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Cerdic, House of

Cerdic, House of. By the late 9th cent., when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was compiled, Cerdic was regarded as the common ancestor of Alfred and all previous kings of the West Saxons; however, the reality behind these claims is hard to ascertain. The arrival of Cerdic and his son Cynric is recorded in the Chronicle annal for 495, but the entries concerning them are riddled with so many inconsistencies that they cannot be taken as viable historical accounts. Not the least of the problems is that Cerdic is not in origin a Germanic name but Brittonic and may not have been borrowed into Old English until the period c.550–650. The last king who could claim to be a direct descendant in the male line from Cerdic was Edward the Confessor, but Henry I by marrying a great-niece of Edward ensured that subsequent rulers could continue to retain him as an ancestor.

Barbara Yorke

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