In this article I want to introduce the ancient past of the British Isles and its settlement by our distant kinsfolk, and in part two of this article, offer my opinion as to where it may be heading in the future. I will not clutter up the piece with too much dry, specific detail, but will keep it general and give you an outline of our past. I will recommend pertinent reading material at the end of the article for those interested in researching any facts and figures further. In essence, this is an introduction to our ancient forebears and a glimpse of the richness of our common ancestral heritage.
word ‘indigenous’ can stir up all kinds of feelings in people and
can be the cause of a lot of acrimony and heated debate. It is also a
word used by those of certain political persuasions to legitimize the
rights of a ‘first people’ in overseas locations, whilst at the same
time being used to deny the heritage and culture of a ‘first
people’ much closer to home.
real insight into the mayhem caused when an inconvenient truth gets in
the way of a firmly established supposition, one only has to look at the
case of Kennewick Man in the United States. The chance discovery of the
ancient skeleton of a man, who died between 5,650 and 9,510 years ago,
has caused absolute uproar. The reason for the fracas being that the
skeleton is not related to any North American Indian tribe. The closest
relative is the Ainu people of Japan, a people indigenous to those
islands and not related to modern Japanese people.
Americans have tried to claim the skeleton as one of their own so that
they can dispose of the remains. The presence of this skeleton in
ancient America casts doubt upon their own claims of being the
indigenous people and they quite obviously see that as a threat. After
all, what happened to Kennewick Mans people, were they displaced by
Native Americans, or did they move on or die out naturally?
ancient past and its link to us was wide open for the dissemination of
disinformation and the blatant distortion of facts, until the wonderful
new medium of genetics appeared on the scene. For the first time we
could deal in simple raw facts, not on assumptions and propaganda
peddled by vested interest groups of whatever political leaning. At last
we had concrete, tangible knowledge of ourselves, our haplogroups and
So what has the cutting edge science of genetics done for the peoples of the British Isles and for the United Kingdom in particular? For one it has caught out the British government in an outrageous lie. In April 2009, more than 122 Members of Parliament signed a declaration which affirmed that the British Isles did not have an indigenous population. This declaration was signed by MP's from all three main political parties.
The government has thus officially stated in Europe that there are no indigenous people in the UK, meaning that there are no ‘first people’, no population rooted in the ancient past. In the stroke of a pen they have made foreigners of Britain's native peoples, and denied them the cultural protections afforded the native peoples of other nations around the world.
Most people in the UK have no idea that such a declaration has ever been signed as the matter was not highlighted in the press or general media, and no objections were made. It is a shameful and self-serving document and is easily on a par with Neville Chamberlains infamous piece of paper in respect to the Munich Agreement, and the Anglo-German Declaration of 1938.
Highly respected genetic studies over the
past few decades have clearly proven the declaration of April 2009
to be utter and complete nonsense. It is nothing
more than dishonest and misleading propaganda, designed to further a specific political
agenda in regard to mass immigration.
The revelations of recent genetic investigations are that the British Isles contain very ancient DNA indeed and that there is a definite indigenous population, a true ‘first people’. More correctly, it should really be ‘first peoples’, who all began to arrive in this land at around the same time a very long time ago.
An example of this was the discovery in 1903 of an ancient skeleton in a cave near Cheddar, Somerset. It was later carbon dated and found to be around 9,000 years old. This skeleton was to become known to the world as Cheddar Man. In 1996, DNA samples were taken from local residents in order to compare them with DNA that had been extracted from the skeleton. The tests stunned the scientific community. Exact DNA matches were found in local people living today, proving a direct line of descent through 9,000 years. Form the end of the last Ice Age to the modern day, in an unbroken genetic line. How could anybody realistically deny these people are indigenous to these islands and a 'first people'?
