|King of Sussex|
Ælle's name is visible in this line from the Parker manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, written c. 890
|Reign||c. 477 – c. 514|
Ælle (also Aelle or Ella) (pronounced /'ælə/) is recorded in early sources as the first king of the South Saxons, reigning in what is now called Sussex, England, from 477 to perhaps as late as 514. A king is a male Monarch, or a Head of state, who may or may not depending on the style of government of a nation exercise monarchal powers over a territory usually The Kingdom of Sussex, ( Suth Seaxe, ie the South Saxons was one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms the boundaries of which coincided in general with those of the earlier kingdom Sussex is a historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland The information about him is so limited that it cannot be said with certainty that Ælle existed.
Ælle and three of his sons are reported to have arrived from the continent near what is now Selsey Bill—the exact location is under the sea, and is probably a sandbank currently known as the Owers—and fought with the Britons. Selsey Bill is a headland into the English Channel on the south coast of England in the county of West Sussex. A victory in 491 at present day Pevensey is said to have ended with the Saxons slaughtering their opponents to the last man. Pevensey is a Village and Civil parish in the Wealden district of East Sussex, England. Although the details of these traditions cannot be verified, evidence from the place names of Sussex does make it clear that it was an area with extensive and early settlement by the Saxons, supporting the idea that this was one of their early conquests.
Ælle was the first king recorded by the eighth century chronicler Bede to have held "imperium", or overlordship, over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Bede (ˈbiːd (also Saint Bede, the Venerable Bede, or (from Latin Beda (beda (c Imperium in a broad sense translates as power. In Ancient Rome the concept applied to People, and meant something like "power For their language see Anglo-Saxon language. Anglo-Saxon is the term usually used to describe the invading Tribes in the south  In the late ninth-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (around four hundred years after his time) Ælle is recorded as being the first bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler", though there is no evidence that this was a contemporary title. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of Annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. Bretwalda, also Brytenwalda, Bretenanwealda, is an Anglo-Saxon term the first record of which comes from the late ninth century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Ælle's death is not recorded, and it is not known who succeeded him as king of the South Saxons.
Ælle, if he existed, lived in the middle of the least-documented period in English history of the last two millennia. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland  By the early fifth century Britain had been Roman for over three hundred and fifty years. Roman Britain refers to those parts of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire between AD 43 and 410 The most troublesome enemies of Roman Britain were the Picts of central and northern Scotland, and the Gaels known as Scoti, who were raiders from Ireland. The Picts were a Confederation of tribes in what was later to become eastern and northern Scotland from Roman times until the 10th century Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. Scoti or Scotti ( Old Irish Scot, modern Scottish Gaelic Sgaothaich) was the generic name given by the Romans to the Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world Also vexatious were the Saxons, the name Roman writers gave to the peoples who lived in the northern part of what is now Germany and the southern part of the Jutland peninsula. The Saxons or Saxon people were a Confederation of Old Germanic tribes. This article is about the region of Denmark. For the World War I naval battle see Battle of Jutland. Saxon raids on the southern and eastern shores of England had been sufficiently alarming by the late third century for the Romans to build the Saxon Shore forts, and subsequently to establish the role of the Count of the Saxon Shore to command the defence against these incursions. The Saxon Shore Forts is the collective name given to a system of Forts ( Castra) built along the east and south-east coast of what is now England The Count of the Saxon Shore or comes litoris Saxonici was the head of the " Saxon Shore " military command of the later Roman Empire. Roman control of Britain finally ended in the early part of the fifth century; the date usually given as marking the end of Roman Britain is 410, when the Emperor Honorius sent letters to the British, urging them to look to their own defence. Flavius Honorius ( September 9, 384 &ndash August 15, 423) was Roman Emperor (393- 395 and then Western Roman Emperor Britain had been repeatedly stripped of troops to support usurpers' claims to the Roman empire, and after 410 the Roman armies never returned. 
Sources for events after this date are extremely scarce, but a tradition, reported as early as the mid sixth century by a British priest named Gildas, records that the British sent for help against the barbarians to Aetius, a Roman consul, probably in the late 440s. Saint Gildas (c 494 or 516 – c 570 was one of the best-documented figures of the Christian church in the British Isles during the sixth century Aëtius is also the name of several other persons Flavius Aëtius or simply Aëtius, (c Consul (abbrev cos; Latin plural consules) was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire No help came. Subsequently (and Gildas's information here is supplemented by other, later sources, such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle), a British leader named Vortigern is supposed to have invited continental mercenaries to help fight the Picts who were attacking from the north. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of Annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. Vortigern (ˈvɔrtɨɡɝːn also spelled Vortiger and Vortigen and in Welsh Gwrtheyrn was a 5th century warlord in Britain, a leading ruler among The leaders, whose names are recorded as Hengest and Horsa, rebelled, and a long period of warfare ensued. Horsa, according to tradition was a fifth century warrior and brother of Hengest who took part in the invasion and conquest of Britain from its native The invaders—Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians—gained control of parts of England, but lost a major battle at Mons Badonicus (the location of which is not known). The Angles is a modern English word for a Germanic-speaking people who took their name from the cultural ancestral region of Angeln, a modern district located in The Saxons or Saxon people were a Confederation of Old Germanic tribes. The Jutes, Iuti, or Iutae were a Germanic people who according to Bede were one of the three most powerful Germanic peoples of the time The Frisians are an ethnic group of Germanic people living in coastal parts of The Netherlands and Germany. In the Battle of Mons Badonicus ( English Mount Badon, Welsh Mynydd Baddon) Romano-British Celts defeated Some authors have speculated that Ælle may have led the Saxon forces at this battle, while others reject the idea out of hand. 
