Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree -
Britons of Strathclyde
SDFA member, Adam
Bigham from East Lansing, Michigan, sent the following article in
for our newsletter and gave permission for it to be used in The
kingdom in the history of Scotland is that of the Britons:
specifically the Britons of Strathclyde. After Roman rule was
withdrawn from Britain at the beginning of the 5th century,
several kingdoms gradually emerged. That which was later called
Strathclyde was based on the British tribal division of the
Damnonii around Dumbarton, or Alcluith, the Rock of the Clyde.
At its greatest extent, Strathclyde stretched as far south and
southeast as to include Galloway and Cumbria. Linguists classify
the language of the ancient Britons as a Brythonic (or Brittonic)
century ruler, Ceretic was accused by St Patrick of capturing
young Irish men and women and selling them as slaves to the Picts.
It is not recorded that Ceretic ceased his trading, and no doubt
the profitability of the slave trade helped establish the strong
kingdom of Alcluith. Patrick wrote a second time to admonish the
In one account of
Patricks life, Ceretic apparently had a premonition that his time
had come and, in full view of his court, he was transformed into a
fox and ran away. Patrick identifies himself as a Briton in his
works, his autobiographical Confession and his Letter to Ceretic.
He was captured as a young man from his fathers estate, possibly
in Cumbria, and escaped from captivity in Ireland after about six
years. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary, and his
success is legendary.
missionary associated with Strathclyde is St Kentigern, the patron
saint of Glasgow, there known as St Mungo, which means, dear
friend. He was brought up and taught at Culross by St Serf, and
was active in attempting to convert the Britons of Strathclyde,
Cumbria and Wales. King Rhydderch Hen (the Old) summoned
Kentigern from the monastery the saint built at Llanelwy, as the
king sought to spread Christianity throughout the land. Reigning
c580-612, Rhydderchs Christian practice was probably exceptional
in his time, for he was also called Rhydderch Hael, the
Generous. He is best known from the story of his queens
infidelity, the salmon with the ring miracle. Having gained
knowledge of the affair, the king summoned the young soldier to
accompany him on a hunt, during which they reclined on the bank of
the Clyde for a rest. With marked self-restraint, the king pulled
the royal ring off the sleeping mans finger and threw it into the
king demanded its return from queen Languueth, and since her lover
apparently lost it, she sent a messenger to Kentigern, entreating
a remedy. By the order of Saint Kentigern in the name of the Lord
Jesus Christ, the messenger of the queen was sent with a fishhook
and captured a fish in the river. He brought the captured fish to
the saint and when it was cut up found the ring, which delivered
the queen. She zealously corrected her life for the future, for
she restrained her feet from another such fall. Nevertheless she
never revealed to anyone the sign by which the Lord magnified his
mercy to her while her husband lived, but after his death she let
it be known to all who wished. It is recorded that Rhydderch and
Kentigern died in the year 612. The present splendid Glasgow
Cathedral, which is mainly medieval, is built over Kentigerns
Rhydderchs reign, the Angles of Northumbria and the Scots of
Dalriada dominated the north of Britain, but Owen, reigning from
633-c45, restored the supremacy of Strathclyde, especially with a
decisive victory over the Scots at the battle of Strathcarron in
642. The Northumbrian kingdom grew into a great power in the
following decades, but at the battle of Nechtansmere in 685, the
Picts with their king Brude MacBile killed the Northumbrian king
Ecfrith and slaughtered his army.
Teudeburs reign as king of Strathclyde, 722-52, the ascendance
was with the Picts under their powerful king, Angus, who dominated
northern Britain during the period 730-750. However Teudebur
overcame the Picts at the battle of Mygedawg in 750. Angus
survived the battle, but his brother Talorgen was killed. Angus
lent his help to Eadbert of Northumbria to attack Dumbarton in
756. Dumbarton fell, but, on the homeward journey, the combined
army was engaged by the Britons and devastated. Still, the kingdom
of Strathclyde may have been subordinate to Northumbria for much
of the next century.
Artgal was ruler
from probably sometime in the 850s until 872. From late in the 8th
century the power of Northumbria had been on the decline, but the
rise in power of the Scots under Kenneth MacAlpin, and the start
of Viking raids along the western coast, did not work in Artgals
Vikings besieged Dumbarton Rock for four months in 870-1, cutting
off the water supply. Thus in 871 Dumbarton was destroyed, and
many inhabitants were abducted into slavery. Artgal was
murdered in the following year through the treachery of
Constantine, king of the Scots.
Eochaid ruled the last years of Strathclydes independence. He
allied himself with Giric of Scotland, both of whom reigned from
878-889. Donald, the son of Constantine, killed Giric at Dundurn
and deposed king Eochaid. He became Donald II of Scotland and
imposed rule over Strathclyde until his death in the year 900.
Within the first year of the Scottish kings rule, many of the
surviving British nobles fled to northern Wales, to the court of
Anarawd of Gwynedd.
Scottish rule continued until 908, when the kingship of
Strathclyde was reestablished. The British again had some form of
control, but Strathclyde existed as a sub-kingdom that was usually
ruled by the heir to the Scottish throne. Strathclyde effectively
merged with Scotland after Owen the Bald, fighting alongside the
Scots, was killed at the Battle of Carham in 1018. This
important victory over Northumbria regained Lothian for Scotland.
Cumbria was lost to and regained from England several times, until
finally lost in 1092, when the Norman king William Rufus fortified
Carlisle. Expanding from the Lennox district south through
Dumfriesshire, west to the Firth of Clyde, Strathclyde was once a
powerful realm in its own right.
Scotland increased in the 11th century and Gaelic became the
dominant language, Strathclyde likely remained Cumbric-speaking.
At that time Cumbric agreed closely with Welsh, which now survives
as the Brittonic language (that is both written and spoken) in
Britain. At the close of the 11th century, the southern border of
Scotland was constituted nearly to that of present day.
Consequently, this regions history remains inherent in the
history of Scotland.
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