Down, but certainly not out!

I came across this Manx Gaelic story via Daithí Mac Lochlainn’s blog, Keltalingvaj Nova?oj, that is written in Esperanto by the way.

UNESCO has yeilded to pressure from the Manx government and Chief Minister Tony Brown and has agree to reclass Manx as critically endangered. They had previously regarded the language as extinct.

Phil Gawne MHK, a vel Gaelg ec, “This is tremendous news for the Manx language and demonstrates the effectiveness of Government, Manx language bodies and individuals working together to correct a clear injustice.

There are currently 46 pupils in Manx medium education.

  • Dewi

    “UNESCO has yeilded to pressure from the Manx government and Chief Minister Tony Brown and has agree to reclass Manx as critically endangered”

    What practical implications does this have GGN?

  • GGN

    Dewi,

    The truth is that I don’t know, I suspect it is a pride thing.

  • ersehole

    Tugaim faoi deara gurb í Gaelg ainm na seanteanga in Oileáin Mhainnin. Agus in Oileáin Acla freisin, más buan mo chuimhne.

  • Is aoibhinn liom an suíomh seo: http://www.learnmanx.com

  • The Raven

    Dewi, have a look at this link – I read this thread earlier, and being in a sector dealing with funding, I thought it would probably open the doors to financial assistance that would support the protection of the language. Obviously more so than if the language still bore the “extinct” label!

    This is about some African languages: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?pg=00146

    Some tabs there for the other continents too.

    Lads, any chance that on threads like this, there could be a wee synopsis of what you said, in English? It’s not cultural imperialism – I’m just a poor Prod denied the language by…well..erm…British Cultural Imperialism. Ahem. 🙂

  • ersehole

    An Fiach Dubh,

    I wrote that the Manx call their language Gaelg, which is what they call Gaelic in Achill Island.
    (As opposed to gaeilge, gaelidhg, gaoluinn etc.)

  • Dewi

    Thanks Raven – another wonderful website for us geeks…

  • Hold on a moment, and I’ll get to the point …

    Oxfam, continuing to threaten the livelihood of those “professional” secondhand bandits booksellers, has today opened a new shop on my patch.

    So, I was in like Flynn. And out, £15 the lighter, with a week’s reading.

    For some reason the shelves had a fair smattering of the works of Peter Berresford Ellis, including The Scottish Insurrection of 1820 (that’s with Seumas Mac a’ Ghobhainn), for which I have been keeping an eye out. I chucked Celt and Saxon: the Struggle for Britain AD 410-937 in for good measure. After all, what’s a couple of quid between friends.

    So there I sat, between wickets and pints (one coming quicker than the other, else I’d have staggered home), getting into the latter of those. And I came on this:

    (AD395-423) … the Western Empire had disintegrated into several warring states … This was the period when the Irish settled the Isle of Man, changing it from a British Celtic-speaking island to Irish Celtic-speaking. They also settled “the seaboard of the Gael” (Airer Ghàidheal, Argyll) and formed a new kingdom of Dàl Riada in northern Britain …

    At which point I realised I needed a far more detailed, and more modern history than the outline with which I was indoctrinated forty-odd years ago.

    Since I missed the 2009 annual Slugger O’Toole reading-list, can anyone come up with the last word on the Celts in the early first millennium?

  • Dewi

    Malcolm – just go with the flow.

  • dewi

    John Davies – A History of Wales – great on everything Malcolm.

  • Dewi

    Nora Chadwick old but good also.

  • Greenflag

    malcolm ,

    ‘They also settled “the seaboard of the Gael” (Airer Ghàidheal, Argyll) and formed a new kingdom of Dàl Riada in northern Britain’

    Eh . Argyll as I understand it is from the Irish Iar -Gael (pronounced EAR GAIL ) meaning Eastern Gaels i.e eastern from the perspective of those in the west i.e the current NI . Dal Riada did not cover all of Northern Britain but was mostly west and parts of south west and northern Scotland . The Picts inhabited the north east and the Angles among others the south east of Scotland .

    As for reading ?

    You might try

    ‘In Search of Ancient Ireland ‘

    Carmel McCaffrey & Leo Eaton which is part of the PBS series . They get a bit diverted over the who/what was a Celt . But it’s not a bad read .
    Brian Sykes ‘Saxons , Vikings and Celts ‘ looks at the history from a ‘genetic ‘ standpoint and is worth a read .

