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Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling ...
kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...

kingdom
in what is now
Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England. There are three Regions of England, statistical regions defined as northern England: the North East England, North East; the North Wes ...

Northern England
and
south-east Scotland
south-east Scotland
. The name derives from the Old English meaning "the people or province north of the Humber", as opposed to the people south of the
Humber Estuary The Humber is a large tidal estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone betw ...
. Northumbria started to consolidate into one kingdom in the early seventh century, when the two earlier core territories of
Deira Deira ( or ) (Old Welsh/Cumbric language, Cumbric: ''Deywr'' or ''Deifr'', ang, Derenrice or ), was an area of Post-Roman Britain, and a later Angles, Anglian kingdom. Etymology The name of the kingdom is of British language (Celtic), Brythonic ...
and
Bernicia Bernicia (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval ...
entered into a dynastic union. At its height, the kingdom extended from the
Humber The Humber is a large tidal estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone betw ...
,
Peak District The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines The Pennines (), also known as the Pennine Chain or Pennine Hills, is a range of hills and mountains separating North West England North West England i ...
and the
River Mersey The River Mersey () is a river in the North West England, North West of England. Its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon language and translates as "boundary river". The river may have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and ...
on the south to the
Firth of Forth The Firth of Forth ( gd, Linne Foirthe) is the estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transit ...

Firth of Forth
(now in Scotland) on the north. Northumbria ceased to be an independent kingdom in the mid-tenth century when Deira was conquered by the
Danes Danes ( da, danskere, ) are a North Germanic peoples, North Germanic ethnic group native to Denmark and a modern nation identified with the country of Denmark. This connection may be ancestral, legal, historical, or cultural. Danes generally re ...
and formed into the
Kingdom of York Scandinavian York (referred to at the time as ) or Danish York is a term used by historians for the south of Northumbria (modern-day Yorkshire) during the period of the late 9th century and first half of the 10th century, when it was dominated ...
. The rump Earldom of Bamburgh maintained control of Bernicia for a period of time; however, the area north of the Tweed was eventually absorbed into the medieval
Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
while the portion south of the Tweed was absorbed into the Kingdom of England and formed into the county of
Northumberland Northumberland () is a ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and Historic counties of England, historic county in North East England. It is bordered by Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south and the Scot ...

Northumberland
and
County Palatine of Durham The County Palatine of Durham was an area in the North of England that was controlled by the Bishop of Durham. Liberty of Durham The territory was originally the Liberty of Durham under the control of the Bishop of Durham, England, Durham. The ...
.


Kingdom (654–954)


Communities and divisions


Possible Celtic British origins

The
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling ...
kingdom of Northumbria was originally two kingdoms divided approximately around the
River Tees The River Tees (), in northern England, rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fell in the North Pennines and flows eastwards for to reach the North Sea between Hartlepool and Redcar near Middlesbrough. The modern day history of the river has been ...
:
Bernicia Bernicia (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval ...
was to the north of the river and
Deira Deira ( or ) (Old Welsh/Cumbric language, Cumbric: ''Deywr'' or ''Deifr'', ang, Derenrice or ), was an area of Post-Roman Britain, and a later Angles, Anglian kingdom. Etymology The name of the kingdom is of British language (Celtic), Brythonic ...
to the south. It is possible that both regions originated as native Celtic British kingdoms which the Germanic settlers later conquered, although there is very little information about the infrastructure and culture of the British kingdoms themselves. Much of the evidence for them comes from regional names that are British rather than Anglo-Saxon in origin. The names Deira and Bernicia are likely British in origin, for example, indicating that some British place names retained currency after the Anglo-Saxon migrations to Northumbria. There is also some archeological evidence to support British origins for the polities of Bernicia and Deira. In what would have been southern Bernicia, in the
Cheviot Hills The Cheviot Hills (), or sometimes The Cheviots, are a range of uplands straddling the Anglo-Scottish border The Anglo-Scottish border is a border Borders are geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdiction Jurisdi ...
, a hill fort at
Yeavering Yeavering () is a very small hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. It is Shakespeare's longest play, with 29,551 ...
called Yeavering Bell contains evidence that it was an important centre for first the British and later the Anglo-Saxons. The fort is originally pre-
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
, dating back to the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic) and the Bronze Age ...
at around the first century. In addition to signs of Roman occupation, the site contains evidence of timber buildings that pre-date Germanic settlement in the area that are probably signs of British settlement. Moreover, Brian Hope-Taylor has traced the origins of the name Yeavering, which looks deceptively English, back to the British gafr from Bede's mention of a township called Gefrin in the same area. Yeavering continued to be an important political centre after the Anglo-Saxons began settling in the north, as King
Edwin The name Edwin means "rich friend". It comes from the Old English elements "ead" (rich, blessed) and "wine" (friend). The original Anglo-Saxon form is Eadwine, which is also found for Anglo-Saxon figures. Edwin may refer to: People * Edwin of ...
had a royal palace at Yeavering. Overall, English place-names dominate the Northumbrian landscape, suggesting the prevalence of an Anglo-Saxon elite culture by the time that
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sanc ...

Bede
—one of Anglo-Saxon England's most prominent historians—was writing in the eighth century. According to Bede, the
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli; german: Angeln) were one of the main Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman autho ...
predominated the Germanic immigrants that settled north of the Humber and gained political prominence during this time period. While the British natives may have partially assimilated into the Northumbrian political structure, relatively contemporary textual sources such as Bede's
Ecclesiastical History of the English People The ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' ( la, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), written by the Venerable Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerabl ...
depict relations between Northumbrians and the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependenc ...
as fraught.


Unification of Bernicia and Deira

The
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling ...
countries of
Bernicia Bernicia (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval ...
and
Deira Deira ( or ) (Old Welsh/Cumbric language, Cumbric: ''Deywr'' or ''Deifr'', ang, Derenrice or ), was an area of Post-Roman Britain, and a later Angles, Anglian kingdom. Etymology The name of the kingdom is of British language (Celtic), Brythonic ...
were often in conflict before their eventual semi-permanent unification in 654. Political power in Deira was concentrated in the East Riding of
Yorkshire Yorkshire (; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England. There are three ...

Yorkshire
, which included
York York is a cathedral city with Roman origins at the confluence of the rivers River Ouse, Yorkshire, Ouse and River Foss, Foss in North Yorkshire, England. It is the historic county town of Yorkshire. The city has long-standing buildings and stru ...

