The Treaty of Eamont Bridge in 927CE

The UK news today is dominated by a meeting between the UK prime minister and the Scottish first minister about the possibility of Scotland declaring independence. There is much talk of the 1707 Act of Union, and of James VI/I, but in fact the first union between the English and the Scots was negotiated right here in Cumbria on 12thJuly, 927CE.

Athelstan from All Souls College Chapel, Oxford

Athelstan from All Souls College Chapel, Oxford

At this point in history, it wasn’t about England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. There was Mercia and Wessex; Northumbria and Dublin; Strathclyde and Cumbria; the Scots; various Welsh provinces and a whole lot more. There was no concept of a combined Britain, never mind UK. Continue reading

Owain and the Battle of Brunanburh, 937CE

Giant's Grave, Penrith copyright DMcIlmoyleI find it hard to believe that this date, 937CE, isn’t burned on all our memories as a pivotal point in English, and especially Cumbrian, history. It really should be, especially for those of us who live in the north. The battle took place not in Cumbria but at a place called Brunanburh. No one’s sure exactly where this was, but the odds are that it was Bromborough on the Wirral. This was at the old border between the kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria, so this makes sense. Continue reading