O're Hills and Valleys Reign: A Cumbrian Timeline

Ooh what a cool idea for a timeline, been interested in the old Welsh/Brythonic north ever since finding out that (according to absolutely 100% trustworthy medieval genealogies ;)) one of the Gododdin is supposedly my 44th-great grandfather.

Can't wait for more!
 
Ooh what a cool idea for a timeline, been interested in the old Welsh/Brythonic north ever since finding out that (according to absolutely 100% trustworthy medieval genealogies ;)) one of the Gododdin is supposedly my 44th-great grandfather.

Can't wait for more!
Well tbh if you're going back that far you're going to be related to a lot of people if you'renot from a fairly isolated population.
 
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Chapter 7
Chapter Seven:

If one were to take the Chronica Brittonem's account of at face value one would get the impression that Arthwal was in some way destined to be king, but the reality was that he was also young and inexperienced. Arthwal would have only just started his formal military training at the time of his father's death in 632, and he would've been far behind where his brother had been in his education as a ruler. This was not a good combination to have in the face of Powis growing their influence at the expense of his kingdom. All the while, Reyth was waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in as soon as the young king stumbled. Luckily he had people to fall back on, not the least of whom were his mother the queen and his uncle bishop Andras, but a small group of trusted advisers weren't enough to run as big of a kingdom as he'd inherited. His lands stretched from Din Eidyn in the north to Evrok in the south, and from Idasbruh in the east to Penn Rinnedh in the west. Even with the sub-kings of Alt Clout and north Elvet (sometimes called the kingdom of Cair Loidis in this period) taking on some of the load it was simply too much land for a single traveling court to administer properly, which is probably why it is in his reign that we see the creation of the Tuwissogow.[a]

In the days when the kingdom of Reget had only went from the Rinns and Strat Itun it had been broken up into cummodow, which were a collection of anywhere from twenty to fifty households primarily for tax purposes, though the lords of a cummot was also responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the laws. One issue with this organization was that justice remained the king's prerogative and it would take time for the royal court to swing by and deliver judgment; another was that the king had to come to the cummot himself to enjoy his taxes, which at this time took the form of in-kind payments of (primarily) foodstuffs, the monetized economy of the roman days having long since collapsed. King Cundiarn had worked towards expanding this organization into his eastern lands but the system was proving difficult to manage on such a large scale. Arthwal's remedy to this, or more likely the solution suggested by his advisors, was to group the cummodow into larger administrative districts. These men, given the title of Tuwissok and a silver tork[1] to note their high rank and display their fealty to the crown, would now gather the king's dues in more centralized locations in their region and were authorized to carry out justice in the king's name for more minor matters. Naturally these positions tended to be given to men the king could trust and who were dependent upon royal patronage, but powerful people couldn't be completely ignored and so we see men like Roun son of Reyth were also given office.

The Tuwissogyon also demonstrated themselves to be a benefit in another important area: war. The Skottek Register records that in 635 a band of Irish raiders from Enis Monow[2] launched a failed attack upon the old Regetian capital of Penn Rinnedh. The Annals of Ard Macha give a more detailed telling; King Domnall Brecc of Dal Riata had a feud with Cenel Comgaill after deposing the previous King Connad, and so he sought to undermine mine the support the clan had starting with the weakened and apparently vulnerable British kingdom to his south was. After all, they were ruled by a child king who'd never been in battle. Thusly the men of Monow were enticed to raid to show just how weak Reget was. The attack was initially successful and the Monowgwir took many treasures and slaves, but finding and moving them to their ships took time, time enough for Tuwissok Cunan to respond with his mounted retinue. The raiders were taken by surprise and were forced to flee without their spoils. In response to the raid Arthwal launched his own in 637, which is notable for being his first recorded military action as well as his use of Anglian style[3] long ships. This action, along with his mother's retirement to the dual monastery at Heretu, is taken by some scholars to mark the end of his regency although some push the date to the death of his uncle Andras in 645.