This knowledge of ancient lineage has unfortunately been seen as political dynamite by some with a dangerous leftist agenda. It has truly upset the applecart of entrenched indoctrination in the British educational system. It is a sad reflection upon modern British society and its political class that it should do so. Needless to say, the story of Cheddar Man does not appear in the history lessons of UK state schools as it begs too many awkward and inconvenient questions.
of the Ice
not know exactly how long ago the first human set foot in what is now
the British Isles, but it was almost certainly many thousands of years
prior to the last great Ice Age. The coming of the ice wiped the slate
clean, like an eraser across a blackboard, all settlement vanished. The
last great Ice Age began over 29,000 years ago as the world grew colder,
with the ice reaching its greatest expansion between 26,500 and 19,000
years ago. At this point most of what is now the British Isles was
covered in an ice sheet that was many miles thick. The surrounding
landmass was uninhabitable polar desert.
the coming of the ice, humanity in Europe was forced to retreat and
hunker down in Ice Age refuges in order to survive. The European refuges
were situated in the modern day areas of the Pyrenees, the Balkans and
Ukraine. It was an extremely testing time for our ancient forebears, but
they survived and even flourished. Around 16,000 years ago the thaw set
in and the ice began to retreat back towards the polar region. As the
ice melted and the glaciers retreated, mankind gradually left the
refuges and moved north, and once more began to populate the land.
peoples who were to form the native populations of the empty landscape
arrived from different directions. The people of the Pyrenees followed
the coastline and populated Cornwall, the west of England, Wales,
Ireland and the west of Scotland. The people of the Balkan refuge
entered the country via Germany and the Low Countries, across the great
plain that existed where the North Sea does today, and settled in
England and up to the Scottish borders.
people of the Ukrainian refuge arrived via the Baltic region and
Scandinavia, and settled in the east of Scotland and northern England.
This re-population event happened in successive continuous waves, but
always appeared to follow the same migration pattern. These settlements
gave us the basic genetic haplogroups that still exist to this day in
over 80% of the indigenous population, for these early pioneers are the
indigenous people of the United Kingdom. They are our founding
13,000 years ago there was a climatic blip and the ice advanced again.
However, it was never cold enough for the settled indigenous people to
completely leave and seek a southern refuge as before, although of
course, life was harsh in the colder climate. Around 11,500 years ago,
the ice finally retreated for the last time and a rapid thaw and warming
warming process continued for at least 6,000 years as the ice gradually
gave up its grip and contracted back towards the Arctic Circle. People
moved back and forth up and down the coast, and freely across the vast
open plain that we know today as the North Sea. As the worldwide
temperature climbed, so sea levels rose dramatically, and around 4,000
years BC, the last vestiges of the great plain were inundated and
drowned. The familiar British Isles as we know them today, our
enchanting ancestral homeland, were finally moulded into their near
very recently, the discredited theory of invasion and displacement held
sway. I well remember from my secondary school days back in the mid to
late 1970’s, being told that we were all immigrants. How various waves
of marauding barbarians from continental Europe had invaded, slaughtered
and displaced the populations who were in the land at the time. The
Celts were pushed into Wales by rampaging Saxons, Jutes and Angles, and
the Vikings decimated the Saxons in turn in the north and East Anglia.
The only problem with all this supposed violence and genocide is that it
never really happened, certainly not on any significant scale anyway.
Modern genetic research tells us that much, and the genetic evidence
does not lie it simply lays the true facts before us.
education in the UK since the 1960’s seems to have been a hostage of
politically correct sentiment, and has been hijacked in order to
reinforce an insidious political social engineering agenda. Modern
research and genetic evidence has now placed a very large spanner in the
works of that particular enterprise. This is probably why history,
especially British history, has almost been expunged from current school
curriculums in favour of subjects that raise fewer awkward questions.
extremely cynical, as a people need to be aware of who they are and
where they came from in order to feel a real sense of belonging to a
land, and to know where they are going. Human beings have an inbuilt
need to feel part of a group, to feel a sense of belonging, for their
own psychological welfare. In simple terms, people need to feel rooted
and comfortable within their environment.
research has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that we are today who
we always have been, descendants of those brave and hardy
hunter-gatherers, who first arrived in this land many thousands of years
ago. This knowledge has of course been seized upon by various
organizations of every hue, to support their views of how society should
be today. Regardless of who uses what, the bare facts are out there.
