A True History of the Isles Part 17- What Everyone Else Was Up To 1000-1066

The delay in posting this was due to the necessity of carrying out some very detailed research into the dynamics of the Scots, Irish and Welsh political circumstances in those turbulent years. (That and painting walls, watching the DVDs Captain America: Civil War & the one where Superman and Batman hit each other a lot, having to try and wrestle the book back from the characters out of Patchwork, and accumulating more music on Spotify that I can possibly listen to one month)


Of course everyone knows that Cnut was arguing with the sea, Edward confessing and Harold marching up and down England. But meanwhile other interesting things were taking place.


Malcolm II started off the century quite well, he snatched bits of land off the Northumbrians which he claimed belonged to Scotland, fought some Vikings, and only let Cnut (the Canute) march into Scotland before they agreed Canute (The Cnut) could march back out again. In 1016 there was battle at Carham, in which the Scots and the Strathclyde fought Northumbria. Owen of Strathclyde conveniently died either of battle of or baldness and so that kingdom passed to Malcolm who died in 1034 due to a lack of sons.

Duncan I pretended he was old in an attempt to try and gain sympathy. He was actually quite young which allowed MacBeth to kill him in a battle in 1040 at Moray which at the time was not too keen on being part of Scotland.

MacBeth became king of Scotland but preferred to spend his time disagreeing with the king of Moray, or going on a pilgrimage to Roman. Therefore, since he had no time to bother other scots he was quite popular with them. As he was rude to the Anglo-Saxons who were practising being English, they didn’t forget. They also met someone called Malcolm who said he could do a much better job. Thus a Scotsman with English support invaded Scotland. Macbeth may have been slaughtered in battle in the ordinary way or confused by some trees he thought were moving. But history shows he was MacBeth and not ‘Shakespeare’s MacBeth’. Some locals thought MacBeth’s stepson should be king but since the only interesting thing about him was his name; Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin it was decided for best if he was assassinated.

Malcolm announced in 1058 that he was ‘The III’. And set to rule Scotland but the Vikings said he could only have the southern bit, so he built up his reputation by invading bits of England that no one apart from the locals cared about. He did not get very much involved with 1066.



As previously recorded there was usually a lot of fuss who should be High King, that was until:

Brian Boru who had considerately changed his name from Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig. He was good at fighting and defeating lesser Irish kings as well at Vikings; the latter tried to cheat by saying they’d never really ruled bits of Ireland anyway. This was rightly dismissed as just plain whining and Brian Boru became king of Ireland; this claim was fortified by his dying heroically and nobly at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 when a viking treacherously slewed him when Boru was at prayer.

Because no one was really quite good enough to equal these achievements there was a period of quarrelsome kings (of all sorts of elevations), treacheries, betrayals, and all the other sorts of things which enable historians and writers of historical fiction to keep up their good work.

Because of the number of kings (still in the hundred or so) who wished to keep in with The Church, The Bards and The Metal Workers, culture flourished in Ireland, so much so that the Irish were able to think of the Scots are ‘rather provincial’ and so stopped the practice of sending Irish to Scotland.

So they really didn’t care at all what the Angles or Saxon got up to before 1066 and didn’t pay much attention when The Normans arrived.



The welsh kings had been constructively busy to the extent that by the 1000s; there were really only four welsh kingdoms Powys, Gwynedd, Dyfed/Deheubarth and Morgannwg. Many wished to make sure they didn’t once more end up in the embarrassing position of having to be legally obliged to listen to an English king. The best at this was Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. He had all the right credentials. He could rule two of the four kingdoms (Gwynedd and Powys), he had been betrayed and was at war with a brother, but above all in 1052 he defeated a combined force of Anglo-Saxons and some Normans who had arrived too early at Leominister (pronounced Leminister just be contrary). Having made alliances with some other Anglo-Saxons, a couple of groups of apathetic Vikings and maybe a few other folk, he was rightly crowned. At once he invaded England. His only opposition was Ralph The Timid of Hereford, and so the outcome was rather predictable. He was doing so well that Edward confessed he would have to recognize Gruffudd as a proper king. Later Edward confessed he might have made a mistake and let the Godwins sort it out. Tostig who was still behaving himself invaded but only won because Gruffudd died in 1062 of betrayals. He had two sons; one died of battles and the other exposed himself. Thus Wales was not really in a good position around about 1066.

