Latin: Corinium Dobunnorum
Cirenchester is a historic town located in the Cotswolds, a region in Gloucestershire, England. The correct and modern spelling of the town is Cirencester. “Cirenchester” is an older or alternative spelling that is less commonly used today.
In Biket’s Lai du Cor Arthur gives the earldom of Cirenchester to Caradoc after Caradoc – through a magical horn – proves himself the only knight at Arthur’s court with a completely faithful wife (who was born in Cirenchester). Biket claimed that the horn was on display in Cirenchester at the time of his writing (1150-1200).
Cirenchester | 1st century BC to the 9th century AD
Roman Period | 1st century BC – 5th century AD
Cirenchester, established in the first century AD, was a significant Roman town known as Corinium Dobunnorum during Roman Britain. It became a significant Roman settlement and served as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Prima, as the second-largest town in Roman Britain after Londinium (London).
Corinium was an important administrative and economic center, featuring Roman architecture such as a forum, basilica, amphitheater, and defensive walls. The town thrived economically, engaging in industries such as pottery production and wool processing. With the decline of the Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, Corinium, like many Roman towns, faced challenges such as economic decline, political instability, and external threats.
Post-Roman and Early Medieval Period | 5th – 9th centuries
After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the region entered a period known as Sub-Roman Britain. The Roman structures in Corinium likely fell into disuse, and the town experienced changes in governance and population.
The early medieval period saw the arrival of Anglo-Saxon influences in the region. Cirenchester and its surroundings were likely part of the evolving political landscape as local kingdoms emerged.
The spread of Christianity in Britain during the sixth and seventh centuries had an impact on the region. Missionaries, including Celtic saints, played a role in converting the local population.
Viking Incursions | 9th century
The ninth century witnessed Viking incursions along the coasts of Britain, including regions near Cirenchester. While the exact impact on Cirenchester is not well-documented, the broader political and social upheavals of the Viking Age would have influenced the region.
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Lai du Cor | Robert Biket, mid to late 12th century