They tell the story of the people who inhabit this land now, and who
have done so in the past, with no political slant whatsoever. Facts are
always neutral, only the people who use them for political ends are not.
have already seen, the history of the people of these islands really
begins at the end of the last Ice Age, when the great melt and global
warming allowed people to once again return to the lands they had once
roamed. At that time, we are talking about a few thousand people living
by hunting and gathering, it would have seemed like a very empty and
lonely place, but full of animals to hunt, fish to catch and berries and
nuts to gather. It was a veritable ‘Garden of Eden’.
Life went on and the population slowly increased until a major event in human history arrived on these shores, the coming of agriculture. It changed everything. It was once thought that agriculture arrived in the British Isles with a major migration/invasion of people who originated in the Middle East. The genetic records have disproved this. There certainly were people who arrived here as farmers, but there was never a mass migration. It was mostly the idea that migrated, the very concept of farming itself.
Stonehenge - enigmatic and mysterious
Agriculture first made landfall in Ireland. It followed the old established route along the coastline from Iberia and then on up to the British Isles. At around the same time, the knowledge of agriculture was also making its way up the Danube and along the Rhine, until around 6,200 years ago it arrived in eastern England.
We should also remember that this new way of
living arrived during the New Stone Age, the Neolithic, a period in time
that saw the building of Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circle and many other
great stone monuments. Agriculture brought in new religious practices,
even new religions. It brought in new ideas, not the least of which was
the concept of land ownership and the sense of being rooted to a certain
place. It was the beginning of the settled world that we recognise today.
Age of Metal
next major event in our history was the coming of the Bronze Age, when
stone truly gave way to metal as Bronze replaced Copper. The Bronze Age
arrived in the British Isles around 4,000 years ago. There were copper
miners established in Abergele, Wales, at least 3,700 years ago. They
appear to have arrived from Iberia and have left a distinct genetic
imprint in the local area that was physically visible to the Romans, and
is still strong today.
Bronze Age in these islands was a golden era. The weather was good,
there was enough land to go around and the population was at a good
sustainable level. There was trade and migration between mainland Europe
and its kindred folk, along the old established trade routes. The people
of this age were dynamic and active. Any movement of people into these
islands was small and consisted of our cousins across the water, people
who in all likelihood even shared a common language or languages.
golden age of bronze drew to a close with the arrival of iron into the
British Isles around 2,800 years ago. The Iron Age had begun and it once
again tipped the world upside down. Bronze had formed the major portable
method of exchange, especially in the form of bronze axe heads. With the
coming of iron, the Bronze Age economy of Europe collapsed. The economic
collapse also coincided with a change in the climate in Britain. It
became far wetter and less hospitable to farming and was a time when
major defensive structures were built. It was a time of conflict for
land and resources, an age when the great hill forts were constructed.
all economic implosions, a recovery in commerce and economic activity
eventually happened. There was a thriving trade with the near continent
and far beyond. Phoenician traders probably began visiting Britain in
search of minerals around this time, bringing with them exotic trade
goods from the Mediterranean. Once again there was a minor flow of
people between Britain and Europe, but nothing that would leave a
significant imprint on the indigenous genetic record of the islands. The
British Isles were an integrated part of Europe, yet separate and
Great Celtic Myth
Insular Celts of the British Isles were an 18th century
invention. The people of ancient Rome knew of a people on the other side
of the Alps, in modern day France, whom they called Gauls. The ancient
Greeks knew of them too, and referred to them as ‘Keltoi’. In the
same way that we know the people who inhabit the Indian sub-continent as
being ‘Asian’, the word Keltoi or Gaul, was a generic term for a
people who were not the same, but seemed so to outsiders.