    Curtis’s ‘ Course of Irish History is a bit dated but it’s worth picking up for a read now and again . He goes into some wonderful detail on the more human aspects of the great names of both Irish and British history . Other than that I suggest lying back and allowing Dewi to drown you in his Cambrian tales 🙂

    Dewi,

    ‘Malcolm – just go with the flow.’

    Naw – If you’re Irish you go naturally against the flow in matters politic and religious . This is why we supported the Yorkists against the Tudors and every bloody loser on the planet instead of the winners 😉

    It’s also why we are/were all rich ;). Rememebr the fallacy of composition . If everybody’s Irish nobody is Irish and if everybody is a preferred customer /client nobody is a preferred customer /client .

    BTW I looked at Daithi’s website re manx and it looks like it could be Irish written partly in Welsh .

    e.g Sian Kiart ( Thats right ) is Manx for the Irish Sin Cheart (Shin Kyart)

  • Thank you, Greenflag @ 04:51 PM.

    On one level you confirm my suspicions: on another, you undermine any preconceptions.

    So, to sum up:

    1. There appears to be no generally-agreed history of Ellan Vallin/the Isle of Man;

    2. There’s something severely wrong with the usual interpretation of the whole Goedelic/Brythonic narratives, at least in this respect.

    3. Where is there a decent Ph.D. candidate when one needs one?

    Now, my personal moment of truth (despite Dewi @ 04:09 PM) is troubled by any reference to Chadwick.

    My problem is this: Chadwick follows others in asserting that the superior culture of the Saxons “absorbed” the Celts, whose assimilation thereby somehow left no impact on the language or place-names. In the process, she manages to rubbish (or simply ignore) the only eye-witness, Gildas.

    If the Celts were subsumed, which I believe recent DNA evidence suggests, we have something unique. And even more so because Chadwick affirms that the illiterate Saxons were imposing upon the Brythonic Celts (literate, mainly Christian, and with the most developed metalwork in western Europe).

    It seems to me that here we are rubbing up against the most pertinent conflict in the archipelago, and one that invites, and demands something more profound than the usual.

  • Thank you, Greenflag @ 04:51 PM.

    On one level you confirm my suspicions: on another, you undermine any preconceptions.

    So, to sum up:

    1. There appears to be no generally-agreed history of Ellan Vallin/the Isle of Man;

    2. There’s something severely wrong with the usual interpretation of the whole Goedelic/Brythonic narratives, at least in this respect.

    3. Where is there a decent Ph.D. candidate when one needs one?

    Now, my personal moment of truth (despite Dewi @ 04:09 PM) is troubled by any reference to Chadwick.

    My problem is this: Chadwick follows others in asserting that the superior culture of the Saxons “absorbed” the Celts, whose assimilation thereby somehow left no impact on the language or place-names. In the process, she manages to rubbish (or simply ignore) the only eye-witness, Gildas.

    If the Celts were subsumed, which I believe recent DNA evidence suggests, we have something unique. And even more so because Chadwick affirms that the illiterate Saxons were imposing upon the Brythonic Celts (literate, mainly Christian, and with the most developed metalwork in western Europe).

    It seems to me that here we are rubbing up against the most pertinent conflict in the archipelago, and one that invites, and demands something more profound than the usual.

  • Dewi

    “It seems to me that here we are rubbing up against the most pertinent conflict in the archipelago, and one that invites, and demands something more profound than the usual.”

    Absolutely – but the lack of documents is really frustrating. I’ll try and present what is known (without my usual prejudice..) over the next few days. One fairly profound point is that there wasn’t a lot of people about,(population of the island about 3 million in Roman times) so we sometimes misinterpret tales of mass population movement.

  • Sorry about the previous double posting: my connection was badly crippled last evening.

    Dewi @ 11:22 AM:

    [M]isinterpret tales of mass population movement or not, the Celtic interactions of the 6th century were quite remarkable. Gildas (who says he was born in the year of the Battle of Badon, therefore 516-8) was one of the refugees in Brittany by around 555, where he founded the monastery of St Gildas-de-Rhuys, and died at Houat about 570. We also know that he had been in Ireland in 566. He was not unique in his travels, by any means — consider all those peripatetic saints, not all of whom went eastwards: British monastics had communities at “Dermagh Britonum” (Delgany in the County Wicklow) and “Galinne na mBretan” in Offaly. All those intermarriages of the local dynasties also tell us otherwise: most famously, Tristan was Cornish, Iseult was a princess of Munster.

