Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Caer Gai

Caer-gai, Caergai

Caer Gai is situated along the eastern bank of the River Dee in the historical county of Merioneth (Meirionydd), which is now part of the modern county of Gwynedd. The site is recognized as an archaeological site, associated with a Roman fort.

Caer Gai holds a distinct place in Welsh tradition and folklore, particularly associated with King Arthur and Sir Kay. In Welsh mythology and bardic tradition, Caer Gai is sometimes mentioned as a location linked to the upbringing of Arthur and Kay, they were raised or spent some part of their youth at Caer Gai.

Roman Auxiliary Fort
Caer Gai served as a Roman auxiliary fort capable of accommodating a garrison of over five hundred soldiers. The fort played a strategic role in the road system connecting other Roman forts, including Chester, Caersws, Tomen y Mur, and the fortlet at Brithdir. The occupation of Caer Gai began with the Roman conquest of the region in the 70s AD and extended at least into the mid-second century.

Historical Documentation
The recognition of Caer Gai as a Roman fortification can be traced back to historical sources, including Camden’s Britannia in the sixteenth century.

Archaeological Investigations
Archaeological investigations have revealed features such as structures, with recent geophysical surveys identifying structures in the annex on the south-eastern side of the fort.

Caer is a Welsh name for a wall or mound for defence – a city or castle wall, a fortress.

The root to this word might be cau, to shut up, to close, to fence, to enclose with a hedge. Cue means a field enclosed with hedges. When the Britons began to build cities they built a fortified wall to surround them, which were called caer.

The name Chester is a Saxonized form of the Latin castruni, a fort (and one of the few words recognised as directly inherited from the Roman invaders), is a common prefix and suffix in English place-names, such as: Colchester, Manchester, Chesterford, Chesterton. In the Danish and Anglian districts “Chester” is replaced with “caster”, such as: Doncaster and Lancaster, but both forms are allied to casirum, a Latinization of the Celtic caer.