The British thus gained a respite, and peace lasted at least until the time Gildas was writing: that is, for perhaps forty or fifty years, from around the end of the fifth century until midway through the sixth. Saint Gildas (c 494 or 516 – c 570 was one of the best-documented figures of the Christian church in the British Isles during the sixth century  Shortly after Gildas's time the Anglo-Saxon advance was resumed, and by the late sixth century nearly all of southern England was under the control of the continental invaders. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland 
There are two early sources that mention Ælle by name. The earliest is The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a history of the English church written in 731 by Bede, an English monk. The Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (in English: Ecclesiastical History of the English People) is a work in Latin by the Bede (ˈbiːd (also Saint Bede, the Venerable Bede, or (from Latin Beda (beda (c Bede mentions Ælle as one of the Anglo-Saxon kings who exercised what he calls "imperium" over "all the provinces south of the river Humber"; "imperium" is usually translated as "overlordship". The Humber is a large tidal Estuary on the east coast of northern England Bede gives a list of seven kings who held "imperium", and Ælle is the first of them. The other information Bede gives is that Ælle was not a Christian—Bede mentions a later king as "the first to enter the kingdom of heaven". 
The second source is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a collection of annals assembled in the Kingdom of Wessex in c. West Saxon redirects here For other meanings of Wessex or West Saxon see Wessex (disambiguation. 890, during the reign of Alfred the Great. Alfred the Great (also Ælfred from the Old English Ælfrēd ˈælfreːd (c The Chronicle has three entries for Ælle, from 477 to 491, as follows:
The Chronicle was put together about four hundred years after these events. It is known that the annalists used material from earlier chronicles, as well as from oral sources such as sagas, but there is no way to tell where these lines came from.  It should also be noted that the terms 'British' and 'Welsh' were used interchangeably, as 'Welsh' is the Saxon word meaning 'foreigner', and was applied to all the native Romano-British of the era. 
Three of the places named can be identified. "Cymen's Shore" ("Cymenes ora" in the original) now lies under the sea, but from later references it is clear it lay south of what is now Selsey Bill, just east of the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight is an English Island and county in the English Channel between three and five miles (8 km from the south coast of the Sandbanks—the Middle and Outer Owers—now mark the spot.  The wood called "Andredes leag" is the Weald, which at that time was a forest extending from north-west Hampshire all through northern Sussex; and "Andredes cester" is known to be the Saxon Shore fort, built by the Romans, at Pevensey, just outside the town. The Weald (wɪəld is the name given to a physiographic area in south-east England situated between the parallel Chalk Escarpments of the North Wildlife Hampshire has wildlife typical of the island of Great Britain 
The Chronicle mentions Ælle once more under the year 827, where he is listed as the first of the eight "bretwaldas", or "Britain-rulers". Bretwalda, also Brytenwalda, Bretenanwealda, is an Anglo-Saxon term the first record of which comes from the late ninth century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The list consists of Bede's original seven, plus Egbert of Wessex. Egbert (also spelt Ecgberht) (died 839 was King of Wessex from 802 until 839  There has been much scholarly debate over just what it meant to be a "bretwalda", and the extent of Ælle's actual power in southern England is an open question.  It is also noteworthy that there is a long gap between Ælle and the second king on Bede's list, Ceawlin of Wessex, whose reign began in the late sixth century; this may indicate a period in which Anglo-Saxon dominance was interrupted in some way. Ceawlin (also spelled "Ceaulin" or "Caelin" (died c 
Earlier sources than Bede exist which mention the South Saxons, though they do not name Ælle. The earliest reference is still quite late, however, at about 692: a charter of King Nothelm's, which styles him "King of the South Saxons". Noðhelm, or Nunna for short was King of Sussex, apparently reigning jointly with Watt, Osric, and Æðelstan.  Charters are documents which granted land to followers or to churchmen, and which would be witnessed by the kings who had power to grant the land. They are one of the key documentary sources for Anglo-Saxon history, but no original charters survive from earlier than the end of the seventh century. 