York
, the North York Moors, and the Vale of York. The political heartlands of Bernicia were the areas around
Bamburgh Bamburgh ( ) is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish on the coast of Northumberland, England. It had a population of 454 in 2001, decreasing to 414 at the 2011 census. The village is notable for the nearby Bamburgh Castle, a cast ...
and
Lindisfarne The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, commonly known as either Holy Island or Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland Northumberland () is a cerem ...
,
Monkwearmouth Monkwearmouth is an area of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear in North East England. Monkwearmouth is located at the north side of the mouth of the River Wear. It was one of the three original settlements on the banks of the River Wear along with Bisho ...
and
Jarrow Jarrow ( or ) is a town within the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside South Tyneside is a metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, North East England North East England is one of nine official regions ...

Jarrow
, and in
Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act ...
, west of the
Pennines The Pennines (), also known as the Pennine Chain or Pennine Hills, is a range of hills and mountains separating North West England North West England is one of nine official regions of England and consists of the counties of Cheshire, ...
in the area around
Carlisle Carlisle ( , ; from xcb, Caer Luel; gd, Cathair Luail) is a border Borders are geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scienti ...
. The name that these two countries eventually united under, Northumbria, may have been coined by
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sanc ...

Bede
and made popular through his
Ecclesiastical History of the English People The ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' ( la, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), written by the Venerable Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerabl ...
. Information on the early royal genealogies for Bernicia and Deira comes from Bede's ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' and Welsh chronicler
Nennius Nennius — or Nemnius or Nemnivus — was a Welsh monk of the 9th century. He has traditionally been attributed with the authorship of the ''Historia Brittonum'', based on the prologue affixed to that work. This attribution is widely considered ...
Historia Brittonum ''The History of the Britons'' ( la, Historia Brittonum) is a purported history of the indigenous British ( Brittonic) people that was written around 828 and survives in numerous recensions that date from after the 11th century. The ''Historia Bri ...
. According to Nennius, the Bernician royal line begins with Ida, son of Eoppa. Ida reigned for twelve years (beginning in 547) and was able to annex
Bamburgh Bamburgh ( ) is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish on the coast of Northumberland, England. It had a population of 454 in 2001, decreasing to 414 at the 2011 census. The village is notable for the nearby Bamburgh Castle, a cast ...
to Bernicia. In Nennius' genealogy of Deira, a king named Soemil was the first to separate Bernicia and Deira, which could mean that he wrested the kingdom of Deira from the native British. The date of this supposed separation is unknown. The first Deiran king to make an appearance in Bede's ''Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum'' is Ælle, the father of the first Christian Northumbrian king
Edwin The name Edwin means "rich friend". It comes from the Old English elements "ead" (rich, blessed) and "wine" (friend). The original Anglo-Saxon form is Eadwine, which is also found for Anglo-Saxon figures. Edwin may refer to: People * Edwin of ...
. A king of Bernicia, Ida's grandson
Æthelfrith 200px, The main Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in the 7th century. Æthelfrith (died c. 616) was King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco Ki ...
, was the first ruler to unite the two polities under his rule. He exiled the Deiran Edwin to the court of King Rædwald of the East Angles in order to claim both kingdoms, but Edwin returned in approximately 616 to conquer Northumbria with Rædwald's aid. Edwin, who ruled from approximately 616 to 633, was one of the last kings of the Deiran line to reign over all of Northumbria; it was
Oswald of Bernicia Oswald (; c 604 – 5 August 641/642Bede gives the year of Oswald's death as 642, however there is some question as to whether what Bede considered 642 is the same as what would now be considered 642. R. L. Poole (''Studies in Chronology and ...
(c. 634–642) who finally succeeded in making the merger more permanent. Oswald's brother
Oswiu Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig ( ang, Ōswīg) (c. 612 – 15 February 670), was King of Bernicia Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is n ...
eventually succeeded him to the Northumbrian throne despite initial attempts on Deira's part to pull away again. Although the Bernician line ultimately became the royal line of Northumbria, a series of Derian sub-kings continued after Oswald, including Oswine (a relation of Edwin murdered by Oswiu in 651), Œthelwald (killed in battle 655), and Aldfrith (son of Oswiu, who disappeared after 664). Although both Œthelwald and Aldfrith were Oswiu's relations who may have received their sub-king status from him, both used Deira separatist sentiments to try to snatch independent rule of Deira. Ultimately, neither were successful and Oswiu's son Ecgfrith succeeded him to maintain the integrated Northumbrian line. While violent conflicts between Bernicia and Deira played a significant part in determining which line ultimately gained supremacy in Northumbria, marriage alliances also helped bind these two territories together.
Æthelfrith 200px, The main Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in the 7th century. Æthelfrith (died c. 616) was King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco Ki ...
married Edwin's sister Acha, although this marriage did little to prevent future squabbles between the brothers-in-law and their descendants. The second intermarriage was more successful, with
Oswiu Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig ( ang, Ōswīg) (c. 612 – 15 February 670), was King of Bernicia Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is n ...
marrying
Edwin The name Edwin means "rich friend". It comes from the Old English elements "ead" (rich, blessed) and "wine" (friend). The original Anglo-Saxon form is Eadwine, which is also found for Anglo-Saxon figures. Edwin may refer to: People * Edwin of ...
's daughter and his own cousin
Eanflæd Eanflæd (19 April 626 – after 685, also known as Enfleda) was a Deiran princess, queen of Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now Northern ...
to produce Ecgfrith, the beginning of the Northumbrian line. However, Oswiu had another relationship with an Irish woman named Fina which produced the problematic Aldfrith. In his ''Life and Miracles of St.
Cuthbert Cuthbert (c. 634 – 20 March 687), possibly Cutimbetas/ Stombast, was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United King ...
,'' Bede declares that Aldfrith, known as Fland among the Irish, was illegitimate and therefore unfit to rule.


Northumbria and Norse settlement

The
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th century, 8th to the late 11th century, 11th centur ...

Viking
invasions of the ninth century and the establishment of the
Danelaw The Danelaw (, also known as the Danelagh; ang, Dena lagu; da, Danelagen) was the part of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and ...
once again divided Northumbria. Although primarily recorded in the southern provinces of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. En ...

