celtic border

CAERLEON ~ Brief History
Caerleon has many connections which go back through history

awen celtic spirit

The Celts built hill forts all over Wales, and Caerleon is no exception. There is at least one major hill fort in the town, at the top of Lodge Hill. This site is very interesting as it has major earth works, in the classic mote formation, on 4 or possibly more levels. These earth works (or Ramparts), were use to defend against attackers.

Back then Caerleon was thought to be the principal town of the Silures; a Briton tribe who ruled the area, long before the Romans. According to some manuscripts of the Kings of ancient Britain, it was founded by Beli ap Dynwal Moen Mynd, who made a city on the banks of the Wye. The town was called Caer Llion ar Wysg. Caerleon in is fact on the Usk, but very near the estuary. Could it be the same town?

From Roman times Caerleon was thought to mean town (Caer) of the legions (Leon). Then, Caerleon was a major Roman Settlement and Barracks for the Roman Garrisons. It was also a large Port in it's day, being situated near the Usk estuary, it was an ideal departure point for trade and travel, to many British and French ports.

AmphitheatreMany of these fortifications can still be seen today, including an Amphitheatre, Roman Baths, Barracks and remains of a vast wall which enclosed the entire town. For more information visit the Roman Legionary Museum in Caerleon.

When the Romans finally left Britain (380 AD?), it is thought that they pulled most of the town down. But, I suspect it was left for the remaining Britons (who were by then Romano British), as a strong hold against the raiding Irish and Saxons.

Later this town was to feature very heavily in the tales of Arthur Pendragon, and his warriors. One theory is that, seeing this strong hold in decay, Arthur decided he would use it for his new army. There is some evidence to back this up in Celtic sources, such as Bede and Gildas. The Black book of Camarthen also mentions Caerleon as Arthur's Stronghold. There is also the fact that the Roman Amphitheatre was called the 'Round Table', up until the time that it was excavated in the in 1926.

Could Caerleon be the fabled Camelot? Well many people think so.

After all, we all know that King Arthur was Welsh!


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