THE ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE FOR 1053 AND THE KILLING OF RHYS AP RHYDDERCH Andrew Breeze The entry for 1053 in the Worcester version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (D) has this note: 'And it was decided that Rhys, the brother of the Welsh king, should be killed because he did harmful things, and his head was brought to Gloucester on Twelfth Night'.1 The chronicle attributed to Florence of Worcester says more: 'Rhys, brother of Griffith, king of the South Welsh, was on account of his frequent raids put to death by order of King Edward at a place called "Bulendun", and on the vigil of our Lord's Epiphany his head was brought to the king at Gloucester' ? The dead man was Rhys ap Rhydderch, brother of the formidable Gruffydd ap Rhydderch (d. 1055).3 Later in 1053 Gruffydd attacked Westbury-on-Sevem, eight miles west-south-west of Gloucester (SO 7113), and killed many of the English garrison there presumably in reprisal for his brother's death.4 Where was 'Bulendun'? The ending -dun shows it was surely a hill, like Ashdown or Snowdon; it must have been somewhere on the Welsh border where Edward's men could operate; and would have been not far from Gloucester, in an area where Rhys was known to be active. The one place known to this writer which fulfils these conditions is Bullen's Bank (SO 2741), three miles east of the Roman camp at Clyro, Radnorshire. Bullen's Bank, a rounded hill rising to 1150 feet, dominates the pass where the old road from Clyro and Hay crosses into Golden Valley. The Bank is now in Herefordshire, but became part of England only with Henry VIII's Acts of Union. Between the late eleventh century and the sixteenth it was in the lordship of Clifford. Before that it was a war zone, as the following shows. In 1052 Gruffudd ap Llywelyn's army defeated a combined English- Norman force near Leominster. This shifted the border between England and Wales to the east: in the Hereford region it now ran from Brampton Bryan on the Teme to Willersley on the Wye (SO 3147), four miles north-east of Bullen's Bank. English villages west of this line were abandoned. As for territory south of the Wye, this became a devastated no man's land, so that Domesday Book records few villages paying rent to the Confessor there. Gruffudd could move through this region with ease, and on 24 October 1055 was able to plunder and bum Hereford itself. A counter-attack by Harold Godwine advanced only to a point a few miles west of Golden Valley, after which Harold came to terms with Gruffudd. The negotiations were carried