Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Aelle of Sussex

Ælle, Aelle, Ella

Regarded as the first king of the South Saxons (or warleader) of Sussex. He reigned from the year 477 and perhaps as late as 514.

Together with his sons CymenWlencing and Cissa, he defeated the local Britons at Cymensora in AD 477. He fought against them once more near Mearcraedesburna (AD 485) and captured Anderida (modern Pevensey in Sussex) about the year AD 491.

Another source gives that he came from Germany, landed at Cymenesora and defeated a Briton army at Aldredeslea. In 485, he fought a battle at Mearcredesburna and, in 491, with his son Cissa, he defeated the Britons again at Andredsceaster.

According to Bede, he held the archaic title Bretwalda (Britain-ruler), indicating a primacy among the Saxon kings. Henry of Huntingdon gives the year 514 as the date of Aelle, but it can not be confirmed.

S.G. Wildman suggests he led the Saxons at Badon; he was certainly flourishing at a time when he might have been a leading adversary of an historical Arthur.

Historia Anglorum | Henry of Huntingdon, 12th century
Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum | Bede, c. 731
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle | 9th century