England
, the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals in Old English, chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the ''Chronicle'' was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfre ...
s (particularly the D and E recensions) provide some information on Northumbria's conflicts with Vikings in the late eighth and early ninth centuries. According to these chronicles, Viking raids began to affect Northumbria when a band attacked Lindisfarne in 793. After this initial catastrophic blow, Viking raids in Northumbria were either sporadic for much of the early ninth century or evidence of them was lost. However, in 865 the so-called
Great Heathen Army The Great Heathen Army ( ang, mycel hæþen here; da, Store Hedenske Hær), also known as the Viking Great Army,Hadley. "The Winter Camp of the Viking Great Army, AD 872–3, Torksey, Lincolnshire", ''Antiquaries Journal''. 96, pp. 23–67 ...
landed in
East Anglia East Anglia is a geographical area in the East of England. The area included has varied but the legally defined Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, NUTS statistical unit comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshir ...
and began a sustained campaign of conquest. 865 The Great Army fought in Northumbria in 866–867, striking
York York is a cathedral city with Roman origins at the confluence of the rivers River Ouse, Yorkshire, Ouse and River Foss, Foss in North Yorkshire, England. It is the historic county town of Yorkshire. The city has long-standing buildings and stru ...

York
twice in less than one year. After the initial attack the Norse left to go north, leaving Kings Ælle and Osberht to recapture the city. The E recension of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle suggests that Northumbria was particularly vulnerable at this time because the Northumbrians were once again fighting among themselves, deposing Osberht in favor of Ælle. In the second raid the Vikings killed the Northumbrian kings Ælle and Osberht while recapturing the city. After King
Alfred Alfred may refer to: Arts and entertainment *''Alfred J. Kwak'', Dutch-German-Japanese anime television series *Alfred (Arne opera), ''Alfred'' (Arne opera), a 1740 masque by Thomas Arne *Alfred (Dvořák opera), ''Alfred'' (Dvořák opera), an ...

Alfred
reestablished his control of southern England the Norse invaders settled into what came to be known as the Danelaw in the
Midlands The Midlands is the central part of England and a cultural area that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Mercia, Kingdom of Mercia. The Midlands region is bordered by Northern England and Southern England. The Midlands were important in th ...
,
East Anglia East Anglia is a geographical area in the East of England. The area included has varied but the legally defined Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, NUTS statistical unit comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshir ...
, and the southern part of Northumbria. In Northumbria, the Norse established the
Kingdom of York Scandinavian York (referred to at the time as ) or Danish York is a term used by historians for the south of Northumbria (modern-day Yorkshire) during the period of the late 9th century and first half of the 10th century, when it was dominated ...
whose boundaries were roughly the
River Tees The River Tees (), in northern England, rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fell in the North Pennines and flows eastwards for to reach the North Sea between Hartlepool and Redcar near Middlesbrough. The modern day history of the river has been ...
and the Humber, giving it approximately the same dimensions as Deira. Although this kingdom fell to Hiberno-Norse colonizers in the 920s and was in constant conflict with the West-Saxon expansionists from the south, it survived until 954 when the last Scandinavian king Eric, who is usually identified as
Eric Bloodaxe Eric Haraldsson (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their Viking expansion, overseas settlements from about the 7t ...
, was driven out and eventually killed. In contrast, the Great Army was not as successful in conquering territory north of the River Tees. There were raids that extended into that area, but no sources mention lasting Norse occupation and there are very few
Scandinavian A Scandinavian is a resident of Scandinavia or something associated with the region, including: Culture * Scandinavianism, political and cultural movement * Scandinavian design, a design movement of the 1950s * Scandinavian folklore * Scandinavia ...

Scandinavian
place names to indicate significant Norse settlement in northern regions of Northumbria. The political landscape of the area north of the Tees during the Viking conquest of Northumbria consisted of the Community of St. Cuthbert and the remnants of the English Northumbrian elites. While the religious Community of St. Cuthbert "wandered" for a hundred years after
Halfdan Ragnarsson Halfdan Ragnarsson ( non, Hálfdan; oe, Halfdene or ''Healfdene''; sga, Albann; died 877) was a Viking leader and a commander of the Great Heathen Army which invaded the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, kingdoms of England, starting in 865. ...
attacked their original home Lindisfarne in 875, The indicates that they settled temporarily at
Chester-le-Street Chester-le-Street () is a market town and civil parish in County Durham, England. Its history goes back to the building of a Roman fort called Concangis. This Roman fort is the "Chester" (from the Latin ''castra'') of the town's name; the "Street ...
between the years 875–883 on land granted to them by the Viking King of York,
Guthred Guthred or Guthfrith (Old Norse: ''Guðrøðr''; la, Guthfridus, Guthrethus, etc. died 24 August 895 AD) was the king of Scandinavian York, Viking Northumbria from circa 883 until his death. Life Kings of Northumbria in the Norse era The firs ...
. According to the twelfth-century account ''Historia Regum'', Guthred granted them this land in exchange for their raising him up as king. The land extended from the Tees to the Tyne and anyone who fled there from either the north or the south would receive sanctuary for thirty-seven days, indicating that the Community of St. Cuthbert had some juridical autonomy. Based on their positioning and this right of sanctuary, this community may have acted as a buffer between the Norse in southern Northumbria and the Anglo-Saxons who continued to hold the north. North of the Tyne, Northumbrians maintained partial political control in
Bamburgh Bamburgh ( ) is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish on the coast of Northumberland, England. It had a population of 454 in 2001, decreasing to 414 at the 2011 census. The village is notable for the nearby Bamburgh Castle, a cast ...
. The rule of kings continued in that area with Ecgberht I acting as regent around 867 and the kings Ricsige and Ecgberht II immediately following him. According to twelfth-century historian
Symeon of Durham__NOTOC__ Symeon (or Simeon) of Durham (died after 1129) was an English chronicler and a monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic la ...
, Ecgberht I was a client-king for the Norse. The Northumbrians revolted against him in 872, deposing him in favor of Ricsige. Although the A and E recensions of the ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' report that Halfdan was able to take control of Deira and take a raiding party north of the River Tyne to impose his rule on Bernicia in 874, after Halfdan's death (c. 877) the Norse had difficulty holding on to territory in northern Bernicia. Ricsige and his successor Ecgberht were able to maintain an English presence in Northumbria. After the reign of Ecgberht II,
EadwulfEadwulf (sometimes Eadulf) is an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its w ...
"King of the North Saxons" (r. 890–912) succeeded him for control of Bamburgh, but after Eadwulf rulership of this area switched over to earls who may have also been related to the last of the royal Northumbrian house.