390 BC, these ancient Gauls crossed the Alps and sacked Rome itself.
They were driven back by the Romans and contained beyond the Apennines,
in the Po Valley. To the Romans the area became known as Gallia
Cisalpina (Gaul this side of the Alps). The sacking of Rome occurred at
a time of great expansion for the people of Gaul. They attacked Delphi
in Greece before being beaten off, and even set up a Kingdom as far away
as Turkey in the area around modern Ankara. To this day the area is
still known as Galatia. These very people are mentioned in the New
Testament of the Holy Bible, for they are the very Galatians of that era.
the 19th century a great falsehood distorted the historical
record in respect of the origins of the ‘Celts’. It gave Central
Europe as their original homeland. The distortion originated in an
ancient Greek text, which stated that the first ‘Keltoi’ were to be
found at the head of the river Danube. Unfortunately, the ancient author
believed the head of the Danube was actually in the Pyrenees. The origin
of the ‘Keltoi’ was certainly in the area of the Pyrenees, but
nowhere near the head of the Danube. However, that falsehood held sway
for many generations and a lot of misguided scientific theories were
based around it.
lead to the mistaken certainty in more modern times, that the
‘Celts’, as they have been known since the 18th century,
originated in Central Europe in the area of Switzerland and Austria, and
that they spread out from there taking their art and culture with them.
land of Gaul itself was divided into distinct tribes, even if the Romans
referred to them all collectively as ‘Gauls’. Julius Caesar in his
famous self-penned account of his campaigns in Gaul, titled ‘The
Gallic Wars’, states clearly in the opening paragraph that ‘All Gaul
is divided into three parts’. These included the Belgae, who dwelled
in the land between the river Rhine and the river Seine, and south of
the river Seine dwelled the Celtae. Caesar states repeatedly in his
accounts that the Belgae were closely related to the Germanic tribes. It
is most likely of course, that they spoke a Germanic language. It is the
Celtae who would most likely have spoken ‘Gaulish’, an old version
of modern Gaelic. It is from the Celtae that the modern word ‘Celt’
see those old migration patterns and bloodlines emerge once again. The
Celtae of the south would have most likely been the descendants of those
ancient hunter-gatherers from the old Pyrenees Ice Age Refuge. The
Germanic Belgae on the other hand, would most likely have been mainly
the descendants of the people from the Balkan refuge.
Celts and the British Isles
Today there is a firm belief amongst those who choose to call themselves Celts, that there is a division between themselves and the English. In terms of genetics there is most certainly a division, but it is a very ancient one, stretching back to the migrations that followed the last great Ice Age. It is not a Dark Age division, for that supposed division is based upon the manipulation of history by those with a Celtic nationalist agenda to peddle. Its origins lay in the 18th century, in the form of the Welsh scholar and nationalist, Edward Lhuyd.
warriors - possibly Belgae or Celtae
noted the similarities of language between the Bretons, Cornish, Welsh,
Irish and Scots and assumed a great wave of invasion had occurred, as
the Celts moved into the British Isles and occupied them. This belief
was built upon by later scholars of the 19th century who
dated the Celtic invasion to around 300 BC. No mention is made as to the
fate of the native people. Presumably they were wiped out in some
genocide type settlement and displacement event, that beloved solution
of far too many academics who probably also still believe in the
authenticity of Piltdown Man.
Lhuyd who gave the name Celtic to the related Gaelic languages of
Breton, Cornish, Welsh and Irish and Scots Gaelic. The label also came
to describe the peoples of those nations, giving them an invented racial
and cultural cohesiveness. It was blatant social engineering for
political ends, 18th century style.
manufactured solidarity took hold in the public imagination and was
cemented by that great Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott. In 1817 he was
already referring to Scottish Highlanders as Celts. It had taken only a
hundred years to establish the Celts as an undeniable fact in the
hallowed halls of academia and learning. This in turn led to the theory
of a Central European homeland for all Celts, and that above mentioned
invasion of the British Isles around 300 BC. Unfortunately, it is all
utter and complete nonsense, even if it is ‘feel good’, homely,
True Nature of the Isles
have already seen, people were continually entering this land for
thousands of years after the last great Ice Age. That initial migration
set the genetic boundaries that endure to this day. There is indeed a
real division, but it has existed for many thousands of years. The
initial migrations drew a rough genetic boundary that ran from Cornwall
to the north of Scotland, and included the modern day English county of
Cumbria. To the east of this boundary were other peoples who most likely
spoke other languages. None of these peoples of the British Isles ever
referred to themselves as being ‘Celtic’ at any time prior to the
politically inspired writings of Edward Lhuyd.
that the people of the west of the British Isles spoke one or more of
the Gaelic tongues. Not because there had been a great Celtic invasion,
genetic studies tell us that quite clearly, but because the people were
historically related to each other and at one point in the distant past,
would have shared a single parent language.
