Cwichelm of Wessex
Cwichelm of Wessex
7th-century English monarch
Cwichelm (died circa 636) was the King of the Gewisse, although more commonly called the King of Wessex. He reigned from 626 until his death. He was a pagan king who became a Christian shortly before his death.
Cwichelm was the son of Cynegils, King of Wessex. He ruled jointly with his father. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 614 says Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at a place named Beandun, which cannot be identified. The account went on to say they slew two thousand sixty-five Welsh. Another chronicle entry for 627 (corrected to 626) states an Eomer was sent by "Cwichelm, king of the West Saxons, thinking to stab king Eadwine". It goes on to say Eomer stabbed his thane, Lilla, and a Forthere but only wounding the king. The plot to kill the Northumbrian king failed and the following year Eadwine (Edwin) sent an army to punish Wessex. The next mention of Cwichelm in the chronicle is for the year 628. It states that Cyngils, king of Wessex, and Cwichelm his son 'fought with Penda at Cirencester and came to an agreement with him there'. The agreement seems to have been to give Cirencester to Penda. In 634 Pope Honorius I sent Bishop Birinus to England. When he reached the territory of the Gewisse (Wessex) he found them almost completely pagan. He began to convert the West Saxons to Christianity. In 635 Cynegils was baptized and King Oswald of Northumbria stood as his Godfather. In 636 Cwichelm was baptised at Dorchester. He died later in the same year (636). Although he died before his father, both were succeeded by his brother Cenwalh in 643.
Cwichelm had a son:
Cuthred († 685), king in Wessex.
When we got back from Germany in 1987 after 3 years SCS service with the MOD, we purchased a new house in Eythone, Dover, Kent and called it “Cwichelm”. I commissioned a welded steel name for the house. I was 37 years of age.
Just 9 short days later on July 18, I had arranged to meet David Baxter on Knap Hill for the first of our two crop circle adventures that summer. I seemed to be intuitively aware that this was going to be an odd year. It was much more about people and our relationships than the phenomenon itself. A space was being made for us to talk to each other and make discoveries. I loaded my camp gear and also decided intuitively to take my Saxon/Viking memory-abilia at the last moment. I had finally realised consciously that why I felt so at home on Knap Hill was because it had been home once before! I had lived there. This accounted for the fact that even from my first days crop circling I knew my way around perfectly, all the highways and byways, nooks and crannies.
I had pinpointed this to 592AD when there was a massive battle at Adam’s Grave. It was between the Celts and the Saxons. In 577AD at the battle of Dyrham the Saxons had beaten the Celts and seized control of Swindon, Bath, Cirencester and Gloucester. The blonde Saxons had been pushing into Wessex both down the Ridgeway and up from Portsmouth, so named after Port and his two sons who settled there. The linguistic name Wessex – West Saxons dates from this time. The Saxons were horse warriors whom Tolkien immortalised as the Riders of Rôhan in his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is white horse country and the Saxons freely used this motif although it dates back to the Iron Age. The chalk white horses still bear mute testament to this territorial image, for if you see the white horse you know who is in charge of that area. The modern day Harley riding bikers that frequent the Red Lion are just keeping up the tradition!
It all suddenly made sense, in 1987 when I moved back from Germany after working for the armed forces, I called my house Cwichelm. Now this is interesting as my present house is called The Vikings as was the one immediately preceding Cwichelm. The iron wall sculpture that I designed and fashioned with the help of a friend is of a wave horse based on the Lindeholm brooch. I had even named my father’s sailing boat Yþhengest which is old Anglo-Saxon English for wave horse! My memory is of being born on the Rhine near modern day Koblenz in the vicinity of the Lorelei and then settling in Wiltshire after being forced to migrate due to bad weather and lack of food. My subconscious had picked the name Cwichelm to mark this. Cwichelm was a local king in Wiltshire around 600AD to 620AD. Tolkien had taken the name Eómer directly from the Anglo-Saxon chronicles for his twin heroes of Rôhan. Eómer he used directly but he created a blonde sister called Eówyn! Eówyn was my first and foremost favourite ever since I first read of her description in Lord of the Rings back in 1974.
Cealwin was the king at the time of the 592AD battle and had his royal hall built on Adam’s Grave, you can see the earthworks quite easily. A giant wooden palisade gate crossed the road just before the Knap Hill car park as you come up the road from Alton Barnes. It controlled access into the Pewsey vale. I can now remember all this. The Celts gathered sufficient numbers and came hurtling over Milk Hill from the direction of West Kennet long barrow in a surprise attack. The massive six symmetry crop glyph really highlighted that everything just goes around in one big circle and of course as we know the energies heighten emotions. I was in the shield wall that day minus my helmet and received a spear thrust to my left eye. It hit just above on the eye brow but the width of the blade split my eye. I was born with a brown fleck in my left iris which marks the wound. A mysterious scar appeared above it when I reached 40 and is still visible today. It takes the form of a lightening strike mark and it was only whilst shaving in Norway that February I noticed that it lined up with the fleck. My left eye is also slightly loose and makes a noise when rubbed, unlike my right eye which is perfectly normal.