Before his passing however the ever active monk left one more lasting impact upon the faith of the Isles. Ever since his investiture with the See of Evrok Andras had been in communication with the monks of Ioua and their leader Ségéne, and we are fortunate enough that their letters were preserved for the historical record. The majority of the letters are focused on discussions on monastic life that would come to shape the whole of Britannic monasticism, but more immediately the two esteemed clergymen began a debate about the calculus of easter to which Andras brought his experience at the Synod of Gwrikon and the reflection that old age provided him. The arguments between them became heated leading Ségéne to appeal to Andras' superior in Bishop Paskent of Cair Ciren, but the bishop lent his not insignificant weight to the British monk and rebuked the Abbot of Iuoa for leading god's flock astray, though he did it with the best intentions by keeping with the old tradition. Yet Paskent also reminded Andras that his authority only went so far, officially recognizing the See of Ioua as extending over Caledonia[4]. This episode of the Britannic church's history would go on to be a key part of the bishop of Cair Ciren's argument for primacy in Britain.

[1] A type of highly ornamented neck ring that had been popular in iron age Europe prior to the Roman conquest of western Europe. They had fallen out of popularity in the Roman territories in the first century AD, but their revival in post-Roman Britain seems to indicate that either they had remained popular in the British frontier, or had been reintroduced by cultural exchange with the Hiberno-Skotek cultures.
[2] OTL Isle of Man
[3] ie: clinker built, as opposed to the mortise and tenon gaelic style.
[4] that is, the land north of the Antonine wall.

[a] I debated using a "cantref" system, or even a shire system, but decided otherwise because of a few reasons. The Cumbraek conlang that I've been using does make use of a cumbricized 'shire', but not only is that an Anglo-saxon term it seems to have been particular to Wessex for much of Anglo-saxon history. As for some variation on cantref, for starters i don't want Cumbria to just be Wales-but-north; they have a history and culture that, while connected to the southern Britons, also has significant Gaelic and Pictish influences their southern counterparts don't share. Also I've had to consider the cantrefs in their context, the laws of Hywel dda. Frankly the timing of their codification, Hywel's closeness with the English court, and the definition of the cantref to be 100 towns makes me suspect that they were Hywel importing the English institution of the Hundred into his kingdom to improve his rule.
 
I've been doing some thinking lately and it has occured to me that with the Britons being more successful ITTL means that Mercia will become more brythonized over time. They already stood out somewhat compared to the other A-S kingdoms, but here they will blur the lines even more.

So to do this im thinking that the Dynasty of Cearl is going to have names that reflect this (eg: cadwalla, etc.), and their genealogy is going to trace back to a Romano-British ancestor rather than an anglian invader.

Your thoughts?
 
This episode of the Britannic church's history would go on to be a key part of the bishop of Cair Ciren's argument for primacy in Britain.
Oh interesting so a celtic/Britannic christian church that encompasses the whole of the british isles, that will certainly make the british isles quite interesting and I am looking forward to their traditions and theology(furthermore given that roman Catholic missions to the british isles havent happened a Britannic church seems likely)
So to do this im thinking that the Dynasty of Cearl is going to have names that reflect this (eg: cadwalla, etc.), and their genealogy is going to trace back to a Romano-British ancestor rather than an anglian invader.
Seems doable , I imagine they will be able to trace their ancestor to the cumbrian royal family by marriages(roman princesses married russians it can happen,furthermore that is one way to convert them to Christianity but they will have anglian ancestors as well that is a given)
About Mercia it is pretty certain since reget is the preeminent power of the north
 
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I imagine they will be able to trace their ancestor to the cumbrian royal family by marriages
While they probably will marry a Cumbrian princess or two, keep in mind that there are other British dynasties in the south that one might consider more prestigious, such as the dynasties of Powis or Dumnonia
 
Chapter 8
Chapter Eight

It is very likely that in Arthwal's early reign there was a lot of pressure upon him as king to punish the rebellious Eidyn, but also as the head of the royal Looth[1] he was expected to avenge himself upon Eluit of Powis for the death of his father and brother and on a personal level he may have wanted payback for totally upending his life. Powis however was at the height of its power, as having secured an alliance with Merce by a marriage to Censige son of Cearl they were able to exercise their ancient claim to overlordship over the middle British kingdoms, barring Cair Gwent who was allied with Duwnant. Besides that repeated Irish raids were holding Arthwal's attention and led him to move the main royal residence from the exposed Penn Rinnedh to the more protected Cair Luwel, which had been in the process of being renovated since at least the time of his grandfather.