Kings


Æthelfrith (r. 593–616)

Æthelfrith 200px, The main Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in the 7th century. Æthelfrith (died c. 616) was King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco Ki ...
was the first Anglo-Saxon leader to hold the thrones of both
Deira Deira ( or ) (Old Welsh/Cumbric language, Cumbric: ''Deywr'' or ''Deifr'', ang, Derenrice or ), was an area of Post-Roman Britain, and a later Angles, Anglian kingdom. Etymology The name of the kingdom is of British language (Celtic), Brythonic ...
and
Bernicia Bernicia (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval ...
, and so he ruled over all the people north of the
Humber The Humber is a large tidal estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone betw ...
. His rule was notable for his numerous victories over the
Britons The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies.: British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and na ...
and the
Gaels The Gaels (; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group native to Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It i ...
.


Edwin (r. 616–633)

Edwin The name Edwin means "rich friend". It comes from the Old English elements "ead" (rich, blessed) and "wine" (friend). The original Anglo-Saxon form is Eadwine, which is also found for Anglo-Saxon figures. Edwin may refer to: People * Edwin of ...
, like Æthelfrith, was king of both Deira and Bernicia and ruled them from 616 to 633. Under his reign the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
and the lands of
Gwynedd Gwynedd (; ) is a county in Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and ...

Gwynedd
in Northern Wales were incorporated into Northumbria. Edwin married Æthelburh, a Christian Princess from
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived ...

Kent
in 625. He converted to Christianity two years later after a period of heavy consideration and after consulting numerous advisors. Edwin fell in battle in 633 against Cadwallon of Gwynedd and the pagan
Penda of Mercia Penda (died 15 November 655)Manuscript A of the ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals in Old English, chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the ''Chronicle'' was c ...

Penda of Mercia
. He was venerated as a saint and martyr after his death.


Oswald (r. 634–642)

Oswald was a King of Bernicia, who regained the kingdom of Deira after defeating Cadwallon in 634. Oswald then ruled Northumbria until his death in 642. A devout Christian, Oswald worked tirelessly to spread the religion in his traditionally pagan lands. It was during his reign that the monastery at
Lindisfarne The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, commonly known as either Holy Island or Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland Northumberland () is a cerem ...
was created. Oswald fell in the Battle of Maserfield against
Penda of Mercia Penda (died 15 November 655)Manuscript A of the ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals in Old English, chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the ''Chronicle'' was c ...

Penda of Mercia
in 642 but his influence endured because, like Edwin, Oswald was venerated as a saint after his death.


Oswiu (r. 642–670)

Oswiu was the brother of Oswald and succeeded him after the latter's defeat in Maserfield. Oswiu succeeded where Edwin and Oswald failed as, in 655, he slew Penda during the
Battle of the Winwaed The Battle of the Winwaed ( Welsh: ''Maes Gai''; lat-med, Strages Gai Campi) was fought on 15 November 655 between King Penda of Mercia Penda (died 15 November 655)Manuscript A of the ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Ch ...
, making him the first Northumbrian King to also control the kingdom of
Mercia Mercia (, ang, Miercna rīċe; la, Merciorum regnum) was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. The name is a Latinisation (literature), Latinisation of the Old English or (West Saxon dialect; in the Mercian dialect ...

Mercia
. During his reign, he presided over the
Synod of Whitby In the Synod of Whitby in 664, King Oswiu of Northumbria Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig ( ang, Ōswīg) (c. 612 – 15 February 670), was King of Bernicia from 642 and of Kingdom of Northumbria, Northumbria from 654 until his death. He is no ...
, an attempt to reconcile religious differences between Roman and Celtic Christianity, in which he eventually backed Rome. Oswiu died from illness in 670 and divided Deira and Bernicia between two of his sons.


Halfdan Ragnarsson (r. 876–877)

Halfdan Ragnarsson was a
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th century, 8th to the late 11th century, 11th centur ...

Viking
leader of the
Great Heathen Army The Great Heathen Army ( ang, mycel hæþen here; da, Store Hedenske Hær), also known as the Viking Great Army,Hadley. "The Winter Camp of the Viking Great Army, AD 872–3, Torksey, Lincolnshire", ''Antiquaries Journal''. 96, pp. 23–67 ...
which invaded England in 865. He allegedly wanted revenge against Northumbria for the death of his father, who was supposedly killed by Ælla of Northumbria. While he himself only ruled Northumbria directly for about a year in 876, he placed Ecgberht on the throne as a client-king, who ruled from 867 to 872. Halfdan was killed in Ireland in 877 whilst trying to regain control over
Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, it lies within the Provinces of Ireland, province of Leinster. It is bordered on the sou ...
, a land he had ruled since 875. There were no further Viking kings in Northumbria until Guthfrith took over in 883.


Æthelstan of Wessex (r. 927–939)

Æthelstan ruled as
King of the Anglo-Saxons This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various History of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, unti ...
from 924 to 927 and
King of the English This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, who initially ruled Kingdom of Wessex, Wessex, one of the heptarchy, seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King ...
from 927 to 939. The shift in his title reflects that in 927, Æthelstan conquered the Viking Kingdom of
York York is a cathedral city with Roman origins at the confluence of the rivers River Ouse, Yorkshire, Ouse and River Foss, Foss in North Yorkshire, England. It is the historic county town of Yorkshire. The city has long-standing buildings and stru ...

York
, previously part of the Northumbrian Kingdom. His reign was quite prosperous and saw great strides in many fields such as law and economics, but was also characterized by frequent clashes with the Scots and the Vikings. Æthelstan died in 939, which led to the Vikings' retaking of York. Æthelstan is widely considered one of the greatest Anglo-Saxon kings for his efforts to consolidate the English kingdom and the prosperity his reign brought.


Eric of York (r. 947–948, 952–954)

In the early twentieth century, historians identified Eric of York with the Norwegian king Eric Bloodaxe, but more recent scholarship has challenged this association. He held two short terms as King of Northumbria, from 947 to 948 and 952 to 954. Historical documentation on his reign is scarce, but it seems Eric pushed out the joint English-
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th century, 8th to the late 11th century, 11th centur ...

