King Arthur’s 12th Battle – Badon Hill
Nennius reords that “The twelfth was the most severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the Hill of Badon. In this engagement, 940 fell by his hand alone, no one but the Lord offering him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons were sucessful. For no strength can avail against the will of the Almighty”
The Battle of Badon Hill was King Arthur’s greatest triumph over the Saxons. This almost total defeat of the Saxon invaders brought about an extended period of peace to Britain. Nennius, writing some two centuries later, does identify the British leader as Arthur, as do the Annales Cambriae (The Annals of Wales), written in the 900s.
Possible sites for the battle that have been put forward are
Liddington Castle is a near the town of Badbury (7 miles north of Marlborough, Wilts), and the castle used to be known as Badbury Castle. It is possible that the invading Saxons might have used the network of Roman roads in the area to attack the large population of British living in the Somerset area. Ant Battle of Badon is unlikely to have been any further north than Liddington because there were not enough British and Saxon forces further north for one battle to have halted the entire Saxon invasion.
Badbury Rings farther south, in Dorset. The hill also shows some small-scale fortification, but there is no evidence of large Saxon forces in the area. Dorset was a good distance from the major Saxon settlements and there is really little historical evidence for it.
Badbury Rings may have been first inhabited about 3500 BC
Bath (Little Solsbury Hill). The most popular place to locate the Battle of Badon Hill is the modern city of Bath. Nennius, writing in the 800s, seems to say in his Historia Brittonum that Bath and Badon are the same place.
The Romans called the city Aquae Sulis–the waters of Sul–but it is possible that the post-Romans knew it as Badon. The syllable th in early British was indicated by a dd, just as today Gwynedd is pronouced Gwyneth. So Badon may have been pronouced Bathon. Very difficult to know whether this sort of logic points to the truth, or is grasping at straws.The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions the capture of Bath in 577, under the name Baðanceaster. The city did lie in a desirable strategic position and would have been a target of the Saxons. The place held religious significance for the British as well. The battle is referred to as that of Badon Hill and it has been suggested that Mount Badon is one of the hills on the outskirts of Bath, with Little Solsbury Hill is the most popular suggestion.
Bowden Hill, south of the Scottish town of Linlithgow, has a claim to be the battle site of Badon Hill, a claim which relies mostly on its name and is favoured as the battlesite among those who believe that Arthur was a northen British king.