Ceol of Wessex

Ceol of Wessex
King of Wessex
Reign 592-597
Predecessor Ceawlin
Successor Ceolwulf

Ceol (also known as Ceola or Ceolric) was King of Wessex from 592 to 597.

He was the son of Cutha (or Cuthwulf), the son of Cynric of Wessex. He reigned from either 591 AD or 592 to 597. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he began his reign in 591, but it was only in the following year that he drove out his uncle Ceawlin in a battle at Woden's Barrow in Wiltshire,[1][2] thus denying the throne to the rightful heir, Ceawlin's son Cuthwine. Upon his death the throne passed to his brother Ceolwulf, because his son Cynegils was presumably too young to inherit the throne, so it was given to the brother, as was probably the custom among the Saxons. In 1967 Wright and Jackson[3] found at Wroxeter a stone in a Sub-Roman context (dating to c. 460 - 475 AD[4]) with the inscription CUNORIX MACUS MAQVI COLINE, which translates as "Cunorix ('Hound-king' = Cynric) son of Maqui-Coline ('Son-of-Holly'), both of which are regarded as Irish personal names. It is possible that Maqui Coline is linked to Coel, suggesting a rival family to that of Ceawlin.

The Ceolian line

Ceol was the founding member of a sub-house of the House of Wessex which would rule Wessex from 591 - 645, 648 - 674 and from 676 - 685, comprising Ceol, Ceolwulf, Cynegils, Cenwalh, Seaxburh and Centwine. Coenwulf and Ceolwulf I of Mercia are also believed to be descendants of Ceol, meaning that the Ceolian line flourished for at least three centuries after its founder's death, and possibly longer. (See House of Wessex family tree.)


  1. ^ Yorke, Barbara, 'Ceol', Online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004
  2. ^ According to Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford University Press, 3rd Edition, 1971, p. 30, the battle was fought at Woddesbeorg or Wodnesbeorg, probably the tumulus now called Adam's Grave, overlooking the Vale of Pewsey.
  3. ^ Wright, R.P. and Jackson, K.H. (1968) `A Late Inscription from Wroxeter', The Antiquaries Journal 48, part 2: 296--300.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Wessex
592 - 597
Succeeded by

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