There are other early writers whose works can shed light on Ælle's time, though they do not mention either him or his kingdom. Gildas's description of the state of England in his time is useful for understanding the ebb and flow of the Anglo-Saxon incursions. Procopius, a Byzantine historian, writing not long after Gildas, adds to the meagre sources on population movement by including a chapter on England in one of his works. Procopius of Caesarea ( Προκόπιος ο Καισαρεύς, c He records that the peoples of Britain—he names the English, the British, and the Frisians—were so numerous that they were migrating to the kingdom of the Franks in great numbers every year.  Although this is probably a reference to Britons emigrating to Armorica to escape the Anglo-Saxons. Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany Peninsula and the territory between the They subsequently gave their name to the area they settled as Brittany, or Bretagne. Brittany (Breizh bʁejs Bretagne; Gallo: Bertaèyn) is a former independent Celtic kingdom and Duchy, now incorporated into
The early dates given in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the colonization of Sussex are supported by an analysis of the place names of the region. The strongest evidence comes from place names that end in "-ing", such as Worthing and Angmering. Worthing (ˈwɜrðɪŋ is a large seaside town and a local government borough in West Sussex, England Angmering is a large Village and Civil parish between Littlehampton and Worthing in West Sussex, England. These are known to derive from an earlier form ending in "-ingas". "Hastings" for example, derives from "Hæstingas" which means "the followers or dependents of a person named Hæsta". Hastings is a town on the coast of East Sussex in England; it is also the administrative centre for the Borough of the same name 
From west of Selsey Bill to east of Pevensey can be found the densest concentration of these names anywhere in Britain. There are a total of about forty-five place names in Sussex of this form, and the personal names from which these are derived appear in many cases to have gone out of current use before the seventh century, when written records appear again. Hence it is generally accepted that these place names are evidence of the establishment of Saxon communities with stable populations as early as the fifth and sixth centuries. For their language see Anglo-Saxon language. Anglo-Saxon is the term usually used to describe the invading Tribes in the south  In addition, Sussex has unusually few place names of British origin. This does not necessarily mean that the Saxons killed or drove out almost all of the native population, despite the slaughter of the Britons reported in the Chronicle entry for 491; however, it does imply that the invasion was on a scale that left little space for the British. 
These lines of reasoning cannot prove the dates given in the Chronicle, much less the existence of Ælle himself, but they do support the idea of an early conquest and the establishment of a settled kingdom. 
If the dates given by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle are accurate to within half a century, then Ælle's reign lies in the middle of the Anglo-Saxon expansion, and prior to the final conquest of the Britons. It also seems consistent with the dates given to assume that Ælle's battles predate Mons Badonicus. This in turn would explain the long gap, of fifty or more years, in the succession of the "bretwaldas": if the peace gained by the Britons did indeed hold till the second half of the sixth century, it is not to be expected that an Anglo-Saxon leader should have anything resembling overlordship of England during that time. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland The idea of a pause in the Anglo-Saxon advance is also supported by the account in Procopius of sixth century migration from Britain to the kingdom of the Franks. The Franks or Frankish people (Franci or gens Francorum) were West Germanic tribes first identified in the 3rd century as an Ethnic group  Procopius's account is consistent with what is known to be a contemporary colonization of Armorica (now Brittany, in France); the settlers appear to have been at least partly from Dumnonia (modern Cornwall), and the area acquired regions known as Dumnonée and Cornouaille. Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany Peninsula and the territory between the Brittany (Breizh bʁejs Bretagne; Gallo: Bertaèyn) is a former independent Celtic kingdom and Duchy, now incorporated into This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. For the Brythonic colony of the same name in Brittany see Domnonée Dumnonia, sometimes referred to as Damnolia, was a Brythonic Cornwall ( Kernow ˈkɛɹnɔʊ is the most southwesterly county of England, on the Peninsula that lies to the west of the River Tamar  It seems likely that something at that time was interrupting the general flow of the Anglo-Saxons from the continent to Britain. 
The dates for Ælle's battles are also reasonably consistent with what is known of events in the kingdom of the Franks at that time. Clovis I united the Franks into a single kingdom during the 480s and afterwards, and the Franks' ability to exercise power along the southern coast of the English channel may have diverted Saxon adventurers to England rather than the continent. Clovis I (c 466 &ndash 27 November 511) was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler 
It is possible, therefore, that a historical king named Ælle existed, who arrived from the continent in the late fifth century, and who conquered much of what is now Sussex. He may have been a prominent war chief with a leadership role in a federation of Anglo-Saxon groups fighting for territory in Britain at that time. This may be the origin of the reputation that led Bede to list him as holding overlordship over southern Britain.  The battles listed in the Chronicle are compatible with a conquest of Sussex from west to east, against British resistance stiff enough to last fourteen years.  His area of military control may have extended as far as Hampshire and north to the upper Thames valley, but it certainly did not extend across all of England south of the Humber, as Bede asserts. Wildlife Hampshire has wildlife typical of the island of Great Britain The Thames ( is a major River flowing through southern England. 
Ælle's death is not recorded by the Chronicle, which gives no information about him, or his sons, or the South Saxons until 675, when the South Saxon king Æthelwalh was baptized. Æthelwealh ( ''fl'' c 660-685 (also written Aedilualch, Aethelwalch, Aþelwold, Æðelwold, Æþelwald, or Ethelwalch