CEAWLIN (d. 593), king of the West Saxons, first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the date 556 as fighting with his father Cynric against the Britons at the battle of Beranbyrig or Barbury Hill. Becoming king in 560, he began a career of conquest. Silchester was taken, and moving eastwards Ceawlin and his brother Cutha defeated the forces of Æthelberht, king of Kent, at the battle of Wibbandun in 568. In 577 he led the West Saxons from Winchester towards the Severn valley; gained an important victory over some British kings at Deorham, and added the district round Gloucester, Bath and Cirencester to his kingdom. A further advance was begun in 583. Uriconium, a town near the Wrekin, and Pengwyrn, the modern Shrewsbury, were destroyed; but soon Ceawlin was defeated by the Britons at Fethanleag or Faddiley, near Nantwich, and his progress was effectually checked. Intestine strife among the West Saxons followed. In 591 Ceawlin lost the western part of his kingdom, and in 592 Was defeated by his nephew, Ceolric, at Wanborough, and driven from Wessex. He was killed in 593, possibly in an attempt to regain his kingdom. Ceawlin is included in the Chronicle among the Bretwaldas.
See Two of the Saxon Chronicles, ed. by C. Plummer (Oxford, 1892); Dictionary of National Biography, vol. ix (London, 1887); E. Guest, Origines Celticae, vol. ii. (London, 1883).