View Full Version : Racial types of the Northern British.

Sigurd Volsung
Thursday, March 23rd, 2006, 09:56 PM
My knowledge on the races of those who settled in Northern Britain - particularly England and the North-West - is somewhat limited, and I would like to learn more about it.

Having scouted the internet for quite some time, I have not found much of any relevance; all I know is that there were certain Viking communities within the North-West, and the ancient Britons who lived near by.

If anybody has any idea on how to develop my understanding on the matters further I would be most grateful.

Thank you for you time. :)

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006, 09:17 PM
I have scanned in a few pages of relevance from ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND
by F. M. STENTON [Good Old Frank :)]
Second Edition


Apart from the kingdom of \Vessex, which at the time of Alfred's death included all England south of the Thames and Bristol Avon, the country under English rule fell into two great divisions. North of the Tees and west of the Pennines the surviving fragments of the Northumbrian kingdom were ruled in virtual independence by a number of English ealdormen. The most prominent of them was Eadwulf of Bamburgh, whose country extended along the eastern coast from the Tecs to the Firth of Forth. But the early records of the church of Durham1 show other English lords of equal rank in the region between the Pennines and the western sea. An English minster still existed at Heversham at the head of the Kent estuary. It scerns clear that the settled life of this country had not yet been disturbed by the invasions from Ireland and Strathclyde which were to revolutionize the culture and social organization of Cumber-.' land, Westmorland, and Lancashire.1

1 Of which the substance is represented in the 'Historia de Sancto Culhb Sjmtonis Maruichi Opera, i. 208-10.
' On the general condition of north-wralern England circa 900-25 lee Royal Commission en Historical MonamiiOt, \Yiitmoiljad, pp. xlix-li.


... after
the surrender of Nottingham all the people settled in Mercia,
Danes and Englishmen, submitted to King Edward. The
bgii li frontier had at last been carried to the Humber.
In the meantime, unnoticed by any southern writer,
obscure movements of peoples were changing the character
of life in north-western England. In the first years of the
century a Scandinavian colony, which has left many distinctive
place-names, was founded on the Wirral peninsula by Norsemen
from Ireland. Before 915 pirates were visiting the country
between the Pennines and the Irish Sea in sufficient numbers to
dislodgethe local nobles and churchmen. Nothing definite can
he said about the date at which the raiders turned from plunder
to settlement, but on every ground it is probable that the change
began in the first quarter of the tenth century. The ease with
whichcommunication was maintained between York and
Ireland in the next decades suggests very strongly that the
north-west coast of England was in Norse occupation. And a
long time is needed for the evolution of the art-forms cut on the
pre-conquest sculptured stones of Cumberland, Westmorland, and
The effect of this settlement was to introduce into north-
western England a remarkable hybrid culture, in which Norse
and Irish elements are inextricably combined. Their interplay
has long been noticed in the art of this region. Norse and Irish
decorative motives in combination gave rise to new patterns
of design, and individual monuments, of which the most famous
is the cross at Gosforth in south Cumberland, show a strange
association of Christian and Norse imagery. More recently
the study of place-names has emphasized the Irish strain in the
racial complex of the north-west. Irish personal names, often
of an ancient type, are preserved in innumerable local names;
Irish loan-words, though less common, are far from rare, and
many place-names, such as Brigsteer, 'Styr's bridge1, and Gilcambon
'Kamban's ravine', show the Gaelic habit of forming
compounds in which the second element is a definition of the
first.' Evidence of this kind shows the presence of Norse settlers
from Ireland everywhere in the coastal region from south
Lancashire, where they were in touch with the Norse colony

, Ekwall, Scandinavians and Celts in the North-West af England (Lund, 1918).


in Wirral, to the estuary of the Solway. It also shows that
the central hills of Cumberland were theirs and that they
had occupied with the force of a migration Kentdale amd
the country for many miles on either side of the Cumbrian
It is highly probable that the confusion into which their
coming had thrown north-western England was increased
by an invasion of this country from Strathclyde. The whole- plain
round the Solway Firth had formed part of the Northumbrian
kingdom until its destruction by the Danes. An English abbot
of Carlisle is a prominent figure in the legends which gathered
round the flight of the monks of Lindisfarne with St. Cuthbert's
body in 875. On the other hand, fifty years later, Eamont
bridge near Penrith was the point at which King Athelstan
chose to meet the king of Scots and his ally, the king of Strathclyde.
It was a well-established custom for kings to negotiate
with one another on the boundary between their territories
and there is therefore a strong presumption that Athelstan's
kingdom ended at the river Eamont. The presumption is
strengthened by the fact that in the reign of Edward the Confessor,
when for a time the English kingdom had been carried
again to the Solway, the lands between the estuary on the north,
and the Eamont, the lakeland mountains, and the Derwent
on the south, were regarded as lands which had once been
Cumbrian—had belonged, that is, to the Britons of Strathclyde.1
In the absence of direct evidence or early tradition,
the early part of the tenth century, when there can have been
no coherent English government in this country, seems the
most probable time for its annexation by the Britons of the
It is also probable that the annexation was carried out without
opposition from the English rulers who were in power at
Bamburgh. There was a close connexion in this period between
the kings of Strathclyde and the kings of the Scots, and a
common danger from Irish raiders was drawing the kings of
Scots into alliance with the English of northern Northumbria.
Their most formidable enemy was a viking named Raegnald,
who became prominent early in the second decade of the
century. His career is badly recorded, and at many points its

