Eldol of Gloucester

Aldolf, Edof, Eldoll

He is earl of Gloucester or Chester, and the brother of Eldad.

He first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth. He led a contingent of warriors under Vortigern. He fought bravely with rocks and tree limbs against the Saxon betrayers at Ambrius’s monastery in Salisbury. The Britons were defeated, and Eldol swore to exact his vengeance on Hengist the Saxon for the betrayal.

When Ambrosius Aurelius invaded Britain, Eldol – disgusted at Vortigern’s policy toward the Saxons – joined Ambrosius’s army and helped Ambrosius defeat Vortigern at Ganarew. Eldol again fought heroically at the battle of Conisbrough. Here, he finally found his chance to defeat Hengist, and the two fought a tremendous battle before Eldol finally grabbed Hengist by his helmet and dragged him into the Britons’ ranks, thus capturing him. Later, Eldol personally beheaded Hengist before Ambrosius, ending – for the time being – the Saxon threat.

He appears as Ambrosius’s general in the Elizabethan play The Birth of Merlin. Geoffrey’s complimentary portrayal was almost certainly meant to please Robert, the earl of Gloucester in Geoffrey’s time.

Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Brut | Layamon, late 12th century to mid-13th century
The Birth of Merlin, or the Childe Hath Found His Father | Attributed to William Shakespeare and William Rowley, 1662