List of kings of Dumnonia

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The kings of Dumnonia were the rulers of the large Brythonic kingdom of Dumnonia in the south-west of Great Britain during the Sub-Roman and early medieval periods.

A list of Dumnonian kings is one of the hardest of the major Dark Age kingdoms to accurately compile, as it is confused by Arthurian legend, complicated by strong associations with the kings of Wales and Brittany, and obscured by the Saxon advance. Therefore, this list should be treated with caution.

Dumnonian kings[edit]

The original Celtic chiefs of the Dumnonii ruled in the south-west until faced with the Roman arrival into their territory in c.AD 55 when the Romans established a legionary fortress at Isca Dumnoniorum (modern Exeter). Although subjugated by c.AD 78, the civitas Dumnoniorum was one of the regions of Roman Britain least affected by Roman influence.[1] Known as Caer Uisc, Exeter was inhabited by Dumnonian Britons up until c.936 when King Athelstan expelled them.[2] Several other royal residences may also have served the kings of Dumnonia or Cornwall, including Din-Tagell (modern Tintagel), and Cadbury Castle.

Mythical 'Dukes of Cornwall' recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth
Presumed kings appearing in the ancestry of later monarchs
  • Conan Meriadoc ap Gereint (Conan the Merry) (c.340–c.387)
  • Gadeon ap Conan (c.387–c.390)
  • Guoremor ap Gadeon (c.387–c.400)
  • Tutwal ap Guoremor (c.400–c.410)
  • Conomor ap Tutwal (c.410–c.435)
  • Constantine Corneu ap Conomar (Constantine of Cornwall) (c.435–c.443)
Kings recorded in Welsh records and literature
Possible rulers given in the early 17th century Book of Baglan as ancestors of an 'Earl of Cornwall'[3]
Kings recorded in Anglo-Saxon sources

Native tradition[edit]

Susan Pearce views the only native 4th to 7th century Dumnonian rulers to be known to history as:

  • Constantine
  • Erbin
  • Geraint
  • Cadwy

She identifies Constantine with the Constantine mentioned by Gildas, anchoring his reign to the 6th century, and giving later dates for the reigns of Erbin, Geraint, and Cadwy (Cado).[4]

Cornish kings[edit]

King Doniert's Stone, located near St Cleer, Bodmin Moor, commemorates King Dungarth/Donyarth/Doniert.

By the end of the 8th century, Dumnonia was much reduced in size by the advance of the West Saxons and the remaining territory became a rump state in Cornwall. The generally accepted date for this transition is around 800.[citation needed]

Recorded in Old Welsh documents, Saints' Lives and in local and Arthurian tradition
In records open to interpretation
The Book of Baglan

An early 17th century pedigree of a so-called 'Earl of Cornwall' in the Book of Baglan may possibly represent a list of rulers in Cornwall.[3]

  • Ithel Eiddyn ap Donyarth (Ithel the Rock) (c.710–c.715)
  • Dyfnwal Boifunall ap Ithel (Dyfnwal of Boifunall) (fl. c.730s)
  • Cawrdolli ap Dyfnwal (fl. c.750s)
  • Oswallt ap Cawrdolli (fl. c.770s)
  • Hernam ap Oswallt (fl. c.790s)
  • Hopkin ap Hernam (fl. c.810s)
  • Mordaf ap Hopkin (fl. c.830s)
  • Fferferdyn ap Mordaf (fl. c.850s)
  • Donyarth (c.865–c.876)
  • Eluid ap Fferferdyn (fl. c.880s)
  • Alanorus ap Eluid (fl. c.890s)
  • In the De Gestis Herewardi Saxonis written in the 12th century it is recorded that Hereward the Wake took refuge in Cornwall in the 11th century at the court of the Cornish Prince or King Alef.[8]

Cornish earls[edit]

If he is not to be identified with Hywel Dda of Deheubarth, the singularly recorded Huwal could have been the last native king. Some of the later supposed rulers listed below are given the title 'Earl of Cornwall', although in two cases may have been recognized as rebel kings (Conan in 934 and Cadoc in 1100).[citation needed]

  • Conan (c.926–c.937)
  • Rolope ap Alanorus (fl. c.940s)
  • Vortegyn Helin ap Rolope (Vortegyn the High Lord) (fl. c.960s) as 'Duke of Cornwall and Wessex'
  • Veffyne ap Vortegyn (fl. c.980s) as 'Duke of Cornwall and Wessex'
  • Alured ap Veffyne (fl. c.1000s) as 'Duke of Cornwall and Wessex'
  • Godwyn ap Alured (fl. c.1010) as 'Duke of Cornwall and Wessex', possibly Godwin, Earl of Wessex
  • Herbert FitzGodwyn (fl. c.1050)
  • Cadoc of Cornwall (c.1066–c.1068)
  • Robert, Comte de Mortain (c.1068–c.1084)
  • William FitzRobert (c.1084–c.1106) (opposed by Cadoc ap Cador)
  • Cadoc (fl. c.1100)

Cadoc's daughter Avice is said to have married William FitzRobert de Mortaigne and the title of Earl of Cornwall passed to the Normans and never returned to the native royal family.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Todd (1987), p.216.
  2. ^ Snyder (2003), p.169.
  3. ^ a b Williams, John. Llyfr Baglan: or The Book of Baglan. Compiled Between the Years 1600 and 1607. Edited by Joseph Alfred Bradney. London: Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1910. p80
  4. ^ Pearce, Susan (1971). "The Traditions of the Royal King-List of Dumnonia". Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ The Anglo-Saxon Episcopate of Cornwall: With Some Account of the Bishops of Crediton; by Edward Hoblyn Pedler (1856)
  6. ^ a b Philip Payton. (1996). Cornwall. Fowey: Alexander Associates
  7. ^ Ann Williams et al. (1991). A Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain. London: Seaby
  8. ^ Bevis, Trevor (1981). Hereward, together with De Gestis Herewardi Saxonis. Pub. March: Westrydale Press, ISBN 0-901680-16-8. P. 13.


Further reading[edit]