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.