Luckily Arthwal didn't have to look far for allies. Though he styled himself as Gworthiarn in the model of the first British overlord of the south[2], Eluit was an insecure king that lashed out at threats to his rule, real and imagined, meaning that there were quite a few disgruntled prince expelled from their homes. Cadwaladur vap Cadwalon, the would be heir to Gwinet, was one such prince that made his way to the court of Arthwal in 643 after spending some time in Ireland. Cadwaladur brought the news that it was King Domnall Brecc who was encouraging the raids, and offered his loyal service in return for putting him back on the throne of his father. Arthwal readily accepted, and by all accounts the two men became close friends, bonding over their shared love of poetry. In fact Arthwal is reported as being quite skilled in the art as he had learned under the tutelage of the great bardh Aneyrin, though few poems can be definitively attributed to him.

At any rate Arthwal was sick of Domnall's piratical behavior and decided to go straight for Dun Add, but unlike his great grandfather he would take the sea route directly to the Skottek ceremonial seat. When Domnall heard of this he raised the alarm, and began rallying the ships of Dal Riata at Eilean Líach[3], a small island with a sheltered bay and sandy beach that was a perfect harbor. By old agreement and tradition it was the kindreds of Albu, that is the british part of the kingdom, that were to supply the long ships of Dal Riata according to their ability. In practical terms however the number of ships the high king could reliably call up depended much more on his ability to convince the kindreds to follow his lead than their ship building capacity. We are told by the Skottek Register that after two failed campaigns against the Pictish kingdom of Fortriu, Cenel Loairn had no confidence in Domnall's military ability and delayed their coming to the king's side, but Domnall was confident that the men of Cenel nGabrain and Cenel nOengusa would be enough to put down the smaller force of the British king. It must have been a real surprise then when he woke up one day to find that the British fleet, joined by the Cenel Comgaill, had turned the harbor into a trap and negated his numerical advantage. The Skotts managed to put up some fight but it wasn't long before Domnall was captured and they surrendered. Arthwal was fairly lenient with his captured foe for the standards of the time, and only had his thumbs removed to disqualify him from the high kingship before exiling him in Ireland. Ferchar Mac Connaid, the son of king Connad and kin to Arthwal, would be proclaimed the king of Dal Riata under the auspices of Ségéne of Ioua and soon thereafter made an agreement with Arthwal for their two kingdoms to defend each other's shores from piratical raids. Despite the language of the agreement being one of a mutual defense pact it clearly benefited the British kingdom far more, it wasn't Dal Riata that had been suffering from raiders after all but Arthwal had cleverly managed to make the people who cause the problem fix it, freeing himself to focus his attentions elsewhere.

Stepping back from high politics a bit, Arthwal caused a great stir when he returned home from the north with a low born mistress by the name of Mòrag. Such things weren't especially uncommon in that era, but generally such women were kept in the background whereas Mòrag dared to be seen publicly in the king's company, and thusly earned the king and herself the censure of the clerical writers of the time who bemoaned their licentious habits. They would receive even more criticism when Mòrag gave birth to a daughter named Annak out of wedlock two years later. On the other hand the poems and stories of the bardhs remember her more kindly as generous woman who could sing and play the harp beautifully, an skill that implies that she was not so low born as the monastics made her out to be. There are two poems that mention her one of which is believed to be Arthwal's own work and are preserved in the Green Book of Lannwinndy[4], a book of Cumbrian poetry sometimes called the book of the bardhs.

[1] Clan/tribe, often glossed as Gens in latin commentaries
[2] literally overlord or over-ruler, it is also the name given to the first leader of the Britons after the withdrawal of the legions that we know of. Whether it was his actual name or merely his title is debated
[3] 'spoon island', OTL Sanda island
[4] 'enclosure of the white house', aka Candida Casa, OTL Whithorn
 
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