Viking
rulers of Northumbria in 947, who then regained the land in 948 or 949. Eric took back the throne in 952, only to be deposed again in 954. Eric of York was the last Danish king of Northumbria; after his death in 954,
Eadred Eadred (also Edred, 'the Weak-in-the-Feet') (923 – 23 November 955) was King of the English This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, who initially ruled Kingdom of Wessex, Wessex, one of the ...
of Wessex stripped the kingdom of its independent status and made the land part of England.


Eadred of Wessex (r. 946–954)

Eadred of Wessex was the half-brother of
Æthelstan Æthelstan or Athelstan (; ang, Æðelstān ; on, Aðalsteinn; meaning "noble stone"; 894 – 27 October 939) was List of monarchs of Wessex, King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 and List of English monarchs, King of the English from 927 ...
and
Eadmund Edmund is a masculine given name or surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name that indicates their family, tribe or community. Practices vary by culture. The family name may be pl ...
of Wessex, all of whom were fathered by
Edward the Elder Edward the Elder (c. 874– 17 July 924) was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 899 until his death. He was the elder son of Alfred the Great and his wife Ealhswith. When Edward succeeded to the throne, he had to defeat a challenge from his cousin ...
. He was nominally the ruler of Northumbria from 946, as he succeeded Eadmund, but had to deal with the threat of independent Viking kingdoms under
Amlaíb Cuarán Amlaíb mac Sitric (''c''. 927980; Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their Viking expansion, overseas settlements f ...
and
Eric Bloodaxe Eric Haraldsson (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their Viking expansion, overseas settlements from about the 7t ...
. He permanently absorbed Northumbria into the in 954 after the death of Eric.


Politics and war

Between the years of 737 AD and 806 AD, Northumbria had ten kings, all of whom were murdered, deposed, or exiled or became monks. Between
Oswiu Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig ( ang, Ōswīg) (c. 612 – 15 February 670), was King of Bernicia Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is n ...
, the first king of Northumbria in 654, and
Eric Bloodaxe Eric Haraldsson (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their Viking expansion, overseas settlements from about the 7t ...
, the last king of Northumbria in 954, there were forty-five kings, meaning that the average length of reign during the entire history of Northumbria is only six and a half years. Of the twenty-five kings before the Danish rule of Northumbria, only four died of natural causes. Of those that did not abdicate for a holy life, the rest were either deposed, exiled, or murdered. Kings during the Danish rule of Northumbria (see
Danelaw The Danelaw (, also known as the Danelagh; ang, Dena lagu; da, Danelagen) was the part of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and ...
) were often either kings of a larger North Sea or Danish empire, or were installed rulers. Succession in Northumbria was hereditary, which left princes whose fathers died before they could come of age particularly susceptible to assassination and usurpation. A noteworthy example of this phenomenon is Osred, whose father Aldfrith died in 705, leaving the young boy to rule. He survived one assassination attempt early in his rule, but fell victim to another assassin at the age of nineteen. During his reign he was adopted by Wilfrid, a powerful bishop. Ecclesiastical influence in the royal court was not an unusual phenomenon in Northumbria, and usually was most visible during the rule of a young or inexperienced king. Similarly, ealdorman, or royal advisors, had periods of increased or decreased power in Northumbria, depending on who was ruling at the time. Warfare in Northumbria before the Danish period largely consisted of rivalries with the
Picts , Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area, Historic counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay an ...
to the north. The Northumbrians were successful against the Picts until the
Battle of Dun Nechtain The Battle of Dun Nechtain or Battle of Nechtansmere ( Scottish Gaelic: ''Blàr Dhùn Neachdain'', Old Irish: ''Dún Nechtain'', Old Welsh: ''Gueith Linn Garan'', Modern Welsh: ''Gwaith Llyn Garan'', Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo ...
in 685, which halted their expansion north and established a border between the two kingdoms. Warfare during the Danish period was dominated by warfare between the Northumbrians and other English Kingdoms.


Ealdormen and earldoms of Northumbria

After the English of Wessex absorbed the Danish-ruled territories in the southern part of the former kingdom, Scots invasions reduced the rump Northumbria to an earldom stretching from the Tees to the Tweed. The surviving Earldom of Northumbria was then disputed between the emerging kingdoms of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. En ...

England
and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) Anglo-Scottish bo ...

Scotland
, to be split roughly in half along the
River Tweed The River Tweed, or Tweed Water ( gd, Abhainn Thuaidh, sco, Watter o Tweid, cy, Tuedd), is a river long that flows east across the Border region The Border Region is a Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, NUTS Level III NUTS 3 s ...
.


Religion


Roman and post-Roman Britain

Under
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...

Roman
rule, some
Britons The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies.: British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and na ...
north of the
Humber The Humber is a large tidal estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone betw ...
practised Christianity. In fact, York had a
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chur ...
as early as the fourth century. After the Romans left Britain in the early fifth century, Christianity did not disappear, but it existed alongside Celtic paganism, and possibly many other cults. Anglo-Saxons brought their own Germanic pagan beliefs and practices when they settled there. At
Yeavering Yeavering () is a very small hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. It is Shakespeare's longest play, with 29,551 ...
, in
Bernicia Bernicia (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval ...
, excavations have uncovered evidence of a pagan shrine, animal sacrifice, and ritual burials.


Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity

The first King of Northumbria to convert to Christianity was King Edwin. He was baptized by Paulinus in 627. Shortly thereafter, many of his people followed his conversion to the new religion, only to return to paganism when Edwin was killed in 633. Paulinus was
Bishop of York The Archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England, second only to the archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York, which covers the n ...
, but only for a year. The lasting conversion of Northumbria took place under the guidance of the Irish cleric Aidan. He converted of Northumbria in 635, and then worked to convert the people of Northumbria. King Oswald moved the bishopric from York to
Lindisfarne The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, commonly known as either Holy Island or Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland Northumberland () is a cerem ...
.


Monasteries and figures of note

The monastery at
Lindisfarne The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, commonly known as either Holy Island or Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland Northumberland () is a cerem ...
was founded by Aidan in 635, and based on the practices of the Columban monastery in Iona, Scotland. The location of the bishopric shifted to Lindisfarne, and it became the centre for religion in Northumbria. The bishopric would not leave Lindisfarne and shift back to its original location at York until 664. Throughout the eighth century, Lindisfarne was associated with important figures. Aidan, the founder,
Wilfrid Wilfrid (c. 633 – 709 or 710) was an English bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within ...

