28th January 2003
  • Fixed some broken Links and added a couple of new references to Dunmail on the "Links and Sources" Page. 
17th January 2002
The site has moved again this time to a permanent (hopefully) home on the ZENSURWEB domain.
  • Added new navigation banners to make it easier to navigate the site
  • Fixed the many broken links [I will need to update all the Regnal Chronicles lists at a later date as the site has moved]
  • Removed the old *.wav files

I wont be doing much work on the site until I can get the rest of the "ZENSURWEB" stuff finished.

24th June 2001
The move to the new location is still going slowly and there are many bugs. I am working to fix them ASAP.  I also subscribed to a British history news group and found some references to this site. Unfortunately they were pointing out some discrepancies with some of my theories which I was aware of but havent had time to fix.
  • The Timeline page has been updated with respect to Rheged
The site has moved to a new web address and as such the long process of re-establishing links has begun.   undergone a major redesign after being idle for many months and has changed it's name from "Darkages" to "Cumbria : The Age of Kings"
Changes :
  • Shifted out the old news to an old news page and added a scope statement at the top of this page.
  • Changed the "King Dunmail" page to the new format (text etc has not been updated)
  • Changed the "Origins of Cumbria" page to the new format (text etc has not been updated)

I am redesigning the site to have more of a Cumbrian timeline focus with pages devoted to leaders in the period of approximately 400AD  to 1034AD. I have also got tons of new information on the Dunmail period so I  need to give that page a major rework.

Has it really been over 18 months since the site was last updated ?

Well I have not had much time to update the site over those 18 months what with moving house and work commitments. Very little new information has come my way until I received an email just the other week  from David Hughes with an offer of some information.

His email has rekindled my interest and I hope to be able to present some of his information on the site in the very near future. His email also heralded the arrival of  a few other interesting links to appear in my email box (although purely by coincidence.)

I am also converting the site to a frame free format to make life a bit more straightforward. I have done this page and the links page with the rest of the pages to follow on soon. As always your feedback is most welcome.


Mark King

"Dear mark:

on your web page you said you were seeking information on northern British kings as well as information on the Strathclyde kings. i am sure you will want to see the information i have

david hughes. "

I have also come across an interesting Scotish history site "SCOTWEB" that needs more study particularily around the time of Dunmail. I have pasted an appetizer below :

Chapter 3

"Alba grew even more:
In the same year as the Scottish victory at Carham, 1018, the King of the Britons of Strathclyde died without issue (no heir) and was succeeded by Malcom II's grandson and heir -- Duncan, (who was not the ageing and venerable monarch portrayed by Shakespeare in "MacBeth"), Duncan had some type of claim to the throne of Strathclyde through the female line. Exactly how he did this isn't clear, but 16 years later, in 1034, Duncan became King of Scotland. In this way the frontiers of the Scottish Kingdom were still further extended, reaching far down into what is now English territory.

This site definitely warrants some further investigation.

I found a Website devoted to WW2 presence up on Dunmail Raise which gives a breif mention to the Legend so I have added it to the links page. It has a picture of Dunmail Raise too.

"20th Century Defence Architecture In Cumbria"


Finally for todays updates I have added a link in the "origins of Cumbria" section to the excellent "Lakeland Dialect Society Homepage". On this page you can find Cumbrian dictionaries and sound samples.


Quote of the week in some correspondance someone down under (from Adelaide, South Australia)

"After listening to the Peel poem a few times my own accent reasserted itself

and my Australian born kids are now convinced that I'm from another planet!!"

An extract from an email from Nik Ritchie which sounds like it could be interesting (I wonder if the Author is on email?)

"One thing I can say is if you track down a book called 'The Bride of the Spear' by a lass called Kathleen Herbert (Corgi ISBN 0 552 13331 0) You'll be able to read the only novel i've come accross which is centred round Dark Ages Rheged."

I posted a request for information on the Cumbria message board this month but have not got many responses yet


I got an email from Kenneth Morgan again whom I havent heard from for about a year. This is an extract from his email.

"Any way, at that time I promissed you information on a book of the "O'Donnell Lectures" at the University of Wales on Celtic influences on modern Britain. In particular was a lecture on remnants of Welsh or Brythonic language in Cumbria. I expected it would take me a month or two to get around to a trip to the Cincinnati Library. In fact it took this year or more. But at last I have it. This text is only tangentially related to your topic but still might be helpful. The premise of the lecture is that not only are Brythonic place names abundant in Cumbria but they give strong evidence of a reconquest of the Northern portion by Strathclyde after initial Northumbrian dominance."

I got an email from Graham Minshaw that has some really useful stuff in it. The most dissapointing thing for me was his revelation about the cairn. I have posted it in full until I get round to digesting the content into the context of the rest of the site. Thanks very much Graham.

"Hello Mark,

and greetings from the (old) kingdom of Cumbria. I bumped into your site from the Early British Kingdoms site and was amazed to see anyone interested in old Dunmail as most Dark Age fans seem to concentrate on more obviously Celtic areas such as Cornwall, Wales or Scotland.

