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Names for our British and Saxon Leaders

The following download contains a 100 names for both British and Saxon Lords and Nobles which you can use to randomly generate names for your characters in your Dux Britanniarum campaigns. The names are taken from lists of Kings of the kingdoms of the 4th to the 8th centuries and give a good sample of names for nobles on both sides.
Remember that in the old British, as in modern Welsh, the term Ap means “son of” and was used much as the Irish Ui, or O’ and Scots Mac. The Kings of Dumnonia are listed according to their paternal line, Gadeon ap Conan, Guoremor ap Gadeon, Tutwal ap Guoremor, Conomor ap Tutwal and so on, so feel free to add a bit of colour by rolling to see who their sire was. The Saxons had no such system.
You can download the tables of names here: British & Saxon Names
Pronouncing Anglo-Saxon and Early British Names
For obvious reasons we cannot provide a complete guide to the Anglo-Saxon and Brythonnic languages, but we did think it might help to cover a few basics so that you know what your Lord or Noble is actually called. We assume that where a letter is not covered below it is pronounced much as it is in current English.
Anglo-Saxon was a moveable feast so we have focussed on the early period covered by the rules.
A is pronounced as in Man whereas ? is a harder A as in Hat
O is pronounced as the letter U in Put
Y is a vowel in old Anglo-Saxon and is pronounced as the letter u
C is an important letter in Anglo Saxon as many royal names began with that letter. The Angles, Saxons and Jutes would have pronounced a C as either a K or Ch depending on what letter followed. The K sound was used when the following letter was a, o, u or r, whereas Ch was used when followed by e, i or y.
Cerdic would be “Cher-dic” as opposed to “Serdic” of “Kerdic”.
Cynric is pronounced Chun-ric.
Aedwald is pronounced Ad-wald
I have resorted to consulting modern Welsh here as it is a living language directly descended from the Brythonic and spoken by close to a million people today and as such provides a good reliable source of information. I would be very grateful if any Welsh speakers could put me right as I am sure what follows contains terrible errors. To an Englishman the Welsh language is an impenetrable mystery but I have done my honest best.
Welsh has seven vowels, A, E, I, O, U, W and Y.
I is pronounced as “ee” as in seen.
U is pronounced as “i” in tin.
W is pronounced as “oo”.
Y can be pronounced as “uh” particularly when used as the definite article such as “y dewr” (the brave), as an I such as in Selyf being pronounced Selif or as u in English such as tundra or under. (Thanks to Hugh for correcting me on this!)
C is always pronounced as a K never as an S, so Caradoc is Karadok.
Ch is always pronounced as in the Scots word loch.
Dd is pronounced “th”, so Gwenddoleu Is pronounced Goo-en-th-olee.
F is pronounced as an English v, so the river Afon in Welsh is Avon in English.
Ff is pronounced “f” as in fat or fish.
Ll is pronounced (vaguuely) as “Thl”, so Gwynllyn is pronounced Goo-in-thlin.
Rh is pronounced as though the H is actually before the R, so Rheged is pronounced Hreged.
Ae, Ai and Au are pronounced as y.
Aw and Ew as ow in the English word how.
Eu and Ei as ay in the English word slay.
Remember, many British rulers took their names from the Latin so these pronunciations only apply to the British names on the list.


5 thoughts on “Names for our British and Saxon Leaders”

  1. Welsh “ll” is unique. Put the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth with a sort of hollow between the middle of the tongue and the side teeth and then blow out the side of your mouth. It sounds like a particularly vile rasp.
    Not sure if the “y” in Gwynllyn is pronounced as a “uh” or a “i” sound. It could easily be “gwin-llin”. Y changes its sound from word to word.

  2. Chris, Constantine was a very popular name with Kings in 5th century Britain. The rest shown are all names of actual kings, so you can see that they are mainly British names with just one or two Roman ones.
    Hugh, many thanks for that. Apologies for making a hash of your language. Each time I go to Wales now I am making an effort to learn a bit more of the lingo.

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