Caesar tells us there were differences between the tribes of the
Britons, and he clearly states that the tribes of the south-east were
most closely connected to the Belgae of northern Gaul. They shared a
culture, a language and even tribal names. There is strong speculation
that these tribes spoke a Germanic language, not a Gaelic one. Likewise,
the tribes of north-east England and Scotland may have spoken a
Scandinavian related language, but nobody as yet really knows for sure.
What this clearly shows though, is that the British Isles were not
dominated by one language, or by a single people called ‘Celts’.
They were not even infused with a sense of belonging to a specific
ethnic grouping, such concepts only evolved many centuries later. What
they did have in common, is the fact that they were all indigenous to
these islands and deeply rooted to them.
intimate contacts between the Belgic tribes of south-east England and
Romanised Gaul, prior to the Roman invasion and occupation of 43 AD,
ensured that the Roman presence was not quite the tempest of change one
might have expected. It is quite amazing just how rapidly the Belgic
parts of Britain settled into being a wealthy province of the Roman
Empire. In truth, the Belgic ruling classes had already become Romanized
in many of their ways, and they were the only rulers in the British
Isles to have minted coins prior to 43 AD.
time of the invasion and conquest of 43 AD, and the earlier invasion by
the forces of Julius Caesar in 55 BC, some of the British tribal leaders
immediately allied themselves with the Romans; it was a pragmatic
decision. The Belgic tribal leaders already knew of the advantages to be
gained by siding with Rome, and the wealth and influence that it could
bring them. The discovery of Fishbourne Roman Palace in 1960 clearly
showed the luxury that the local tribal leader was living in.
Constructed in around 75 AD it was originally built for Cogidubnus, the
powerful leader of the local Belgic Atrebates and a loyal and trusted
friend of Rome.
conquest of Britain by Rome was more problematic in the non-Belgic
tribal areas and it needed much firmer measures to bring those areas
under control. Rome waged a particular war against the pagan Druids, who
held so much power and influence over the tribes.
Roman Conquest did not much effect the genetic structure of the British
Isles. Where it did have an enormous effect was on culture and
infrastructure. The concept of city life was developing prior to the
Roman arrival but things really took off as the Romans set about
stamping their mark on the land. Villas, roads, laws, dress, food,
architecture, religion, it all imprinted on the native population and
led to a fusion of cultures. However, outside the cities, life went on
pretty much as normal and the people still continued to live in the
traditional roundhouses and spoke their local language. Latin was used
for trade and commerce, especially internationally, very much as English
was to officially remain a province of the Roman Empire for almost four
hundred years. That is an enormous amount of time. In modern terms, it
would be from the time of King Charles I to the present day. When the
Western Empire collapsed under the weight of internal strife, economic
chaos and barbarian invasion, the Romano-British were cast adrift. They
still looked to Rome for assistance for decades afterwards, but Rome by
then had already succumbed to the barbarians.
The Saxon Advent and the Dark Ages
A documentary about the Dark Ages
AD the last Legion, the Second Augusta, was withdrawn to Gaul by
Constantine III, who was named emperor by Roman troops in Britain.
Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and in 408 AD, devastating raids by the
Picts occurred in the north. This was to be only the beginning of many
Pictish incursions. In exasperation, the local Britons expelled the last
of the Roman officials and set about a defence of their land. The once
mighty Empire was crumbling, collapsing under an onslaught of barbarian
peoples from the east. The abandoned Romano-British were left to defend
their land as best they could. In 410 AD official Roman rule finally
came to an end in Britain.
was the beginning of the Dark Ages. It ushered in a long period of chaos
and change for the people of the islands, as the Roman economy faltered
and imploded. Villas were abandoned and fell into ruin, cities were
deserted, roads decayed and all writing ceased. It was a time when the
very light of civilization itself appeared to be extinguished. Within
the span of a generation, the world had utterly changed. Yet despite
this, the Romano-British still thought of themselves as loyal subjects
of the Empire and in 446 AD they sent an appeal to General Aetius, for
help in repelling the invading Picts of the north and raiders from the
sea. By that time however, Rome was almost finished and had no help to
give; the appeal fell on deaf ears. The Britons were left to endure
warfare and famine.