A little about myself, I live in Whitehaven but hail from Keswick originally. I am 35 years old, a part time student of History and English and recently got married for my sins. From your web pages I see you have the basics about old Dunmail, he is rather a distant and vague character as you have found. I do not have very much positive extra to tell I'm afraid but a few points...

the folk song you have the lyrics from is not very old being written by Robbie Ellis from Penrith and appeared on an album called "Under Beacon's brow" around the mid 1970's (this is from memory but the title and dates won't be far off.)

According to a Workington historian, Frank Carruthers (unfortunately no longer with us) in a book called "A people called Cumbri" there has been no graves found at Dunmail Raise and the huge cairn (pile of stones) simply marked the border between the old counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. They were moved and the site investigated when the road was moved sometime.

Sorry for this vagueness but the books are not to hand at the moment. The book "Land of the Cumbrians" is pretty good but as you know rather expensive.

Well thats all for now, please let me know if you want any more help, I'll do what I can. Being in Cumbria I might be able to get the odd photo for you on a day when it doesn't rain here!

We do see the sun occasionally.

Cheers and good luck Graham"

Finally I got some more good stuff from Andy Winthorpe.

Hi Mark.

This is Andy, who's doing a dissertation on the Scandinavian migration to Cumbria in the said period. I thought you might like to hear about some of the research that I've unearthed. A very good book is `Scandanavians in Cumbria` by the society for Scottish research. In this Nick Hyam claims that it is entirely possible that c900-950, the kings of Strathclyde were actively fostering the anti anglo saxon feelings in exiled Norwegians, driven out of Dublin in 902.

This tends to imply that Dunmail was in probability a Briton, as this really is the first wave of norse immigration into the region. Certainly any norse already there at this point would not yet have built up the power base to declare themselves a king of Strathclyde, or Cumbria.

As for the cairn on Dunmail raise, there is a legend that this was the British battle practise, before the fight. The stone would keep the warriors soul safe until he returned. If this is true, the size of the cairn shows the magnitude of the Saxon victory.

Dunmail also has an Arthur parallel, with some legends of him, claiming that he will rise again whenever his kingdom is in dire need. Whoever Dunmail was though, Norse or Briton, he and his predessors managed to the get the native population fighting side by side with the Norse newcomers. That is a worthy achievement, so worthy that twice in 50 years the Saxons ravaged our county in effort to subdue us.

It is also worth noting that many scholars think that Cumbria was an easy route from Dublin to York, probably giving us connections with Eric Bloodaxe, and the brother of Ivar the boneless, Halfdan. Not much is ever said about Cumbria in history but if you read between the lines maybe we were sort of significant. Anways I hope you find this of interest. If I turn up anything more of interest


Dunmail Raise picture has been uploaded.   Not much to look at but it was a very wet January afternoon when the picture was took.



The latest Dunmail data has been added but I have still not got round to uploading the picture of  Dunmail Raise.

I have been passed on some details of a book which I believe will be very useful.

Land of the Cumbrians : A Study in British Provincial Origins A.D. 400-1120

I am however, looking for a source in England to purchase the book as it seems a little expensive over here.

In the near future I hope to convert the rather large wave files on the site to Real Audio.


It has been a long time since the last update and it will probably be a long time before the next. A combination of work pressures and Ultima Online are killing my research time. On my visit to the UK I managed to get a little new information and a picture of Dunmail Raise. I will be adding these shortly.


Lyrics added to the Dunmail folk song


I have received a fair bit of correspondence since my last update. In particular I received an extremely useful email from the EDGE site. It explained  the reasons behind their original reference to Dunmail as a Norse king and gave me the name of a very promising book  which I intend to purchase when I am in the UK.  I will update the references to Dunmail as a Norse king when I get back in late February. In the mean time don't forget to check up on the EDGE site as they may have updated their reference.

I also received some correspondence on Cumbrian Place names and dialects from this side of the pond (USA) with respect to British culture and language living on in Cumberland, Strathclyde and Wales. It struck me that if you had never visited Cumberland you would not have heard the local dialect. I have put a Cumbrian Poem Wave file on the origins of Cumberland part of this site. It is big ,approx. 1 meg,  but I think it is worth the wait to hear this glorious 8 bit mono rendition :).

The King Dunmail traditional Cumberland folk song is now up on the King Dunmail page.


Well the site itself is completely new and the content is slowly coming up to speed. The site had been dormant since September due to pressures of work but I have made a new years resolution to progress things at a new pace.

I have recently come across some excellent websites which have helped my research into very early Cumbria (Northern Rheged). Special mention must go to David Ford's excellent site on early British kingdoms. I am currently studying his site to help along the Northern Kings part of this site. I do not intend to replicate David's work but rather to get some fresh information and perspective on these ancient kings. 

Several sites have also brought me to reveiw many of the views expressed in this site. One such site is the EDGE site   that has the following statement :

"The 'official' wars between England and Scotland began in the 1000’s with the defeat of the Norse King Dunmail in 945 by the Saxon King Edmund."

I always assumed Dunmail to be a   king of British or perhaps Scotish descent. I will have to probe more deeply into his past.

I have recently been given a folk tape with a traditional folksong about Dunmail. I will transcript the words and perhaps even put it online if I can compress it enough.


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