EBK Activity Sheets


British Kingdom in South-East Wales

Click the Map to see Dyfed's place in Britain
  • Dyfed covers most of South-East Wales. The name is pronounced 'Duv-ed'. It developed from the name of the British tribe who lived there from before the Romans arrived. They were called the 'Demetae'.
  • Not long before the Romans left Britain, they tried to protect themselves from Saxon and Irish attacks by hiring foreign mercenaries (soldiers). The ones who went to Dyfed came from County Waterford in Ireland. Their tribe was called the Déssi.
  • Their Irish leader was given the title of 'Protector'. We know this because the gravestone of Protector Vortepor was found at the hillfort of Castell Dwyran. The monk, Gildas, wrote a book called the 'Ruin & Conquest of Britain' in which he called him a 'tyrant'.
  • There was also a local 'king' of Dyfed. He was descended from the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus. In the Mid-5th century, the Protector married the King's daughter. Their descendants ruled in Dyfed until 1197. That's over 800 years! The English then took over. But the heirs of Dyfed remained important lords in the area.
  • Dyfed changed size and name quite a lot. In the mid-7th century, it merged with Brycheiniog. In the early 8th century, it lost Ystrad Towi and was called Rhainwg. Then Brycheiniog split off again. In the early 10th century, Dyfed merged with Seisyllwg (Ceredigion) and became known as Deheubarth.
  • The early Kings of Dyfed lived mostly at Lis Castell (Lydstep) and nearby Din Bych (Tenby) and the later ones at Dinefwr. Their Royal monasteries were at Llandeilo Fawr and St. Davids.
  • Apart from Vortepor, the most famous Kings of Dyfed were:
    • Aergol Lawhir - Vortepor's father who lived in the late 5th century. He was friends with St. Teilo & St. Oudoceus and helped refugees from Brittany. He fought a war against King Cynan Gawyn of Powys.
    • Hywel Dda - He lived in the early 10th century. He ruled Gwynedd and Powys as well. He was a very strong and powerful king. He was also remembered as a good king who set out the first proper Welsh Laws.


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