450 AD the Saxon Advent is thought to have begun, with waves of fierce
and savage Saxons, Angles and Jutes pouring into an almost defenceless
land, rampaging and slaughtering the natives as they went. Very soon
they had pushed the Romano-Britons into the Atlantic fringes, Cornwall,
Wales, Cumbria and Galloway. That at least has been the historical
belief so far, and that is how it was taught in schools when I attended
them. However, the only problem with that dramatic scorched earth theory
is the fact it is completely wrong.
south-east of England almost certainly already had a Belgic, Germanic
speaking population, cousins to those Germanic peoples across the North
Sea. The continental Saxons, and there is some debate as to whether they
came from Saxony or the bottom end of Denmark, certainly did migrate to
Britain but it was never in vast numbers, and they did not decimate the
native population. The scenario was more than likely a takeover by
ruling elites and their followers, with some degree of migration and
settlement. It is estimated that no more than 5% of new genetic material
input arrived in England during these turbulent times, hardly a wipe out
of the local population.
is also simply no evidence of mass slaughter and displacement. There are
no mass graves of victims, no villages put to the torch. What evidence
there is in the historical record, shows clear signs of continuity in
agriculture and normal village life; In essence, people certainly came
in and settled, but the local population were not wiped out, they simply
absorbed the incomers and bent to the rule of their new lords.
more tellingly, there has never been any trace of a Saxon Longhouse
discovered in England. This was a traditional farmhouse found in the
Saxon homelands, this hints very strongly of a lack of displacement in
respect to the native population, and the immediate imposition of a
foreign culture. The genetic records also argue the case for indigenous
continuity. The very word Saxon is another convenient label, just like
the word Celt, for the evidence is not watertight in respect of where
the ‘Saxons’ arrived from. It could have been Frisia, Germany,
Denmark or more likely, a combination of all three. At this time the
collapse of the Western Roman Empire saw great movements of people into
Western Europe and the entire continent was in a state of flux for
Angles were a Scandinavian people from Angeln in Denmark, a place not
far from the German border. They arrived in England at the same time as
the Saxons. They arrived in greater numbers and settled in the north of
England and East Anglia, which was named after them. The name England
derives from them too, its original form being Angleland.
There was an invasion and some settlement, and as far as the genetic and archaeological records go, there was no wipe out of the native population. Once again it was a change of rulers with some inward migration. The Angles did have a very strong cultural influence in East Anglia, as can be deduced by the name of that region.
also had a very strong influence in the north, especially in
Northumberland. Strong linguistic traces can still be found in the
local dialect of Northumberland today. Eventually the Angles and Saxons became one people,
the Anglo-Saxons, and one nation was created. This Germanic born nation we now call
Coming of the Vikings
AD the first recorded Viking raid on England occurred. Burnt villages,
theft, rape and murder ensued. In 793 AD the whirlwind finally hit home
with a furious Viking raid on the Christian monastery of Lindisfarne in
Northumberland. The sea raiders attacked and murdered the monks at the
monastery, burned its precious books and stole its religious treasures.
It was an assault on Christendom itself and the beginning of a raging
tempest of mayhem and violence against England.
knows exactly why this storm from the north erupted when it did, but it
is likely that climatic conditions and land hunger in the native Viking
lands caused them to board their ‘dragon ships’ and look for booty
and settlement land in the British Isles. At first the Viking raids
avoided the Saxon lands but fell heavily on the land settled by the
Angles. The Vikings who raided the east coast of England were Danes,
whilst those who raided the west of Scotland, the north west of England
and the east coast of Ireland were Norwegian Vikings.