Wilfrid
, a student, and
Cuthbert Cuthbert (c. 634 – 20 March 687), possibly Cutimbetas/ Stombast, was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United King ...
, a member of the order and a hermit, all became bishops and later Saints. Aidan assisted Heiu to found her double monastery at
Hartlepool Hartlepool () is a port town in the Borough of Hartlepool, of which it is the administrative centre, in County Durham County Durham ( ) is a ceremonial county in North East England.North East Assembly About North East England. Retri ...

Hartlepool
. She too came to be venerated as a saint. The Christianity culture of Northumbria was influenced by the continent as well as
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in ...

Ireland
. In particular, Wilfrid travelled to
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
and abandoned the traditions of the
Celtic church Celtic Christianity ( kw, Kristoneth; cy, Cristnogaeth; gd, Crìosdaidheachd; gv, Credjue Creestee/Creestiaght; ga, Críostaíocht/Críostúlacht; br, Kristeniezh) is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrah ...
in favour of Roman practices. When he returned to
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. En ...

England
, he became abbot of a new monastery at
Ripon Ripon () is a cathedral city in the Harrogate (borough), Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. The city is located at the confluence of two tributaries of the River Ure, the River Laver, Laver and River Skell, Skell. Historic counties ...

Ripon
in 660. Wilfrid advocated acceptance of the authority of Rome at the
Synod of Whitby In the Synod of Whitby in 664, King Oswiu of Northumbria Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig ( ang, Ōswīg) (c. 612 – 15 February 670), was King of Bernicia from 642 and of Kingdom of Northumbria, Northumbria from 654 until his death. He is no ...
. The two-halves of the double monastery Monkwearmouth–Jarrow were founded by the nobleman
Benedict Biscop Benedict Biscop (pronounced "bishop";  – 690), also known as Biscop Baducing, was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of ...
in 673 and 681. Biscop became the first abbot of the monastery, and travelled to Rome six times to buy books for the library. His successor, Abbot Ceolfrith, continued to add to the library until by one estimate the library at Monkwearmouth–Jarrow had over two hundred volumes. One who benefited from this library was Bede. In the early seventh century in York, Paulinus founded a school and a minster, but not a monastery. The School at York Minster is one of the oldest in England. By the late eighth century, the school had a noteworthy library, estimated at one hundred volumes.
Alcuin Alcuin of York (; la, Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus; 735 – 19 May 804) – also called Ealhwine, Alhwin, or Alchoin – was an English scholar, clergyman, poet, and teacher from York, Northumbria. He was born around 735 and became the ...
was a student and teacher at York before he left for the court of
Charlemagne Charlemagne (; ) or Charles the Great or ''Carolus'', whence in English or in German (for this individual, specifically ''Karl der Große''). The French form and the Italian or () come from his nickname ("Charles the Great")., ''Karil' ...

Charlemagne
in 782.


Synod of Whitby

In 664, King
Oswiu Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig ( ang, Ōswīg) (c. 612 – 15 February 670), was King of Bernicia Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is n ...
called the Synod of Whitby to determine whether to follow Roman or Irish customs. Since Northumbria was converted to Christianity by the Celtic clergy, the Celtic tradition for determining the date of
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...
and Irish tonsure were supported by many, particularly by the Abbey of
Lindisfarne The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, commonly known as either Holy Island or Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland Northumberland () is a cerem ...
. Roman Christianity was also represented in Northumbria, by
Wilfrid Wilfrid (c. 633 – 709 or 710) was an English bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within ...

Wilfrid
, Abbot of
Ripon Ripon () is a cathedral city in the Harrogate (borough), Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. The city is located at the confluence of two tributaries of the River Ure, the River Laver, Laver and River Skell, Skell. Historic counties ...

Ripon
. By the year 620, both sides were associating the other's Easter observance with the Pelagian Heresy. The King decided at Whitby that Roman practice would be adopted throughout Northumbria, thereby bringing Northumbria in line with Southern England and Western Europe. Book III chapter 25–26 Members of the clergy who refused to conform, including the Celtic Bishop Colman of Lindisfarne, returned to Iona. The episcopal seat of Northumbria transferred from Lindisfarne to York, which later became an
archbishopric In church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted ...
in 735.


Impact of Scandinavian raiding, settlement and culture

The in 793 was the first of many raids on monasteries of Northumbria. The
Lindisfarne Gospels upright=1.2, Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit from the Gospel of Matthew. The Lindisfarne Gospels (London, British Library Cotton MS Nero D.IV) is an illuminated manuscript An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript ...
survived, but monastic culture in Northumbria went into a period of decline in the early ninth century. Repeated Viking assaults on religious centres were one reason for the decrease in production of manuscripts and communal monastic culture. After 867, Northumbria came under control of the Scandinavian forces, and there was an influx of Scandinavian immigrants. Their religion was pagan and had a rich mythology. Within the Kingdom of York, once the raids and war were over, there is no evidence that the presence of Scandinavian settlers interrupted Christian practice. It appears that they gradually adopted Christianity and blended their Scandinavian culture with their new religion. This can be seen in carved stone monuments and ring-headed crosses, such as the
Gosforth Cross The Gosforth Cross is a large stone Anglo-Saxon cross, in St Mary's churchyard at Gosforth Gosforth is a suburb of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, North East England. It is situated to the north of Central Newcastle. Gosforth ...

Gosforth Cross
. During the ninth and tenth centuries, there was an increase in the number of
parish church in North Devon, England Image:St Lawrence's Church nave and chancel, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire.jpg, Inside the parish church of Saint Lawrence in Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire, England A parish church (or parochial church) i ...
es, often including stone sculptures incorporating Scandinavian designs.


Culture

250px, The colophon to the Gospel of Matthew from the Durham Gospel Fragment, featuring non-zoomorphic interlace patterns.


Golden Age of Northumbria

The Christian culture of Northumbria, fuelled by influences from the continent and Ireland, promoted a broad range of literary and artistic works.


