History of Cumbria - Angles

Angles

Around AD 638 Oswiu, who would become the King of Northumbria, married Riemmelth (Rhiainfellt), a direct descendant of Urien Rheged and a Princess of the kingdom. This peaceable alliance between the British and English signalled the beginning of the end of Cumbrian independence, as Angles from the north east began to filter into the Eden Valley and along the north and south coasts of the county.

At the Synod of Whitby in 664, the Celtic Church of the North was abandoned in favour of the Roman Church, which was dominant in the south of England. Maybe by then much if not all of Cumbria was ruled by the Northumbrian Kings. The area seems to have undergone a full scale conversion to the Roman faith. In 670, Oswiu's son—but not by Riemmelth—Ecgfrith ascended the throne of Northumbria and it was probably in that year that the Bewcastle Cross was erected, bearing English runes, which shows that they were certainly present in the area. But it seems that Cumbria was little more than a province at this time and, although Anglian influences were clearly seeping in, the region remained essentially British and retained its own client-kings. In 685, when Saint Cuthbert was granted lands in Cumbria by Aldfrith, the new King of Northumbria, it is said he was given Cartmel and all the Britons therein, showing that even areas where Anglian settlement was greatest, the British were still predominant.

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