Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Caernarvon, Carnarvon

Caernarfon, often anglicized as Carnarvon, is a historic town in Gwynedd, northwest Wales.

While the Arthurian legends are spread throughout various regions and stories, Caernarfon and its surrounding areas in Wales are particularly significant in this regard. According to some versions of the Arthurian legend, Caernarfon is associated with Arthur’s birthplace. While Tintagel in Cornwall is more commonly known as Arthur’s birthplace, there is a variation of the legend that suggests Arthur was actually born in Caernarfon Castle.

Ffynnon Cegin Arthur
There is a well known as Ffynnon Cegin Arthur, meaning”Arthur’s Kitchen Well,” near Caernarfon.

Caernarfon | 0 to the 9th century AD

Pre-Roman and Roman Periods
In pre-Roman times, the region of Gwynedd, where Caernarfon is located, was inhabited by Celtic tribes, possibly the Ordovices. The Roman conquest of Britain reached this area in the late first century AD, and Roman influence became significant. Roman forts and roads were established in the region, contributing to the Romanization of the local population.

Post-Roman Period | 5th – 9th centuries
Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the region underwent changes as Celtic and Germanic groups interacted. The post-Roman period in Wales is often referred to as the “Age of the Saints,” as Christian missionaries played a role in converting the local population.

Gwynedd became part of the early medieval kingdoms that emerged during this time, with rulers often vying for dominance.

Early Medieval Kingdoms
By the seventh and eighth centuries, the kingdom of Gwynedd began to emerge as a prominent political entity in the region. The rulers of Gwynedd sought to assert control over neighboring territories, and the kingdom played a role in the broader political landscape of early medieval Wales.

Viking Raids | 8th – 10th centuries
The coastal areas of North Wales, including Gwynedd, were susceptible to Viking raids during the eighth to tenth centuries. Viking incursions impacted various Welsh communities, and the local rulers had to contend with external threats.

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.