Insular art

The Irish monks who converted Northumbria to Christianity, and established monasteries such as
Lindisfarne The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, commonly known as either Holy Island or Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland Northumberland () is a cerem ...
, brought a style of artistic and literary production. Eadfrith of Lindisfarne produced the
Lindisfarne Gospels upright=1.2, Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit from the Gospel of Matthew. The Lindisfarne Gospels (London, British Library Cotton MS Nero D.IV) is an illuminated manuscript An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript ...
in an Insular style. The Irish monks brought with them an ancient Celtic decorative tradition of curvilinear forms of spirals, scrolls, and doubles curves. This style was integrated with the abstract ornamentation of the native pagan Anglo-Saxon metalwork tradition, characterized by its bright colouring and
zoomorphic The word ''zoomorphism'' derives from the Greek ζωον (''zōon''), meaning "animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, ...
interlace patterns. Insular art, rich in symbolism and meaning, is characterized by its concern for geometric design rather than naturalistic representation, love of flat areas of colour, and use of complicated interlace patterns. All of these elements appear in the Lindisfarne Gospels (early eighth century). The Insular style was eventually imported to the European continent, exercising great influence on the art of the
Carolingian empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Franks, Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of ...
. Usage of the Insular style was not limited to manuscript production and metalwork. It can be seen in and sculpture, such as the
Ruthwell Cross The Ruthwell Cross is a stone Anglo-Saxon cross probably dating from the 8th century, when the village of Ruthwell, now in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the Unit ...
and Bewcastle Cross. The devastating in 793 marked the beginning of a century of Viking invasions that severely limited the production and survival of Anglo-Saxon material culture. It heralded the end of Northumbria's position as a centre of influence, although in the years immediately following visually rich works like the
Easby Cross The Easby Cross is an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west an ...
were still being produced.


Literature

The Venerable
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sanc ...

Bede
(673–735) is the most famous author of the Anglo-Saxon Period, and a native of Northumbria. His (Ecclesiastical History of the English People, completed in 731) has become both a template for later historians and a crucial historical account in its own right, and much of it focuses on Northumbria. He's also famous for his theological works, and verse and prose accounts of holy lives. After the
Synod of Whitby In the Synod of Whitby in 664, King Oswiu of Northumbria Oswiu, also known as Oswy or Oswig ( ang, Ōswīg) (c. 612 – 15 February 670), was King of Bernicia from 642 and of Kingdom of Northumbria, Northumbria from 654 until his death. He is no ...
, the role of the European continent gained importance in Northumbrian culture. During the end of the eighth century, the scriptorium at Monkwearmouth–Jarrow was producing manuscripts of his works for high demand on the Continent. Northumbria was also home to several Anglo-Saxon
Christian poets Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koin ...
.
Cædmon Cædmon (; ''fl. c.'' 657 – 684) is the earliest English poet whose name is known. A Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now Northern Eng ...
lived at the
double monasteryA double monastery (also dual monastery or double house) is a monastery combining separate communities of monks and of nuns, joined in one institution to share one church and other facilities. The practice is believed to have started in the East at ...
of Streonæshalch (
Whitby Abbey Whitby is a seaside town, port and civil parish in the Borough of Scarborough, Scarborough borough of North Yorkshire, England. Situated on the east coast of Yorkshire at the mouth of the River Esk, North Yorkshire, River Esk, Whitby has a mari ...

Whitby Abbey
) during the abbacy (657–680) of St. Hilda (614–680). According to Bede, he "was wont to make religious verses, so that whatever was interpreted to him out of
scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a ...
, he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of much sweetness and humility in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
, which was his native language. By his verse the minds of many were often excited to despise the world, and to aspire to heaven." Book 4 Chapter 24 His sole surviving work is Cædmon's Hymn.
Cynewulf Cynewulf (, ; also spelled Cynwulf or Kynewulf) is one of twelve Old English poets known by name, and one of four whose work is known to survive today. He presumably flourished in the 9th century, with possible dates extending into the late 8th ...
, prolific author of ''
The Fates of the Apostles "The Fates of the Apostles" (Vercelli Book The Vercelli Book is one of the oldest of Anglo-Saxon literature#Extant manuscripts, the four Old English Poetic Codices (the others being the Junius manuscript, the Exeter Book, and the Nowell Codex). It ...
'', '' Juliana'', ''Elene'', and ''Christ II'', is believed to have been either Northumbrian or
Mercia Mercia (, ang, Miercna rīċe; la, Merciorum regnum) was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. The name is a Latinisation (literature), Latinisation of the Old English or (West Saxon dialect; in the Mercian dialect ...

Mercia
n.


Scandinavians and the Danelaw

From around 800, there had been waves of Danish raids on the coastlines of the British Isles. These raids terrorized the populace, but exposure to Danish society brought new opportunities for wealth and trade. In 865, instead of raiding, the Danes landed a large army in East Anglia, and had conquered a territory known as the
Danelaw The Danelaw (, also known as the Danelagh; ang, Dena lagu; da, Danelagen) was the part of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and ...
, including Northumbria, by 867. At first, the
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami languages, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a Subregion#Europe, subregion in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' can refer to Denmark, Norw ...

Scandinavia
n minority, while politically powerful, remained culturally distinct from the English populace. For example, only a few Scandinavian words, mostly military and technical, became part of
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
. By the early 900s, however, Scandinavian-style names for both people and places became increasingly popular, as did Scandinavian ornamentation on works of art, featuring aspects of Norse mythology, and figures of animals and warriors. Nevertheless, sporadic references to "Danes" in charters, chronicles, and laws indicate that during the lifetime of the Kingdom of Northumbria, most inhabitants of northeast England did not consider themselves Danish, and were not perceived as such by other Anglo-Saxons. The synthesis of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian and Christian and Pagan
visual motifs The visual system comprises the sensory organ (the eye) and parts of the central nervous system (the retina containing photoreceptor cells, the optic nerve, the optic tract and the visual cortex) which gives organisms the sense of sight (the ab ...
within the Danelaw can be illustrated by an examination of stone sculpture. However, the tradition of mixing pagan and Christian motifs is not unique to the Danelaw, and examples of such synthesis can be seen in previous examples, such as the Franks Casket. The
Franks Casket The Franks Casket (or the Auzon Casket) is a small Anglo-Saxon whale's bone (not "whalebone" in the sense of baleen) chest from the early 8th century, now in the British Museum. The casket is densely decorated with knife-cut narrative scenes in ...