    That’s what I take from Peter Berresford Ellis. Being a sucker for any passing anecdote, I enjoyed this one, also from Ellis :

    There is an interesting sequel to Gildas’s visit [to Ireland]. According to the Book of Leinster, the provincial king of Connacht (AD 617-622), Guaire Aidne, wished to hear the saga of the Táin Bó Cuailgne but found that not even the chief bard of Ireland, Senchán Torpéist, knew the saga in its complete form. Senchán Torpéist decided to assemble all the poets and story-tellers of Ireland to find out who knew the complete saga but it was discovered that none knew it nor had a written copy. It was found that a ‘wise man had taken it to the east in exchange of the Cuilmenn‘. The Cuilmenn was the Irish name for the Origines or Etymologie of Isidorus of Seville (c.AD 560-636), an encyclopaedia of science and arts. Gildas was of course known as the ‘wise man’. It would seem that Gildas had indeed exchanged a copy of Isidorus’s work for a copy of the Irish saga during his visit to Ireland. Senchán Torpéist asked one of his pupils to go to Brittany to copy or relearn the entire saga, which presumably he did, for the Táin, one of the great pieces of Irish saga literature, survives in eleventh- and twelfth-century texts.

  • Dewi

    Not for lunchtime Malcolm but Gildas a little bitter and twisted. We also ain’t entirely sure if the Gildas in Brittany and the one in Britain were the same bloke..

  • Dewi

    “who says he was born in the year of the Battle of Badon, therefore 516-8”

    Yet another mystery. The most important Celtic victory over the Saxons in this period and we don’t know where it was.

  • Greenflag

    Dewi & Malcolm

    William the Conqueror’s ínvasion ‘force was not strictly ‘norman’ . His entourage included Bretons presumably some returning to the land of their forbears ?

    On Gildas

    Sykes writes from his research evidence ‘

    The succession of Saxon/Danish invasions during the turbulent centuries after the Romans departed DID leave a mark on the stubbornly Celtic indigenous bedrock of parts of England . IT is a real presence but it is by no means completely overwhelming . The gory chronicles of Gildas do contain a grain of truth . The roughly twofold excess of saxon/danish Y chromosomes compared to their maternal counterparts hints at a partially male driven settlement with some eleimination or displacement of the indigenous males . But the slaughter , if slaughter there was, was not total and still there are far more people with çeltic ancestry in England even in the far east than can claim to be of saxon or danish descent .”

    Sykes ‘Blood of the Isles ‘pp 286

    In Roman times the population of Britain was estimated to be circa 2 million so it stands to reason if one thinks about it that the so called anglo saxon invasion numbers would have been dwarfed by the large number of ‘natives’

    ‘If the Celts were subsumed, which I believe recent DNA evidence suggests, we have something unique’

    Sykes seems to be saying that while the anglo saxons invaded and imposed their language and culture and lowland farming methods they did not replace the basic population which had been in situ for some 6,000 years .

    According to Sykes again ‘However we feel about each other we are all genetically rooted in a Celtic past overwhelmingly on the matrilineal side and by a large majority on the patrilineal side with only areas near the east coast of England and in the Danelaw area diverging from the rule .. The Irish, Scots and Welsh know this but the English sometimes think otherwise.

    And on the latter point I’d say that’s been due to the subsequent political and economic history of the islaes and Englands rise to dominance by virtue of it’s location and by it’s fortune in being ruled by the Romans for some 4 centuries which gave that land a únity which it never forgot even when the Romans departed having çivilised the Britons and made them fat and lazy and an easy prey for the newcomers from the east 🙂

    we should also bear in mind that the ‘final ‘victory of the English language over other indigenous languages was not achieved until the early 15th century when English replaced Norman French as the court language and language of government .

  • Greenflag

    malcolm ,

    On one level you confirm my suspicions: on another, you undermine any preconceptions.”

    I assure you it’s not intentional ;). On the one hand I’m unsure of what your suspicions and on the other we should all be mindful that preconceptions may not have been founded on sound evidence but on or perhaps even in licensed premises -I jest .

    As for the Celts /Britons being subsumed ? There is a well known pattern which has often occurred in history whereby a military conquest by a minority (think of the 25,000 Normans who came across with William the Conqueror to an island with 2 million people) will other things being equally be absorbed into the general population over centuries . The same was probably true of the anglo saxon invasions . The same may even even be true of the so called ‘çeltic invasions of Ireland in pre historical times whereby the celts were subsumed into the islands population but left us their culture and language .