The Danes were the kindred of the Angles and in all probability spoke the same language. It was therefore much easier for them to raid, settle and be accepted in Anglian lands than in the Saxon lands of the south. In 865 AD the Danes formed a great army and invaded the land of the Angles and seized control. Their new realm later became known as ‘The Danelaw’. This aggressive and threatening act of invasion and settlement was to lead them into direct conflict with the Saxons of the south.
Vikings arrive in the British Isles
fighting was bitter and the year 870 AD was the low watermark for the
Saxons. Only Wessex still resisted the Danes and King Alfred was
steadfastly rallying the forces of Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire for
a future and possibly final campaign against the Danes. In 878 with his
forces gathered and finally ready to take on the Danes, he defeated them
at the great Battle of Ethandun, which is said to have been fought near
the modern town of Westbury in Wiltshire.
year 889 or 890 AD an agreement was signed between King Alfred and
Guthrum, the leader of the Danes, and an official border was established
between the two peoples. In 891 AD Guthrum died and a power vacuum
developed in the Danelaw. This was a serious threat to the peace. In the
year 892 or 893 AD the Danes attacked Alfred’s lands. Around 897 AD
King Alfred finally defeated the Danes who retreated north to
Northumberland or returned to Denmark; the Danelaw ceased to exist and
became part of Alfred’s kingdom.
Alfred the Great of Wessex is the only king of England ever to the
called ‘The Great’ and the first to style himself as King of the
Anglo-Saxons. He is supposed to have died in the year 901 AD, although
this is not certain.
year 1066 AD was a seismic event for the British Isles. The recently
crowned King Harold of Wessex had only just defeated an invading army of
Norwegian Vikings at the battle of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, when he
had to turn the army around and march them to Sussex to meet the
invading Normans. It has been argued that Harold should have rested his
army and gathered more men before meeting the Normans in open battle,
but that is not what happened. On the 14th October 1066,
Harold’s Saxon army formed a shield wall to face the Norman army atop
Senlac Hill, approximately six miles northwest of Hastings, adjacent to
the present-day town of Battle in East Sussex. As we all know from the
annals of history the Saxons lost, Harold was killed and the nobles of
England were slaughtered and dispossessed of their lands.
1086, at the time of the publication of the Domesday Book, it is
estimated that the Normans formed only 1% of the population. However,
having defeated the English army they were masters of the land and the
Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard, was now King of England. Nearly
all the land and manors of England were confiscated and distributed to
the Norman victors. Even Saxon free farmers became mere tenants of a
Norman master. The Normans cemented their control and domination of
England by building massive stone castles. These were defensive
fortifications designed to intimidate the local populations and let them
know where the political power now lay.
ruling elite spoke French and continued to do so for two centuries after
the invasion. Gradually though, the French language gave way to English,
but it was now an English language heavily influenced by Norman French.
This is clearly seen in modern English. This fusion of English and
Norman French has enriched the language and made it one of the world’s
great literary tongues. English has now spread much further than our
ancient forebears could ever have imagined. It is now the de-jure
‘international language’ and used in trade, commerce, aviation and
information technology. It is the ancient Latin of the modern age and
possibly England’s greatest gift to world civilization.
Norman Conquest changed England in many ways. It changed our culture and
introduced feudalism, it affected our culinary tastes and our language
as already mentioned. It was a clear break from the previous Anglo-Saxon
world and still influences us today. The bulk of aristocratic families
in the land can still trace their origins and noble titles to the land
thievery of the incoming Normans.
was the last time that England was conquered by invasion and military
might, although some would dispute that in respect of the ascent of the
Dutchman Prince William of Orange in November 1688, to the British
throne. Although William brought a Dutch army with him, he had been
invited to rule by the English parliament, so it is deemed not to be a
conquest despite the fact that he had ejected the ruling Stuart dynasty.
Jacobite uprisings and their legacy, which have their roots in the
expulsion of the Stuarts by Prince William of Orange, are given their
own pages on this website so I will not repeat the information here. The
defeat of the Stuarts ensured that the UK remained a Protestant country,
and even gave us a new national anthem. The wordage of this anthem has
now been amended, and the reference to crushing rebellious Scots has
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