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 Post subject: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:41 pm 
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I`ve just finished The Ancient History of the Wyre by the fragrant Michelle Harris and the villainous Brian Hughes and very enjoyable it was. A credible case is made for the Battle of Brunanburh having taken place in skirmishes around the Wyre. Have there been any developments in thinking since publication? Or about Broom Hill?


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:46 pm 
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ive heard him called a lot worse !!!!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:27 pm 
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Andy,

You've called me a lot worse.

Phil,

I'm just trying to remember what we wrote now. It was all such a long time ago. As far as I'm aware the case as written still stands. Not exactly progress, but not a retraction either.

There was some university chap on telly some time ago who claimed that the battle took place beneath a golf course on the Wirral peninsula and that Dingesmere was a spot nearby called Thingwall (I think). Thingwall (or whatever it was called...something like that anyhow) was actually a hill and I couldn't help wondering how the vikings managed to row their ships over the top of it and out to sea. Regardless of this, he still claimed that his was the final and only solution, so there we go.

We're continuing to dig Bourne Hill (although we realise now that the Saxon village of Brun was located at the bottom of the hill nearer the Naze itself, as evidenced by the old road and field layout) but there's no sign of any dead vikings yet.

Of course, it's only a matter of time...surely.

As for Broom Hill, we're not sure who owns it. I'd love to get a spade into that...and I know exactly the spot where I'd start.

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http://www.wyrearchaeology.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:17 pm 
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I had a close look at the washed away side of Broom Hill today. It`s not all stones but it has more than its fair share. The hill looks about 100m x 50m. What else might such a construction be for? I was intrigued by:-
"While his men still pursued the fugitives, king Athelstan left the battle-field, and rode back to the town, nor stayed he for the night before he came thither. But Egil pursued the flying foe, and followed them far, slaying every man whom he overtook. At length, sated with pursuit, he with his followers turned back, and came where the battle had been, and found there the dead body of his brother Thorolf. He took it up, washed it, and performed such other offices as were the wont of the time. They dug a grave there, and laid Thorolf therein with all his weapons and raiment. Then Egil clasped a gold bracelet on either wrist before he parted from him; this done they heaped on stones and cast in mould."

What might "cast in mould" mean? Earth?


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:24 pm 
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And yet:-
Turn left and climb the slight rise of Broom Hill, a much eroded small glacial drumlin, and then descend to cross a stile and regain the riverbank path.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/lancashire/content ... tang.shtml
And the quote in the post above was from:-
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/egil/egil56.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Location: Garstang
And another thing!
The bottom of Wyre Lane leads into a ford approached by a stone lined cutting (although there`s no sign of a cutting on the far bank). Is this the site if the old ford mentioned in the aforementioned book?


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:11 pm 
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Phil,

The cuttings at the end of Wyre Lane are typically Roman (and would have still been in use in the tenth century, of course). The opposite cuttings are upsteam (or rather downsteam) a bit, towards Garstang. There's a video on Youtube somewhere of some burk in a landrover driving from one side to the other. The actual ford ran at an angle, presumably to avoid potholes and stuff.

Whether it was the one that Bishop Wolfsten...it was Bishop Wolfsten...Wolfstein...Wolfen...wasn't it? I can't remember now...it was something like that anyway...anyhow, whether it was the one that he was defending, I couldn't honestly say. There's a Wolf Grave Gate in Preesall. It's written Vlvegreargarte (or something similar) in mediaeval documents, which is Saxon, but basically means the same thing. If it has any connection or not to the battle I couldn't honestly say, although it's intriguing I must admit.

Now, if Broom Hill's a drumlin then I'm a monkey's uncle. (Actually, there's at least one of my nephews that might ruin that statement for me.) Whatever the case, Broom Hill, according to most historians and archaeologists who've seen it, is described as man made, although what it's original purpose was we can only speculate.

I'd like to think that Thorulf lies buried inside it somewhere, although the chances are that nowadays, seeing as well over half of it has been washed away, he'd be scattered in fragments along the river bed between Garstang and Knott End.


Quote:
What might "cast in mould" mean?


Probably soil. I'm not sure what the original Norse word from which the translation was taken was...but I suspect it means soil.

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http://www.wyrearchaeology.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:17 pm 
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I don`t think it`s half washed away - which means that, if he`s there, he`s not far away! I didn`t see any bones sticking out today. :( There were some green colourations in places which I normally associate with copper or bronze corrosion but they could easily be green fungus!
Seriously, if it`s man made, those people didn`t build Broom Hill for nothing. What other explanation is possible other than a burial?


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Phil,

Just looked up 'Mould' (or rather 'mold' which is the same thing) in the on-line Norse dictionary at the address below:


http://www.northvegr.org/zoega/301.php

And, yes, it does mean earth...so they cast in stones and earth, which perfectly describes Broom Hill (whereas the glacially deposited boulder clays you'd expect to find in a drumlin, don't).

One alternative that's been put forward for its construction is as a Saxon Moot Hill. My money's on a barrow though. It has all the makings of one...and quite a big one at that.

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Brian Hughes: Curator of the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian.
http://www.wyrearchaeology.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:23 am 
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Just after a battle such as Brunanburh is alleged to have been, would Thorolf`s followers have been at liberty to build such a monument?


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:31 am 
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Phil,

I'm not sure that the Icelandic Sagas should be taken too seriously...however, it would have been Egil's mob (fresh from victory somewhere around Eccleston possibly...what am I saying...definitely I mean) who would have constructed the mound. The Romans could construct entire marching forts on much larger mounds overnight, so I'm sure a gang of axe-wielding, berserker-type Viking mercenaries could have thrown Broom Hill together.

Ahem...possibly.

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Brian Hughes: Curator of the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian.
http://www.wyrearchaeology.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:50 am 
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You have a quite optimistic view of their abilities! What I mean is - would it be politically feasible? Would the new ruling faction have permitted it?


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:14 am 
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Phil,

The new ruling faction would have been Athelstan who, if memory serves, actually paid Egil in person for both his share in the victory and for Thorulf's death, so I don't see a problem. Although I seem to recall that Egil composed and sang Athelstan an extremely boring and convoluted saga-ballad first. That'd be enough to make him agree to any demands, I'd imagine.

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Brian Hughes: Curator of the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian.
http://www.wyrearchaeology.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:07 pm 
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Regarding the political situation at the time, I thought the Wikipedia entry for Alan Barbetorte, might be of interest. The period around Brunanburh is a one where Breton and English history coincide.

Alan cleared the Vikings from Brittany a few years after Brunanburh with the help of his godfather Athelstan. A great number of high-status Bretons were actually living in England at the time because the Vikings were ravaging the country and showing no wish to settle down. They were making the country ungovernable.

The battle is sometimes described as the last stand of the celtic Britons with their Norse allies against the English - and from memory there is some mention of expected reinforcements from Brittany.

But the story of Duke Alan II shows without doubt that any help from Brittany (or Llydaw) must have been expected from the Vikings there, because at the time relationsips between the English and Bretons were very close.

It almost looks as though Athelstan and the Bretons had a joint plan to eradicate the Vikings from both countries - England first and then Brittany.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_II,_Duke_of_Brittany


David


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 Post subject: Re: Brunanburh - Any Further Thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:53 pm 
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Is it considered that the founding of Britain as a united nation stems from Brunanburh or Eamont Bridge?


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