    Oddly enough an American anthropologist Carleton Coon who given his time (1940’s) in retro given present knowledge made a few outlandish claims did iirc, hit the nail on the head with the historical peopling of these islands . And his summary of both Britain and Ireland is not a stone’s throw from Syke’s findings . And that was at a time when DNA had never been heard of , even if it did exist 🙂

  • … all very well, but …

    The notion that it was husky Anglo-Saxon men arriving and sweeping Brythonic maidens off their feet has one fatal flaw.

    Why did Early English borrow so little from the Brythonic?

    One would have assumed that the (literally) mother-tongue would have descended in part to the children. Singularly in Angelalonde, it didn’t. When the Franks imposed themselves on the Gauls, the assimilated language included a substantial vocabulary from Celtic and Low Latin.

    As for the Battle of Mount Badon, not only do we not have a definite site, we do not have a date. The AD 516-518 comes from the Annales Cambriae, which were compiled four centuries later. If we then demolish Gildas (and Bede seems to be working backwards using Gildas as one marker) it could be any time from the 490s. If so, two things need to be taken into account:

    — the earlier we place Badon, the further east it would need to go;
    — Badon explains the two decades when the Saxons were being quiescent and not pushing west.

    Then a date for Badon around AD 490-1 could explain the hiatus in the Saxon kingdoms of Kent and of Sussex.

    This thread was supposed to be about Manx and Ellan Vannin. I have been digging around that enough to be astounded at how recently the constitutional position became settled:

    1265 Magnus III of the Isles and Man, on his death, ceded Man to Alexander III of Scotland. Edward Longshanks wasn’t the man to accept that, and the English and Scots were still fighting over the island until 1465, when David II tried a Falklands.

    I see that, in 1405, Henry IV allowed John Stanley to style himself “King of Man”, but obliged him to pay homage. The hereditary Stanley “Lords of Man” sold their title to the UK only in May 1765, when George III assumed the title.

    That opened the way for the English ruling class to move in, Anglicize the place, and — by the end of the nineteenth century — kill off Manx as the demotic.

    In 1866 Westminster recognised the Tynwald as a “Home Rule” parliament. Now there’s a thought.

    As late as 1959 a Royal Commission regularised the island as a “Crown Dependency outside of the United Kingdom”.

    A lot of that feels almost familiar.

  • Dewi

    Some of the few “facts”

    1) Clauses in the Laws of Aethelbert of Kent,drawn up in 602 seem to refer to his Brythonic subjects. In the Laws of Ina of Wessex (c690) there are 8 clauses referring to the rights of the Britons of Wessex.

    Which means that (apart from East Anglia which seems to be different) any mass slaughter, even in the East, was not complete.

    2) Linguistic evidence indicates that the big Brythonic population movement of the time – to Brittany – came from the Western kingdoms – where the Irish were a far bigger threat than the Saxons.

    3) GF :” There is a well known pattern which has often occurred in history whereby a military conquest by a minority (think of the 25,000 Normans who came across with William the Conqueror to an island with 2 million people)”

    Absolutely not the case here. The struggle ebbed and flowed for centuries. If we contrast with the collapse to the Franks etc of mainland European Post Roman civilisation (apart from British re-inforced Brittany) then the British case is unique in its course.

    Now some conjecture.
    There are really three areas of mystery:
    i) Why the initial post Roman invasion / settlement / advance from c.450 to 500. was pretty “easy”
    ii) The “hiatus” from c500 to c 550.
    iii) The pretty pathetic (if wonderfully romantic) resistance to Wessex and Mercian advances 550 to 650.

    One at a time and a lot of conjecture:
    i) The collapse/exit of the Roman ruling class left a power vacuum in some of the more Romanised areas. Astonishingly I’ve read (and frustratingly can’t find a reference) of a reversion to hunter gathering amongst the celts of Post Roman East Anglia. Welsh legend refers to Gwrtheyrn (Vortigern) inviting the Saxons in to aid in his wars. As the Roman army of the time would have contained a pile of Germanic mercenaries that seems plausible as does the grant of the Isle of Thanet in Kent.

    ii) Arthur’s time. The real mystery here is why we didn’t wipe them out. Victory at Mynydd Baddon (wherever it was) seemed to be complete and, indeed, there is evidence of Saxon migration to back to mainland Europe. By 550 the Britons were the dominant force in the island.

    iii) It is this 100 years that were decisive. Saxon victories at Dyrham (577), south of Bath, and Catterick (c595) critical victories for the Saxons. Why so easy? One theory is plague – John Davies describes the great Plague as having originating in Egypt in 541 and reching Britain about 549 – killing Maelgwn King of Gwynedd. It appears to have hit the ex-Roman areas (trade links extensive with Europe) but not the English (legendarily they avoided the old Roman cities for fear of the Plague). This Plauge was as devastating as that of 1349 (maybe wiped out 50% ??) The Welsh legend (and wonderful poetry) about Catterick talks of 300 knights attacking. Glorious maybe – but not a lot of people.