Having established the position of the three other nations in the next seminar we shall exam how William The I (And Conqueror) felt they should be established.

A True History of the Isles Part 16-Whose Throne is it Anyway??

A True History of The Isles Part 15- The Road to 1066


14 thoughts on “A True History of the Isles Part 17- What Everyone Else Was Up To 1000-1066

  1. Are you trying to make me ashamed of being Celtic? Probably not; probably never even entered your mind, and why should it? After all, all you are doing as a proper historian is telling it exactly like it was – no possibility of deviation or evasion of unpleasant truth this time around. All other histories (which of necessity predate yours) are but poor attempts at getting to the truth, or more likely at obfuscating it. Besides, what did the Bretons (that being me here) have to do with it anyway? Being neighbours of the Normans didn’t automatically mean we were on their side, or anybody else’s side for that matter because no self-respecting Celt would ever be found on anyone’s side, not even his own. It’s annoying, I know, but it’s the Celtic way and it shall never change because, as the Scots are noted for saying, “Who’s like us? Damn few and they’re all daid!” What’s that got to do with it? you may well ask. I’ll be damned if I know, but it seemed fitting – beggars can’t be choosers. As to the novel, don’t you just hate it, as a proper writer and all that when the characters decide they are in charge? Don’t they realize that by controlling them you are desperately trying to hide their foibles from the reading public? Where’s their sense of decency and propriety, I ask?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Working backwards:
      Thanks Sha’ Tara, I’ve told my characters what you said; I hope they will now behave, BUT, as I have an ending worked out they are all now fired up and excited and scrambling to be THE ONE…..sigh!
      On the History: Ah-ha- yes. You’ve uncovered one of the satires….no race or culture is an innocent (maybe the Inuit). There are rather dirty little bits of history which don’t fit the gallant legends. The gallant legends allow us to parade our intolerances and prejudices as justifiable outrage and pleas for justice.
      This may sound harsh & cynical to some, but reading enough histories and observing enough comments tends to lead me in that direction.
      Back in the 1970s when Nationalism became fashionable in Wales there was a tendency amongst some groups of welsh-speaking folk to distain those of us whose first language was English, and if you married an English girl as I did…well another crime!! Hardly good recruiting stance was it? Things have changed a great deal now (but that’s another more confusing and not a pleasant story). One of the reasons why I have a jaundiced view of The Celtic Romantic Ideal.
      But those who do shouldn’t take my comments personally, I have jaundiced views on many subjects!

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      1. Oooh have a Happy Thanksgiving Gwin (knew I forgotten something).
        Not that I know of, since we’ve been here on these isles for hundreds ‘n hundreds ‘n hundreds of years (See ‘A True History of The Isles’…yeh cheap plug!! 😉)
        I think Thanksgiving drives UK retailers crazy; they can’t import it!! 😆 .
        Anyways, hoping you enjoy yours!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
        That is hilarious!
        I LOVE the so called “cheap plug.” I just wondered if there was some kinda ‘day of thanks’ for whatever thing in the “Isles.”
        Roger, you keep me laughing. Yes, I imagine that the average UK retailer is left out on T-giving, except, maybe in the case of US expats. LOL!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Once our ‘Royal’ Mail (hoorah for The Queen!!)- Post Offices tried. They had a weedy sign advising customers in the US it was Thanksgiving Day soon, and if you wanted to send gifts of money to friends or relatives in the US you could use the Post Office’s system….. they only tried it the one year) 😆.
        In The UK we have our clutch of funny holidays in May one on the 1st Monday and one on the last Monday to remind everyone that Spring has started, we then sulk until the last Monday in August when we need reminding that it’s The Summer. (Northern Ireland has the 12th July, but that’s their thing- say no more). Then Scotland, Ireland, England & Wales have their patron saints days, which are not proper holidays, but lots of folk go around accentuating their accents, sticking flags on their cars and acting like they’ve got a direct blood-line to Great Utrmuch (or some other unlikely person who landed here three thousand years ago and slew 505 giants with the smell from his armpits)….a bit like the pilgrim fathers but with less class ( though probably more hair).
        Happy Thanksgiving (again) Gwin

        Liked by 1 person

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