Also called Coel Hen
, meaning "Old Coel," he is the original of "Old King Cole
" of nursery rhyme
fame. Said to have lived at the end of the fourth century. Legend says that Coel, fearing an alliance between the Picts
and the Scots
, led a campaign against the two peoples, hoping to drive them apart. Instead, they banded together. At first isolate and starving, the two peoples devised a plan to secretly attack Coel's stronghold.
"Coel and his men were taken by surprise, overrun and scattered to the winds. It is said that Coel wandered the unknown countryside until he eventually got caught in a bog at Coilsfield (in Tarbolton, Ayrshire) and drowned. Coel was first buried in a mound there before being removed to the church at Coylton. The year was about AD 420. After his death, Coel's Northern Kingdom was divided between two of his sons." (from http://freespace.virgin.net/david.ford2/north.html)
He is often featured in the Welsh genealogies, and is an ancestor of King Arthur.
2. Possibly identified with #1, Coel Godhebog "the Magnificent", Lord of Colchester (Coel Castra--Camp of Coel). Supposedly, his daugher Elen is identified with St.Helen, mother of Constantine the Great and finder of the True Cross.