrt, and of Jesus College (English translation)
- Seebohm, Frederic (1883), The English Village Community Examined in its Relations to the Manorial and Tribal Systems and to the Common or Open Field System of Husbandry, London: Longmans, Green, and Co. (published 1905) — search for ergyng and archenfield; mentions the Domesday Book; and also mentions Gwent as a part of Gloustershire. A number of interesting hits.
- Williams, Edward (Iolo Morgannwg) (c. 1810), Williams (ab Iolo), Taliesin, ed., Iolo Manuscripts, Llandovery: William Rees (published 1848)
- Williams (ab Ithel), John, ed. (c. 1288), Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288), London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts (published 1860)
- Wright, Thomas (1853), Wanderings of an Antiquary, London: J. B. Nichols and Sons (published 1854) - search for Ariconium
- Ergyng (or Erging) not mentioned by Ussher (in either vol V or VI)
- Bede ?
- Gildas ?
- Wendy Davies. (1979). The Llandaff Charters.
- Wendy Davies (1982). Wales in the Early Middle Ages.
- G. H. Doble. (1971). Lives of the Welsh Saints.
- John Morris. (1973). The Age of Arthur.
- Raymond Perry. (2002). Anglo-Saxon Herefordshire.
- A. L. F. Rivet & Colin Smith (1979). The Place-Names of Roman Britain.