Father – Unknown
Mother – Unknown
Spouse – Sevira, Rowena
Children – by Sevira- Vortimer, Catigern
Vortigern became a leader of the Britons after taking the position from Constans, young son of Constantine II. He may have murdered Constans. Constans’ younger brothers, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon were taken to Brittany by a relative. It is believed that Vortigern was a title rather than his actual name. He may have been named Vitalinus before taking the title.
Battle of Guoloph (Nether Wallop)
Aurelius Ambrosius returned to Britain and fought Vortigern for control of Briton. It is thought that Ambrosius won this battle.
The Franks invaded Gaul and Ambrosius was called upon to help defend Gaul. He left Britain and Vortigern regained control.
Vortigern was facing attacks on the northern border from Picts and Scots. He called for assistance from the Jutish chieftans Hengist and Horsa to help him fight off the invaders.
Hengist and Horsa landed at Wippidsfleet (Ebbsfleet) in Kent. They brought with them a number of armed Angles and Saxons.
Hengist and Horsa joined forces with King Vortigern and supported him fighting the Picts in the north.
King Vortigern married Hengist’s daughter, Rowena.
King Vortigern gave Hengist and Horsa the Isle of Thanet.
Vortigern’s son, Vortimer, was unhappy about his father’s marriage and the fact that he had given land to the Saxons, and led a rebellion against him. The rebellion ended when Vortimer was killed. Some sources claim that Vortimer was poisoned by his step-mother, Rowena.
Hengist and Horsa were dissatisfied with the land they controlled and wanted to expand their territory.
Battle of Aegaelsthrep (Aylesford)
Horsa was killed during this battle with King Vortigern. Vortigern’s son, Catigern was also killed in the fighting. Hengist, now in control of Kent, formed the first Saxon kingdom in the land.
Peace of Salisbury/Treachery of the Long Knives
After the death of his brother, Hengist called for peace and summoned Celtic leaders to Salisbury Plain for talks. However, when they arrived the Saxons massacred the Celts.
Vortigern either left Kent after the Battle of Aegaelsthrep (Aylesford) or he escaped the massacre at Salisbury. Either way it is believed that he fled to Wales. He then disappears from the records, possibly due to his death.
Published Feb 17, 2020 @ 4:30 pm – Updated – Apr 9, 2020 @ 10:27 am
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Vortigern Leader of the Britons d c455. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/vortigern-leader-of-the-britons. Last accessed [date]