Arwald[a] (died 686 CE) was the last Jutish King of the Isle of Wight and last pagan king in Anglo-Saxon England.[2]

Nearly all that is known of him is from Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, which describes the invasion of the Isle of Wight by Caedwalla, a Wessex King, who, with merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the island's inhabitants and replace them with his own followers. Caedwalla had also vowed to give a quarter of the Isle of Wight to St. Wilfrid and the Church.

Arwald was killed in battle, but his two sons escaped to the Great Ytene Forest (now called the New Forest).[3] They were betrayed to Caedwalla and taken to a place where he "was in hiding with his wounds" at Stoneham, near Southampton. Shortly before they were put to the sword they allegedly converted to Christianity by the intervention of Abbot Cynibert of Hreutford,[4] being described by Bede as "the first fruits" of the massacre because of this conversion.

Thus canonised, their names are unknown, but they are called collectively "St. Arwald" after their father.

Arwald's unnamed sister survived, as the wife of the king of Kent. She is a direct ancestor of Alfred the Great.

St. Arwald's Day is 22 April.[5]

Popular cultureEdit

In recent years[when?] a community of pagans on the Isle of Wight have increasingly celebrated the memory of Arwald and have written poems and hymns.[6] Isle of Wight druids hold an annual ceremony at the Longstone near Brighstone. In 2020 this was held as a podcast.[7]

The Quay Arts Centre in Newport exhibited an Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes exhibition which included a sculpture of a mask of Arwald by Nigel George. This is now on permanent display at Newport Roman Villa.[8]


Caedwalla by Frank Cowper (1888) portrays Arwald as the antagonist to the Christian Caedwalla [9]

The Wihtwara Trilogy by Jan Harper Whale presents an opposite, pagan viewpoint.[10]

Arwald's Kingdom; Tales from the Isle of Wight (2018) by Mark Francis is a book of poetry, stories and hiking around the Isle of Wight.[11]


  1. ^ His name may have been "Aruald",[1] "Arwald" or "Atwald" – Bede's script is often difficult to read. PASE has "Arwald"


  1. ^ Yorke, Barbara (1997). Wessex in the Early Middle Ages. London: Routledge. p. 66. ISBN 0-415-16639-X.
  2. ^ "Timeline of Christianity", Shropshire Christian Religion
  3. ^ Monks of Ramsgate. "Arwald". Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 August 2012
  4. ^ Stanton, Richard (1892). A Menology of England and Wales. Burns & Oates.
  5. ^ "April", Latin Saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome
  6. ^ "Wihtwara". Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  7. ^ "Ceremony for King Arwald". 2020. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  8. ^ First name. "Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes at Quay Arts – Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes". Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  9. ^ "Cædwalla". 2016-12-12. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  10. ^ "wihtwara". wihtwara. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  11. ^ jan bayliss (2019-03-29). "Arwald's Kingdom: ~ Tales from the Isle of Wight: Francis, Mark, guys, & some dead: 9781540776266: Books". Retrieved 2021-02-06.


External linksEdit