Chapter 64 Earliest Known Christian in our Family – King Ceawlin
The passion for history in pursuing my ancestry includes a focus in learning the documentation and the extent of Christian experience that was present in my family lines. This report covers the person whom I believe was the very first Christian convert out of my originally pagan ancestry.
In 591, Scottish King Ceawlin received Christian Baptism. He is the earliest member of this ancestry which claimed Christianity, over 1,400 years ago. Pope Gregory had sent a missionary circa 590, named Father Columba. King Ceawlin is the 18th great grandfather of the 14th great grand uncle of the Edward Southworth, the first husband of my 7th great grandmother, Alice Carpenter. My descending from Alice was through her second husband, Plymouth Colony Government William Bradford.
Not only was my 7th great grandfather William Bradford a leader of the early Pilgrims to the New World in 1620, but he was the principal composer of the Mayflower Compact, that revolutionary document of self-governance agreed upon by the 102 passengers on the Mayflower prior to their stepping onto their new land. His Christian leadership of the Pilgrims became legendary and was truly a Christian witness
Caledonia (pronounced kal ih DOH nee uh) is the ancient Roman name for northern Scotland. It later became a poetic name for all Scotland. The Roman general Agricola invaded Caledonia in A.D. 83. The first Caledonians were the Picts. But the Caledonians of early English history were Picts and Scots. Their raids forced the Britons to seek the help of the Angles and the Saxons.
Father Columba’s ministry was to the Picts (pronounced pihkts) were an ancient people of northern Scotland. The Picts were given this name by the Romans, because they painted or tattooed their skin. The Latin word for painter is pictor. The first historical reference to the Picts occurs in a speech made by a Roman orator in A.D. 297. The Pictish tribes fought the Romans for many years. The Romans built two long walls to keep the Picts out of the province of Britain. Later, the Picts fought the Teutonic conquerors of Britain, the Angles and Saxons. They disappeared as a people about A.D. 900.
In 593, there was a great slaughter of Britons at Wanborough. King Ceawlin was driven from his Kingdom. This was the year he died, at the young age of 46.
However, King Ceawlin is revered in our minds as a fellow Christian in our family lines. Praise be to God!