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.
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
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
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.
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 1000s with the defeat of the Norse King Dunmail in 945 by the Saxon King
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.