Regni / Regnenses Celtic Tribe

The Regnenses tribe inhabited East Sussex, West Sussex and parts of Surrey and Hampshire. They were seemingly an amalgamation of Belgic peoples gathered together under the client king Cogidubnus by the Romans. The Kingdom did not exist prior to Roman rule.

The Realm of the Regnenses according to Ptolemy

“Below the Atrebati and the Canti are the Regni and the town Noeomagus 19*45 53°05.” Above quote from the Geographia of Ptolemy (II.ii)

Another passage in Ptolemy Book II Chapter 2 gives the ancient name of one other geographical feature within the territories of the Regnenses tribe:

  • Trisantona Fluvius (River Arun) Flows southwards through the middle of the tribal territories and emptied into the sea at Littlehampton just east of Chichester.

The Civitas Regnorum The Principal Tribal Centre

Noviomagvs Regnorvm (Chichester, West Sussex)

The civitas capital of the Regni and the probable seat of king Cogidubnus, who was styled Rex Britannorum ‘King of Britain’, also Legatus Augusti ‘legate of the emperor’.

Other Places of Note

  • Selsey (West Sussex) – A prehistoric site, whose position as chief trading centre was taken over by Chichester. The settlement declined during the Roman period, and is now washed away by the sea.
  • Iping (West Sussex) – Minor settlement and posting station on the road between Noviomagus and Calleva Atrebatum (Silchester).
  • Hardham (West Suffolk) – Minor settlement and posting station on Stane Street.
  • Alfoldean (West Sussex) – Posting station and minor settlement on Stane Street.
  • Ewell (Surrey) – Major settlement associated with the springs of the Hogsmill River.
  • Hassocks (West Sussex) – A large Roman cemetary has been found here, but no settlement has yet been identified.
  • Anderitvm (Pevensey, East Sussex) – Saxon Shore Fort, apparently built on a virgin site, not preceeded by any civil occupation phase.
  • Fishbourne (West Sussex) – Palatial Romano-British villa dating to the first century AD. Probable home of the client king Cogidubnus.


The most extensive industry in the canton were the iron workings of the Weald of Sussex. Other Iron workings near the south coast came under the jurisdiction of the Cantiaci in Kent. A brick and tile factory existed at Ashtead in Surrey. A number of villas appeared on the southern coast in the second century, with dependant farms apparently sited on the downs inland. Several other villa groups have been noted along the North Downs Trackway, and a third group centred on Pulborough and Hardham includes the very large villa estates of Bignor and Borough Farm. Rural temples have been identified at Farley Heath in Surrey, and in Sussex at Chanctonbury Ring and Lancing Down.

Cogidumnus King of the Regnenses of West Sussex, became a client king of Rome, taking the name Tiberius Claudius Cogidumnus. Possibly a relation of the Atrebatean noble Verica, who assisted Claudius during the invasion of 43AD and feasibly recommended him to Rome as his heir.

References for The Regnenses

  • Peoples of Roman Britain : The Regni by Barry Cunliffe (Duckworth, 1973);
  • The Geography of Claudius Ptolemaeus, trans. by E.L. Stevenson (Dover, New York, 1991);
  • Atlas of Great Britain by the Ordnance Survey (Country Life, 1982);
  • Historical Map and Guide: Roman Britain by the OS (4th Ed., 1990);