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Beyond Reality

At the Edge / Bob Trubshaw /

Boudica's last battle - the possibilities compared

Introduction by Bob Trubshaw

Generations of schoolkids have been brought up on the fateful battle of Boadicea against the Roman army. Modern historians would prefer to spell her name Boudica - which means 'Victoria' in British Celtic languages - but they have little evidence to offer for the site of the fateful encounter. Nevertheless, a number of suggestions have been put forward. At the beginning of this year, as a result of helpful 'intervention' by Philip Heselton, I was approached by Broc Beag who had discovered little-known references to Boudica's last battle being in north Wales. This is mostly nineteenth century antiquarian speculation and much of the 'evidence' relies on regarding bronze age burial mounds and Anglo-Saxon cross shafts as contemporary with the Roman invasion but, nevertheless, suggests that there is a deep-rooted local tradition for Boudica's battle being in this vicinity.

Quite unknown to Broc Beag and myself, a Mercian Mysteries reader, Paul Parry, and a fellow resident of north Wales, Michael Griffiths, had also encountered this antiquarian material and undertaken their own research. Paul's information is summarised after Broc Beag's article.

To help me sort out the confusions and mis-identifications in the nineteenth century sources, I contacted two Mercian Mysteries readers who are resident in north Wales - Tristan Gray-Hulse (editor of Source magazine) and Charles Evans-Gunther (until recently editor of the scholarly Arthurian journal Dragon). Their replies also follow; I apologise if the necessary cross-referencing between articles makes this messy reading.

I have also included brief summaries of the arguments put forward for the battle being at Atherstone or even Kings Cross. At the end of all this no clear favorite emerges; this topic remains as enigmatic as when antiquarians first began to spin their fanciful speculations.

Did Boudica die in Flintshire? | In search of Boudica at The Gop | Boudica and The Gop | Buddug in Flintshire | Boudica - the case for Atherstone and Kings Cross

Originally published in Mercian Mysteries No.25 November 1995.

A discussion of Boudica's rebellion, with quotes from Tacitus, from Encyclopaedia Romana Web site.

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Created April 1996; updated November 2008