    I’ll leave it there for now.

  • Dewi

    East Anglian Resistance to Rome. East Anglia different – the centre of the noble Iceni resistance to Rome under the wonderful Buddug (Boadicea). Whatever the thories of Saxon / Celtic slaughter there’s little doubt that the Romans would have killed or enslaved the entire Iceni race after such a struggle. It’s what they did. I just wonder if the Romans maintained a “Celtfrei” policy in this area until they upped and left. That would explain a few things…

  • Greenflag

    Dewi,

    ‘Absolutely not the case here. The struggle ebbed and flowed for centuries.’

    Point taken . Excellent conjectural post btw 🙂 The technological gap between the saxons and the britons would not have been as great as the 500 years later one between the Normans and the english . That fact along with the Roman withdrawal , power vaccuum and possible plague would have prolonged the struggle.

    Simon Schama in his TV series and book History of Britain goes into some detail on the Boadicean (Iceni) uprising against the Romans and the subsequent slaughter of both the Romans at Colchester and London , the slaughter of Druidic resistance on Mona (Anglesey) and the final defeat and near extermination of the Iceni . Reading Schama’s piece it would not be surprising if those parts of devastated East Anglia were repopulated by ‘visitors’ on an ad hoc basis over the next couple of centuries from the east i.e from the Freisian isles and nearby areas which is where ‘english’ originated .

    ‘I’ve read (and frustratingly can’t find a reference) of a reversion to hunter gathering amongst the celts of Post Roman East Anglia.’

    Living standards for most people in Britain did not significantly rise again after the Roman departure until the 17th century .

    The conjecture as mentioned by Davies of a plague reaching Britain is plausible and it would have affected the cities more so than the countryside which is what happened in the later Black Death plague of the mid 14th century.

    ‘I just wonder if the Romans maintained a “Celtfrei” policy in this area until they upped and left. That would explain a few things’

    Including presumably Malcolm Redfellows question?

    ‘Why did Early English borrow so little from the Brythonic?’

    If there were’nt any or few around in those areas following the Roman ‘ethnic ‘ cleansing of earlier times that would explain it at least partially . Oddly enough the point being made by one of the historians in Ancient Ireland that the pre celtic Irish became Celtic without the island being invaded from outside by significant numbers comes up against the same quandary that Malcolm highlights i.e the women raise the children and pass on the language so did Ireland just wake up in 450 AD and become Celtic speaking overnight ? It did’nt of course and linguistic scholars tell us that Irish as well as other Indo european languages contains within it evidence of unknown pre indo european languages spoken since Ice Age times all across europe . The Irish consensus now would appear to be that instead of mythical massive ‘invasions’ the celts and their culture dribbled into Ireland over 5 centuries beginning circa 1000 BC following the 20 year long ‘nuclear winter’ of 1129 BC brought about by Icelandic volcanic eruptions and subsequent perpetual winter ?

    I suspect the saxons ‘dribbled’ in to sparsely populated eastern areas and gradually absorbed remnants of the previous population while moving west . There was of course not just one early english language . Many of the various tribal dialects would have been as unintelligibe to each other as modern Dutch is to modern Swedish Or Russian to Polish . What we call early english was a lingua franca based on the wessex dialect iirc ?

    But then there is Brian Syke’s findings which tell us that language spread does not correlate 100% with DNA ‘maps ‘ and can vary enormously from almost 0 to almost 1 .

  • Dewi

    Nice post GF – I’ve not read much of Schama for some prejudiced bizarre rerason which I can’t quite recall…I’ll remedy.

    “It did’nt of course and linguistic scholars tell us that Irish as well as other Indo european languages contains within it evidence of unknown pre indo european languages spoken since Ice Age times all across europe ”

    RG Cuan has mentioned this phenomenon before – I’d love specific examples?

    …More later !!

