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Image and name of Cerdic, from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Source: Paul Harper

King Cerdic of Wessex’s Burial Site Claimed to be Found!


More than a millennium after its mention in an ancient royal charter, the possible final resting place of Wessex founder Cerdic has come to light. An enigmatic figure from the same era as the legendary King Arthur in post-Roman British history, Cerdic rose to prominence as a warlord following fierce battles in Hampshire during the sixth century. He has traditionally been depicted as an Anglo-Saxon invader, but the exact extent and time of his rule remains contested.

Cerdic of Wessex, from John Speed’s Saxon Heptarchy map,1611. (Public Domain)

Cerdic of Wessex, from John Speed’s Saxon Heptarchy map,1611. (Public Domain)

A Land Endowment, A Declaration of Rule

Drawing inspiration from George Grundy's academic research, an investigation by author and historian Paul Harper unearthed a burial mound corresponding to Cerdic's Barrow in Hampshire County Council's Historic Environment Records, reports The Heritage Daily. Though the tumulus has since been plowed over, aerial photography from the 1960s and 70s revealed traces of a massive barrow measuring 72 feet (21.9 meters) in diameter and standing up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) tall!

In a charter dated to 900 AD, King Edward the Elder granted 10 hides of land to Winchester Cathedral, which now largely constitutes the St Mary Bourne parish in Hampshire. Notably, the charter delineates the land boundary, mentioning 'Ceardices Beorg' in Old English, translated as 'Cerdic's Barrow'.

Cerdic's reign remains shrouded in mystery. His Brittonic name, along with that of several descendants, suggests a more complex narrative. Many scholars argue that his rule likely began later than stated in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

“The exciting discovery has brought the story of Cerdic from a lost period of British history to life,” Mr Harper said. “This could be overwhelming proof that Cerdic was not just a product of fantasy in the chaotic aftermath of post-Roman Britain but a real warlord who forged a powerful realm which evolved into the nation of England. Barring King Arthur, no other figure from the early medieval period achieved such legendary status.”

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Sleuthing Cerdic’s Burial

The location of the barrow, near Andover in Hampshire, was deduced by identifying landmarks mentioned in the 10th-century charter, including the Roman Road, a Willow Grove next to a wood, and a Barrow of the Ash Tree still marked on Ordnance Survey maps. Following his death, Cerdic was likely buried in a newly constructed mound or, more likely, a reused Bronze Age barrow—a common practice during the early Anglo-Saxon period. Numerous ancient monuments repurposed for burials from this period represent the same style.

Harper said:

“It was no accident that Cerdic’s Barrow can be found at this site because it was a very public statement of power near ancient roads and a warning to his enemies in modern day Wiltshire that they could not miss in the shape of a huge burial mound. Cerdic was among a number of warlords fighting for territory in post-Roman Britain and his final resting place was deliberately placed with his rivals in mind. The message was clear that the land belongs to the Cerdicing dynasty and they enter at their own peril.”

Harper suggests that this corner of Hampshire held sentimental value for Cerdic, as evidenced by references to wooded enclosures associated with deer hunting—a popular pastime among Roman and Anglo-Saxon nobles, reports the Andover Advertiser.

Cerdic: Founder of the Kingdom of Wessex, Post Roman British Unifier
Cerdic is traditionally regarded as the founder of the Kingdom of Wessex. Rising to prominence during the turbulent post-Roman period in the sixth century, Cerdic is often depicted as an Anglo-Saxon warlord who established his realm through a series of conquests and battles, notably in Hampshire.

Despite the prominence of his name in historical narratives, much about Cerdic remains shrouded in mystery – most prominently, his origins and the exact nature of his rule are subject to scholarly debate. While some sources portray him as an Anglo-Saxon invader, his Brittonic name and those of his descendants suggest a more nuanced heritage, potentially pointing towards relations between Anglo-Saxon and indigenous British cultures.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a key source for early English history, records Cerdic's arrival in Britain in the year 495 AD and his subsequent conquest of territories in southern England, culminating in the establishment of the Kingdom of Wessex. However, the accuracy of these accounts is questioned by modern historians, who argue for a more complex and multifaceted understanding of Cerdic's role in shaping early medieval Britain.

Cerdic is explored in full in Paul Harper’s new book, CERDIC: Mysterious Dark Age king who founded England, available, from Amazon.

Top image: Image and name of Cerdic, from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Source: Paul Harper

By Sahir Pandey


Harper, P. 2024.  Has the burial of an Anglo-Saxon king been uncovered? Available at:

Sajan, K. 2024.  Author claims to find Andover burial site of King Cerdic. Available at:



A good write up. Thanks for this.

I really like Paul Harper's YouTube account. It's full of 'off the beaten track' and underreported history. He just gets out there and goes sleuthing. This story is particularly interesting if you're keen to learn more about England and ultimately Britain's buried and rather undersung-by-the-mainstream history.

His book about Cerdic comes out on the 30th April too. Should put even more meat on the bones.

Sahir's picture


I am a graduate of History from the University of Delhi, and a graduate of Law, from Jindal University, Sonepat. During my study of history, I developed a great interest in post-colonial studies, with a focus on Latin America. I... Read More

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