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Cadwallon (d. 634), king of Gwynedd. With his ally Penda of Mercia, Cadwallon was responsible for the death of Edwin of Northumbria at the battle of Heathfield in 633 and for those of his successors Osric of Deira and Eanfrith of Bernicia the following year. In 634 he was himself defeated and slain by Eanfrith's brother Oswald at the battle of Heavenfield, near Hexham. Not surprisingly Cadwallon gets a consistently bad press in Bede's Ecclesiastical History, especially for his brutal ravaging within Northumbria. In Welsh poetry he is celebrated as a ‘lion of hosts over the Saxons’ and his hostility to Northumbria is explained as a reaction to previous attacks on north Wales by the deceitful Edwin.

Barbara Yorke