Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Afflurne, Habren, Hafren, de Lauernie(?), Sabrina, de Saone, Saonne, Savarne, Saverne, Seurne, Syvarne

The River Severn is the longest river in the United Kingdom, flowing through England and Wales. It originates in the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales, the source is often referred to as Plynlimon or Pumlumon.

The river flows generally eastward through Wales and England, passing through or near several major cities, including Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester. It eventually empites into the Bristol Channel, which is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, near the city of Bristol. The Severn has several significant tributaries, including the Rivers Teme, Avon, and Wye.

According to the Vulgate it is said to be on the border of Norgales (Northgalis).

In Culhwch, Arthur’s forces battle the boar Twrch Trwyth on the Severn. By driving the boar into the river and trapping him in the currents, the warriors Mabon and Cyledyr the Wild were able to great the needed shears and razor from between the boar’s ears. The boar recovered and fled to Cornwall.

The river is referenced in continental romance, but the writers are confused about its location. In Malory, the Castle of Maidens is said to lie near the Severn.

Severn | 0 to 9th century AD

Specific records for the River Severn during this period are limited, the region through which it flows has a long and varied history, with influences from ancient Celts, Romans, and later Anglo-Saxons. Severn is the modern name for the River Habren, which was known as the Sabrina by the Romans. Here is an historical overview:

Pre-Roman and Roman Periods | Before 1st century – 5th century AD
The area around the River Severn was inhabited by Celtic tribes before the Roman conquest of Britain. The Romans, upon their arrival, established various settlements and forts along the river. The river played a role in Roman transportation and trade. The town of Gloucester, situated along the Severn, has Roman origins and was known as Glevum.

Post-Roman Period and Anglo-Saxon Invasions | 5th – 7th centuries
With the decline of Roman influence in Britain in the early fifth century, the region witnessed the withdrawal of Roman forces. The Anglo-Saxon invasions, migrations, and settlements occured in the subsequent centuries. These migrations would have influenced the local landscape and communities along the Severn.

Early Medieval Period | 7th – 9th centuries
The Severn would have continued to be an important geographical feature during the early medieval period. The area became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that emerged in different parts of England, with Mercia being one of the prominent kingdoms in the Midlands, near the Severn Valley. The River Severn and its tributaries likely played a role in trade, communication, and transportation during this time.

Viking Raids and Invasions | 8th – 9th centuries
The eighth and ninth centuries saw Viking raids and invasions in various parts of England. While the Vikings primarily targeted areas with easy access to the sea, their influence reached inland areas along major rivers, including the Severn.

Christianization and Monasticism
The Christianization of the region likely began during the late Roman and early medieval periods. Monastic communities, often established near rivers, played a role in spreading Christianity. Monastic centers along or near the Severn could have been important centers of learning and religious influence.

See also
Habren | The Legend of King Arthur
Margot Rock | The Legend of King Arthur

Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
Culhwch and Olwen | Late 11th century