The Legend of Sabrina
The legend of Sabrina comes from Welsh tales of the twelfth century. It tells of how, on the death of Brutus of Troy, legendary second founder of Britian, his lands were divided into three parts, one part for each of his sons. His eldest son, Locrine, took the part which is now England; the second son, Camber, took the part which is now Wales; and the youngest, Albanact, took what is now Scotland. There was one part left over, as Cornwall was ruled by Brutus' friend Corineus.
Britain was then invaded by the Huns, under their chief, 'Humber'. Locrine led the fight against the invader, and Humber was beaten, and drowned in the river which is now named after him.
The Hunnish princess Estrildis was captured after the battle, and Locrine fell in love with her. However, as Locrine was already engaged to Guendolen, daughter of Corineus, this was scandalous. Corineus threatened Locrine with a battle axe, and forced him to marry his daughter. However, Locrine secretly kept Estrildis in his palace for seven years. Two children were born to Locrine: Guendolen gave birth to a son, Madan; and Estrildis bore him a daughter, Sabre (also called Sabrina in the Romanised form).
When Corineus, ruler of Cornwall, died, Locrine divorced Guendolen and acknowledged Estrildis and her daughter. Guendolen raised a Cornish army against him, and Locrine was killed in battle. She then became ruler of Britain for their son, Madan.
She had both Estrildis and her daughter Sabrina thrown in the river, and ordered that the river be named after Sabrina, so that her husband's infidelity would be remembered forever.
Therefore the river is named the Severn, from 'Sabern', or the river of Sabre.
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Last updated 12th January 1999.
© 1999 Andy Morrall
Last updated 3rd October 1999.
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