The good news was that I didn’t die! I survived the battle even though we lost and had to retreat. It was the ministering of a blonde Valkyrie Saxon lady that nursed me back to health. Thus began my subconscious link with blonde ladies! I had found the origin of the Rosie Andersen effect, her magnificent blonde hair and feminine fragility combined with a warrior’s spirit eloquently summed up everything Tolkien had imagined in framing his warrior princess Eówyn; Rosie was indeed the living embodiment of Eówyn! It would be another year and another amazing set of coincidences before I realised that fact, but at least I had found the root cause of it.
Having discovered all of this prompted me to take my memory-abilia back to Knap Hill that July. It was to be a pilgrimage of recognition and an acknowledgement to the crop circle makers that had made me aware of past life memory. For I saw human beings now as memory machines having a depth of character that threaded through time making us truly multidimensional beings instead of 2D physical cut outs that we have been made to believe we are. I was also totally aware of the folly of war for I had been a Celt before becoming a Saxon and a Saxon before becoming a Viking. Each time I had fought against my own people from the previous life – duh!!! Now how stupid was that!!! We are all one, part of the whole, indivisible and united. It is merely the duality of physical reality that makes us think we are separate from each other.
I was also intuitively aware that I needed to get to the bottom of David’s case from the previous year. Having healed myself – Physician heal thy self – I felt now felt confident enough to help others.
Excerpt from my book “Discovering Billy the Kid”
Venerable Æþelburg of Lyminge, Queen and Abbess
Church of Saint Mary and Saint Ethelburga, Lyminge, Kent
Today in the Orthodox Church we commemorate the daughter of Saint Æþelberht King of Kent and Saint Berhte his queen. When her brother Éadbald ascended to the Kentish throne on their father’s blessed repose, Éadbald arranged Æþelburg’s marriage to the still-heathen Northumbrian king Éadwine, himself later glorified as a saint. The marriage was – with some reluctance – blessed by Pope Boniface, and evidently it was much to the mind of Æþelburg herself as well as her brother. The young woman was both politically-astute, knowing the marriage to be advantageous to Éadwine and to her folk. The inducement of Éadwine’s handsome figure seems not to have been lost on Æþelburg’s eye, either. Her correspondence with Pope Boniface indicates an acknowledgement of her physical attraction to Éadwine, but also exhortations to bend her powers to her husband’s conversion.
Their early marriage was troubled both by political intrigue and by infirmity. In order to marry Æþelburg, Éadwine had had to put aside his Mercian mistress, which caused some bad feelings between him and Penda. Also several months after their marriage, the king of Wessex, Cwichelm (ally of Penda), fearing the power of Northumbria and her new alliance with Kent, attempted to assassinate Éadwine. Cwichelm’s herald, Éomer, feigning to stretch forth his hand in friendship, instead drew his dagger when Éadwine approached and tried to run him through with it. Éadwine’s faithful þegn Lilla’s eye caught the wicked flash of the blade, however, and he threw himself bodily between Éomer and his king. Lilla was killed on the spot by the fearsome thrust; and Éomer’s baneful blade went straight through his body and into Éadwine’s. The king’s life was spared by his faithful retainer’s self-sacrifice, but he was still badly wounded. The others of the king’s household managed to hold and slay Éomer before the wretch could flee, but not before another of the king’s men, Forðhere, lost his life to Cwichelm’s hired killer.
The heavily-pregnant Æþelburg, witnessing this gruesome sight, went into labour. Both mother and child were in grave danger throughout. Through the prayers of her chaplain Saint Paulinus, she gave birth to her and Éadwine’s daughter, Éanflæd, that same night – and both lived. Éadwine, who along with his wife and daughter lived through that terrible night, sustained by the grace of God. On account of this, Éanflæd and twelve others in Éadwine’s household and retinue were baptised by Saint Paulinus.
The king himself, however, was moved to wrath, and desired to punish Cwichelm for his underhanded treachery. When he had recovered from his wounds, he promised to Paulinus that he would convert to Christianity himself if he was given victory over Cwichelm in battle. As soon as he was able, Éadwine marched south with his here against the West Saxons, whose much larger army he met at the Battle of Win Hill and Lose Hill. The smaller Northumbrian army won, reputedly, because they had the high ground, and were able to roll boulders from the top of the hill onto the ranks of the West Saxons. After this battle (and after some hemming and dithering which seems to have been typical of Éadwine’s personality), Éadwine (eventually) held to his word and was baptised by Saint Paulinus.
Éadwine was eventually killed by Penda and Cadwallon ap Cadfan at the Battle of Hatfield, after which Northumbria’s power was broken and divided. His widowed queen-consort Æþelburg fled south once again by sea, Paulinus going with her, and taking with them her children Wuscfrea and Éanflæd and her step-grandchild Yffe. The boys Wuscfrea and Yffe she sent into the realm of Dagobert in Francia out of fear of their ill-treatment at her brother Éadbald’s hands, but they died of illness soon after their arrival.
Her beloved husband dead and his realm in tatters, Æþelburg herself soon quit the world and took the wimple in her home country of Kent. She found an old disused Roman villa near Folkestone, and used the foundations to build a Benedictine house for women at Lyminge, where she passed the rest of her days in peace. Holy Mother Æþelburg, pray to Christ our God to save us!
Born under the Sign of the White Horse
The Folkestone White Horse is a white horse hill figure, carved into Cheriton Hill, Folkestone, Kent, South East England. It overlooks the English terminal of the Channel Tunnel and was completed in June 2003.