Old Welsh: Caer Odor
Bristol | 1st century BC – 9th century AD
Roman Period | 1st century BC – 5th century AD
The site of Bristol was known as Abona during Roman times. It served as a port and trading center, connecting the region to the Roman road network and facilitating trade with other parts of Roman Britain. Bristol was part of the Roman province of Britannia, and its location near the confluence of the rivers Avon and Frome made it strategically important.
With the decline and collapse of Roman rule in Britain in the fifth century, many Roman towns, including Bristol, experienced a period of decline and abandonment. The population likely diminished, and urban life contracted. The region that included Bristol came under the influence of various Germanic tribes, primarily the West Saxons (later known as the Kingdom of Wessex). It is believed that Bristol was part of the territory controlled by the West Saxons during this period.
Christianity spread throughout Britain during the Roman and post-Roman periods. It is likely that Bristol, like other settlements of the time, saw the influence of early Christian missionaries and the emergence of Christian communities.
Anglo-Saxon Period and Early Medieval Period | 8th – 9th centuries
As the Anglo-Saxons migrated and established control over various parts of Britain, they settled in areas that were once part of the Roman province. Bristol, situated near the mouth of the Avon, likely saw Anglo-Saxon settlement during this period.
Toward the end of the Anglo-Saxon period and into the early medieval era, there was a gradual repopulation and economic revival in some areas that had experienced decline. Bristol’s location as a port on the Avon River positioned it to re-establish connections with trade routes, setting the stage for its later importance as a maritime and trading city.
Viking Raids | 8th – 9th centuries
The late eighth and early ninth centuries saw Viking raids along the coasts of England, including the Bristol Channel. While the specific impact of Viking activity on Bristol during the fifth-sixth centuries is not well-documented, the region would have been susceptible to Viking influence and potential conflicts.
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century