* On this evidence see Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, Westmorland.


chronology is wholly uncertain.' But according to the early
records of the church of Durham he descended on the Northumbrian
coast between 913 and 915, and defeated at Corbridge an
army led by Constantine king of Scots and Ealdred ealdorman
of Bernicia.2 For the next two or three years his movemnents
are obscure, but in 917 he joined forces with a large
viking fleet which had assembled at Waterford, and from that
base he sailed in 918 on a great expedition against the Scots.
A contemporary narrative written in Ulster states that the
Scots were prepared for his invasion, 'so that they met on the
banks of the Tyne in the land of the northern Saxons', and then
describes a battle in which the Scots, successful at first, suffered
heavy loss from Raegnald's own men, held until the last moment
in reserve.3 The Durham tradition of the battle places it, like
Raegnald's earlier victory, at Corbridge, ignores the presence of
the Scottish army, but brings out the interesting fact that there
were local Englishmen of rank fighting on Raegnald's side.4 It
seems clear that R;egnald, like his kinsmen in many earlier
battles, kept the place of slaughter after a day's indecisive
fighting. He certainly remained in Northumbria over the
winter, and in 919 he descended on York, stormed the city, and
established himself there as king.'
His success opened a new field of enterprise to the vikings of
the Irish coast. At the beginning of 919 the Mersey, which
offiered them the easiest entry into the heart of England, was
protected only by the isolated fortress which AEthelfllaed had
built at Runcorn, separated by the deep valley of the Weaver
from her garrisons at Chester and Eddisbury. In the autumn
of that year King Edward took in hand the strengthening of the
threatened frontier; built a new fortress at Thelwall, ten miles
upstream from Runcorn, and repaired the Roman fortifications
at Manchester, within the Northumbrian border. But in
920, in spite of these new defences, Sihtric, Reegnald's cousin,

1 These difficulties have been discussed most recently by A. Campbell, E.H.R, K. 85-91.
1 'Hisloriadt:SznctoC\ithbt;T\a',Syttitoni sAlonaf:/ii Opera, R.S.,i.aoS-g. According
to this authority the battle was followed by a division of the country north of
the Tees among Ranald's followers (F. M. Stenton, 'The Danes in England', P
roc. ftil. Acad. xiii. 204-5). ! Annals of Ulster, ed. W. M. Hcnnessy, pp. 436-7.
' 'Historia de Sanclo Cuthberto', Syiwonis Monacki Qpna,i. 2:0.
Two Englishmen, Esbrid, son of Edred, and Elstan the comes, Esbrid's brother, are said to have
been robusti bellatores on Rfcgnald's side.
* Symeon of Durham, Historia Regam, under gig.


with an army from Dublin, invaded north-western Mercia.1
All that is recorded about the invasion is Sihtric's destruction
of Davenport in Cheshire. The scale and ultimate purpose of
the invasion are unknown, but it was probably in response to
the situation which it had created that in the early summer
King Edward undertook the northern expedition which forms the
climax of his reign. He first moved to Nottingham, built a new
fortress on the south bank of the Trent, and connected it by a
bridge with the Danish works which he had garrisoned two
years before, thus providing a defensible crossing of the river
at the point where the local forces of the midlands could
most readily converge for an advance on Northumbria. He
then planted a fort and garrison at Bakewell in the Peak of
Derbyshire, near a junction of valleys which offered alternative
routes towards the north and north-west. Beyond Bakewell
there are no traces of his progress, but one of the most famous
passages in the whole Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that there
then submitted to him the Scottish king and people, Raignald
of York, and Ealdred of Bamburgh with all the Northumbrians—
English, Danish, Northmen, and others—and the king and
people of Strathclyde.
Each of the rulers named in this list had something definite
to gain from an acknowledgement of Edward's overlordship.
To Ealdrcd of Bamburgh, isolated between Britons, Scots, and
Norwegians, it meant an assertion that the strongest king in
Britain was his protector. The king of Strathclyde gained a
confirmation of the lands which his people had annexed from
the ancient Northumbria. Rargnald of York gained a recognition
of his new kingdom, and the king of Scots gained a
temporary security against Ra:gnald and his viking friends in
Ireland. To Edward himself the submission meant that each
ruler who became his man promised to respect his territory and
to attack his enemies. These are simple obligations, and they
no more than dimly foreshadow the elaborate feudal relationship
which many medieval, and some later, historians have read
into them. But the creation of even this simple bond between
King Edward and the rulers of every established state in Britain
gave to the West Saxon monarchy a new range and dignity
which greatly strengthened its claim to sovereignty in England.

* Op. cit. under 920. The date is confirmed by the contemporary Annali 4
Ulster, which slate that Sihlric left Dublin in this year.
Sorry it took so long! I've been meaning to post something here for a while.

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006, 10:26 PM
Well,the three northern regions of England(cumberland,northumbria,yorkshire )are predominantly nord-atlantid,atlanto-med,borreby,nordid(tronde,halstatt and celtic)...and some palaeo-atlantid.:)