  • Greenflag

    ‘dewi,

    I’ve not read much of Schama for some prejudiced bizarre reason’

    Admittedly he’s énglish but he covers the Norman conquest of Wales and the later English wars and Glendawr’s rising . If you can’t find time for the books there is the DVD series which you can bolt down in hour long chunks when time allows . I particularly enjoyed the Two Winstons (Churchill & George Orwell ). The one on the Indian mutiny and the Irish famine I thought were as near to truth as you can expect from any objective historian 😉

  • Dewi

    I really don’t mind where he comes from GF – it’s more probably this from Wiki:

    “The main criticism of A History of Britain is that it mostly revolves around England and its history, rather than that of the entire British Isles…….It gives short shrift to the Celtic inhabitants and civilisation of the British Isles, including England”

    But I’ll give it a read…

  • Do you recall that wall-plaque with advice to one’s teenager? It went: “Leave home while you still know it all.”

    Well, back around 1960 I was that teenager: I can even give a precise date (from the fly-leaf): 2nd May 1960, when I spent thirty bob (Whew!) on Roy Rainbird Clarke’s East Anglia. Which I still possess.

    Well, I now know there’s has been considerable work done in the meantime; and what I knew then is largely what I don’t know now. So … on with the motley.

    For a start the Boudiccan revolt was not the first: “Saemu” led a resistance action as early as AD 47-8 (which may be why he was replaced by the more compliant “Prasutagus” — Mr Boudicca). Archaeology indicates that Roman influence spread among the Iceni between AD43 and AD60 (at first, the Iceni may have welcomed the Romans as a counterbalance to the Catuvellauni). We have to assume (extrapolating from Tacitus and Dio Cassius) that Prasutagus died about AD60, leaving half his estate to Nero. Local Romans went looking for the rest.

    Leaving aside that rape story, Boudicca allied herself with the Trinovantes (whose grief was that the settled Roman veterans around Camulodunum had dispossessed them) and, as we know, came close to overthrowing the whole Roman province.

    Again the archaeology suggests that Roman reinforcements were brought in from the German frontier, and forts established across Icenian territory. Suetonius was recalled to Rome for an inquiry into his severity: he deported Icenians to draining the Fens. After the rebellion came famine. Two centuries of settled development followed: roads were built (presumably more slave-labour), a small “cantonal” capital was established at Caistor-by-Norwich, and, in the second century, a port constructed at Caistor-by-Yarmouth. That suggests the export of grain for the Rhine garrison and explains the import of millstones and Rhenish glassware.

    By the end of the third century it was necessary to construct those shore defences: the attackers may have been Saxons or even Picts coming down the east coat. The country villas seem increasingly to be abandoned during the early 300s. Decline in prosperity and trade is evident by the later part of the century. There was a major confrontation, apparently a combined operation of Picts and Saxons, in 367. After that Theodosius tried to stiffen the defenders. These must have been mercenary foederati: pottery in the Saxon fashion shows up from the later 300s. We have firm evidence of north Germans arriving around the last decade of the third century. If the aim was sea-defence, presumably these were poachers-turned-gamekeepers. As the Roman government collapsed, these foederati mutinied (there seems to have been a massacre at Caistor-by-Norwich) and would inevitably turn to brigandage.

    The cornlands were no longer profitable; drainage was neglected: for Celts and “Saxons” alike it must have been a subsistence agriculture.

    So far, so bad. We cannot discriminate between the Celts and the new arrivals too easily: both were using cremation. Sometime between the late 300s and the early 600s boundary earthworks were constructed, most obviously the Devil’s Dyke on the edge of Newmarket Heath.

    There was a second wave of invaders (using inhumation) around 500, seemingly from Jutland and southern Sweden (perhaps Beowulf‘s Geats). Their leader was Wehha, whom Nennius says “reigned over the East Angles”. Wehha’s son, Wuffa, gave his name to the dynasty. The Wuffings, quick-sharp, extended their authority by the mid-500s, even as far as the Nene. The high moment of the Wuffings was under Raedwald (c. 599 – 625/6) who was Bretwalda across southern England (an anachronism, I admit).

    Of course, none of that helps with the earlier problems … nor contributes to the discussion on Manx.

  • Dewi

    Brilliant Malcolm – “The cornlands were no longer profitable; drainage was neglected: for Celts and “Saxons” alike it must have been a subsistence agriculture.”

    That’s almost what I was looking for. Vulnerable communities unable to support a soldier class.

    “Of course, none of that helps with the earlier problems … nor contributes to the discussion on Manx”

    I dunno – I think this will start to shed light on both. When we get there we’ll call it “The Great Unified Theory of the Medieval Archipelago”

  • Dewi

    Merfyn Frych It’s all coming together