Lindisfarne, Holy island of the north: Part 2

Welcome to Part two of the history of Lindisfarne. If you have missed the first part in which Lindisfarne was founded and became a religious, cultural and scholarly mecca, you can read the article here. Unfortunately for Lindisfarne, its rise … Continue reading

Lindisfarne, Holy Island of the north: Part 1

In the early 7th century, the death of King Edwin caused the kingdom of Northumbria to split amongst rival groups. This weakened state made it easier for Cadwallon the King of Gweynedd (northern Wales) to attack the land and under … Continue reading

Northumbrian rebellion in 862 and the exile of King Burghred of Mercia

After nearly six months of warfare with Wessex, the pagan army went to London in Mercia for their winter quarters to recuperate. Burghred, the King of Mercia at that time and brother-in-law of King Alfred, purchased a truce from them … Continue reading

Bamburgh Castle, home to the kings and earls of Northumbria

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle

Even though Bamburgh is only ever mentioned or hinted at in the background of The Northumbrian Saga, it is an important part of the storyline and integral to the history of Northumbria. It is the seat of power for the King of Northumbria, Aethelwin’s uncle, and later becomes the seat of resistance against the Vikings for her brother Wulfstan and the remnants of the Northumbrian survivors. In the sequel that will hopefully be finished by the end of the year, Bamburgh will play a larger role, with even a few scenes centred within the hall there. With this in mind I wanted to share a bit of what I have learnt through researching this centre of medieval power. The more I researched, the more I realised just how important and often overlooked it has been.

Today, visitors to Bamburgh castle are confronted by a large Norman style castle perched atop a distinctive rock of dolerite that overlooks the Northumberland coast. It is a grade 1 listed building popular with tourists and boasting its own museum. Despite its Norman and late medieval appearance, the site is quite ancient. Since at least the first century BC there is evidence for continued habitation at the site until very recently. In fact the surrounding countryside holds evidence for human habitation for 6000 years. Continue reading

Where was the Kingdom of Northumbria anyway?

Over the last couple of months on the blog, I have been writing about several Kings and Archbishops (and eventually invaders) of Northumbria. I have even shared with you my journey of writing my first novel, The Northumbrian Saga. I thought then, that it was about time that I acquainted some of you who were not familiar with this ancient Kingdom and a little of its history. Continue reading

Happy St Bede’s Day

That’s right everyone, 1,278 years ago today the man known as ‘The father of English history’ died in the monastery of Jarrow, Durham (although at the time it was in Northumberland as the shire of Durham did not yet exist).

Bamburgh Research Project

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland (UK) has a very special significance to me and my novel, The Northumbrian Saga. It is the seat of power for King Osbert, Aethelwin’s Uncle, and later becomes the seat of power for her brother and … Continue reading