Franks Casket
, believed to have been produced in Northumbria, includes depictions of Germanic legends and stories of the founding Roman and the Roman Church and is dated to the early eighth century. The Gosforth Cross, dated to the early tenth century, stands at 4.4 meters and is richly decorated with carvings of mythical beasts, Norse gods, and Christian symbolism. Stone sculpture was not a practice of native Scandinavian culture, and the proliferation of stone monuments within the Danelaw shows the influence that the English had on Viking settlers. On one side of the Gosforth Cross is a depiction of the Crucifixion; whilst on the other are scenes from Ragnarok. The melding of these distinctive religious cultures can further be seen in the depiction of Mary Magdalene as a valkyrie, with a trailing dress and long pigtail. Although one can read the iconography as the triumph of Christianity over paganism, it is possible that in the process of gradual conversion the Vikings might have initially accepted the Christian god as an addition to the broad pantheon of Pagan gods. The inclusion of pagan traditions in visual culture reflects the creation of a distinctive
Anglo-Scandinavian ''Anglo-Scandinavian'' is an academic term referring to the archaeological and historical periods during the 8th to 13th centuries in which there was migration to - and occupation of - the British Isles by North Germanic peoples, Scandinavians gener ...
culture. Consequently, this indicates that conversion not only required a change in belief, but also necessitated its assimilation, integration, and modification into existing cultural structures.


Economy

Northumbria's economy centred around agriculture, with livestock and land being popular units of value in local trade. By the mid 800s, the
Open field system 300px, Generic map of a medieval manor, showing strip farming. The mustard-colored areas are part of the hatched areas part of the glebe">hatching.html" ;"title="demesne, the hatching">hatched areas part of the glebe. William R. Shepherd, ''His ...
was likely the pre-eminent mode of farming. Like much of eastern England, Northumbria exported grain, silver, hides, and slaves. Imports from Frankia included oil, luxury goods, and clerical supplies in the 700s. Especially after 793, raids, gifts, and trade with Scandinavians resulted in substantial economic ties across the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Great Britain (specifically England and Scotland), Norway, Jutland (in Denmark), Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Hauts-de-France (in France). An epeiric sea, epeiric (or "shelf") sea on ...

North Sea
. When
coinage ''COINage'', a bi-monthly United States, American special-interest magazine, targeting Numismatics, numismatists and coin investment, investors. Behn-Miller Publications, Inc. - under the joint ownership of Gordon Behn and ''COINage'' editorial dire ...
(as opposed to bartering) regained popularity in the late 600s, Northumbrian coins featured kings' names, indicating royal control of currency. Royal currency was unique in Britain for a long time. King Aldfrith (685–705) minted Northumbria's earliest silver coins, likely in York. Later royal coinage bears the name of King Eadberht (738–758), as well as his brother, archbishop Ecgbert of York. These coins were primarily small silver
sceat A ( ; ang, sceatt , ) was a small, thick silver coin minted in England, Friesland, Frisia, and Jutland during the Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon period. History Its name derives from Old English ', meaning "wealth", "money", and "coin", whi ...
tas, more suitable to small, everyday transactions than larger gold Frankish or Roman coins. During the reign of King Eanred the silver content of the coins declined until they were produced in copper alloy, these coins are commonly known as stycas, but the term is an antiquarian invention. Stycas remains in use throughout the kingdom until at least the 860s and possibly later. Larger
bullion Bullion is non-ferrous metal In metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, int ...
values can be seen in the silver ingots found in the Bedale Hoard, along with sword fittings and necklaces in gold and silver.


Language

In the time of
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sanc ...

Bede
, there were five languages in Britain:
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
,
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependenc ...
,
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
,
Pictish Pictish is the extinct language spoken by the Picts , Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area, Historic counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area ...
, and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...
. Northumbrian was one of four distinct dialects of
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
, along with Mercian, West Saxon, and Kentish. Analysis of written texts, brooches, runes and other available sources shows that Northumbrian vowel pronunciation differed from West Saxon. Although loans borrowed from the
Celtic Languages The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication u ...
, such as the
Common Brittonic Common Brittonic ( ang, Brytisċ; cy, Brythoneg; kw, Brythonek; br, Predeneg), also known as Common Brythonic or Proto-Brittonic, was a Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-C ...
language of the Britons, and the
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
of the
Irish missionaries Image:Columbanus at Bobbio.jpg, Fresco of Saint Columbanus in Brugnato Cathedral The Hiberno-Scottish mission was a series of missions and expeditions initiated by various Irish clerics and cleric-scholars who, for the most part, are not known to h ...
, into Old English were few, some place-names such as
Deira Deira ( or ) (Old Welsh/Cumbric language, Cumbric: ''Deywr'' or ''Deifr'', ang, Derenrice or ), was an area of Post-Roman Britain, and a later Angles, Anglian kingdom. Etymology The name of the kingdom is of British language (Celtic), Brythonic ...
and
Bernicia Bernicia (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval ...
derive their names from Celtic tribal origins. In addition to the five languages present in Bede's day,
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and th ...
was added during the ninth century. This was due to the settlements of the
Norse Norse is demonym for Norsemen, a medieval North Germanic ethnolinguistic group ancestral to modern Scandinavians, defined as speakers of Old Norse from about the 9th to the 13th centuries. Norse may also refer to: Culture and religion * Norse m ...
in the north and east of England, an area that became the
Danelaw The Danelaw (, also known as the Danelagh; ang, Dena lagu; da, Danelagen) was the part of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and ...
. This language had a strong influence on the dialect of Northumbria. These settlers gave the region many place-names from their language as well as contributing to the vocabulary, syntax, and grammar of Old English. Similarities in basic vocabulary between Old English and Old Norse may have led to dropping of their different inflectional endings. The number of borrowed words is conservatively estimated to be around nine-hundred in standard English but rises to the thousands in some dialects.


See also

* History of Northumberland * Northumbrian music * Northumbrian smallpipes * Northumbrian tartan * English of Northumbria * Geordie dialect words


Footnotes


Notes


References


Primary sources

* * * * (Parallel Latin text and English translation with English notes.) * * * * * * * * * *


Secondary sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Lowlands-L, An e-mail discussion list for those who share an interest in the languages & cultures of the Lowlands

Lowlands-L in Nothumbrian



Northumbrian Small Pipes Encyclopedia



Visit Northumberland – The Official Visitor Site for Northumberland
{{coord, 55, 00, N, 2, 30, W, display=title, region:GB_type:country_source:GNS-enwiki Northumbria, Lothian North East England Northumberland Regions of England History of the Scottish Borders 954 disestablishments 653 establishments States and territories disestablished in the 950s Anglo-Saxon kingdoms Former kingdoms States and territories established in the 650s