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The History of Glasgow

Chapter VI - After the Days of St. Kentigern—


Strathclyde and Cumbria

No record has been preserved of the immediate


successors of St. Kentigern, and shortly after his death
and the death of his protector, Rydderch, the whole of the
Cumbrian and adjoining Anglic districts, the latter
stretching northward to the Forth, were thrown into
confusion by the revolution which restored paganism for a
time under the pagan Mercian King, Penda, and the
apostate Welsh King, Ceadwalla. In 633 King Oswald
established the Columban Church in Northumbria, and as
the kingdom of the Britons, a few years later, fell under
the dominion of the Angles, it is probable that during the
period of their rule there would be no independent church
there. Consequent on the defeat inflicted by the Picts on
the Anglian army at Dunnichen, in 685, the Britons
inhabiting those districts north of the Solway, embracing
the area now represented by the counties of Dumbarton,
Renfrew, Lanark, Ayr and Dumfries, with the stronghold of
Alclyde as the chief citadel of their territory, recovered
their liberty, and two years later they conformed to the
practice of Rome in observance of the proper time of
keeping Easter, then a matter of the greatest importance
from an ecclesiastical point of view. About that time one,
Sedulius, who was present at a council held at Rome in
the year 721, has been associated with the Britons of
Strathclyde as their bishop. [Skene's Celtic Scotland, ii.
pp. 199, 219, 260, 265.]

In his Life of Kentigern, Joceline tells us that he "joined to


himself a great many disciples whom he trained in the
sacred literature of the Divine Law, and educated to
sanctity of life by his word and example. They all, with a
godly jealousy, imitated his life and doctrines,
accustomed to fastings and sacred vigils at certain
seasons, intent on psalms and prayers and meditation on
the Divine Word, content with sparing diet and dress,
occupied every day and hour in manual labour. For, after
the fashion of the primitive church under the Apostles and
their successors, possessing nothing of their own, and
living soberly, righteously, godly and continently, they
dwelt as did Kentigern himself, in single cottages, from
the time when they had become mature in age and
doctrine. Therefore these solitary clerics were called in
common speech Calledei." On this passage Dr. W. F.
Skene remarks that in assigning the Keledei of Glasgow
to the time of Kentigern Joceline is guilty of as great an
anachronism as when he assigned to him Servanus as a
teacher. [Antea, p. 13.] Joceline wrote when there existed
bodies of Keledei in Scotland, and he is no doubt
repeating a genuine tradition as to the original
characteristics of the Culdean clergy before they became
canons. What he describes is simply a community of
anchorites or hermits. Servanus was contemporary with
Sedulius, bishop of the Britons, and it is to this period that
these Keledei of Glasgow properly belong. This
connection with the real Servanus, Dr. Skene thinks, may
have led to the history of this period having been drawn
back, and both Keledei and Servanus associated with the
great apostle of Glasgow in popular tradition. [St.
Kentigern, p. 66; Celtic Scotland, ii. p. 260.]

After this we have no connected historical account of the


Britons for a long time to come, but it is known that in 756
they surrendered to Eadbert, King of Northumbria, and
Angus, King of the Picts, and that these invaders took
Alclyde, which was burnt in 780. In the next century the
territorial name Britons of Strathclyde or Strathclyde
Welsh was for the first time applied to the inhabitants who
had hitherto borne the general name of Britons. Thus the
Irish Annals narrate that Artgha, King of the Britons of
Strathclyde, was killed in 872, and the Saxon Chronicle
tells that in 875 the Danes subdued the whole of
Northumbria and ravaged the Picts and the Strathclyde
Welsh. It is in a narrative of this event, written by the
chronicler Ethelwerd, between 975 and 1011, that the
name Cumbrians is for the first time applied to the
inhabitants of Strathclyde. [Celtic Scotland, i. p. 295; St.
Kentigern, p. 332; Scottish Annals, p. 62.]

It is understood that in the ninth century the people


dwelling in the regions north of the Solway, including
Strathclyde, and the Picts of Galloway were independent
of the Angles and of each other, and that the Angles still
maintained a hold upon the district south of the Solway. In
the following century, however, the name of Strathclyde
Welsh passed into that of Cumbri, and in the Saxon
Chronicle, under the year 945, the important
announcement is made that Edmund, King of Wessex,
"harried all Cumbraland and gave it to Malcolm, King of
the Scots." Whether the ceded district consisted of the
area on the south of the Solway or that on the north of the
Solway, or both together, is doubtful, and in any case the
transaction was probably little more than nominal. For a
long time after 945 Strathclyde remained in active hostility
to the King of Scots, but in the year 1018 Owen, its last
independent King, died, and the second Malcolm was
then able to appoint his own grandson as Owen's
successor. [Celtic Scotland, i. pp. 362, 393-4.]

No fewer than six Kings are named as reigning in


Scotland between the time of Malcolm I. (942-54) and
that of Malcolm II. (1005-34) in which latter reign Lothian
was ceded to the Scots and the several territories were
thenceforth designated the kingdom of Scotia. But it was
not till the consolidation of feudal Scotland under King
David, in 1124, that Cumbria was more than a
dependency of the Scottish kingdom, and there had been
periods when even that relationship was not maintained.
One notable break occurred during the reign of Macbeth
(1040-57), who does not appear to have ruled south of
the Forth; and, between the death of Malcolm III. and the
accession of Edgar, it seemed as if the Forth was again
to be the southern boundary. Throughout Edgar's
comparatively peaceful reign of nine years some
difficulties were experienced in ruling the combined
territory, on account of diversity of race and complications
of a political nature, and historians are of opinion that it
was for this reason that, on Edgar's death, Scotland
proper was assigned to Alexander, with the title of King,
while David, the younger brother, ruled the southern
district as Earl. This latter territory—Cumbria, Teviotdale
and part of Lothian—the scene of many old rivalries
between aboriginal Britons, Saxon and Norse invaders,
and nearer neighbours, the Picts and Scots,
comprehended the area now included in the countries of
Lanark, Renfrew, Ayr, Dumfries, Peebles, Selkirk and
Roxburgh, with adjoining districts not precisely defined.
Many places throughout these bounds soon rose into
prominence when placed under the able administration of
Earl David, who had exceptional advantages for ruling the
Border country. On account of his sister being the wife of
King Henry, and his own marriage bringing with it
substantial interest in England, he was in his younger
days in close relationship with the English court. This
intimacy with the southern country accelerated the Anglo-
Saxon and Norman immigration, which had been going
on since the arrival of Queen Margaret, and it was not
long till most of the land, other than the portions retained
as royal domain or gifted to the church, was in the
possession of the new settlers as overlords. It is thought,
however, that the native population would continue to
occupy their previous holdings as cultivators of the soil,
and, if this view be correct, the introduction of the new
feudal overlords probably caused little or no disturbance.
The protection which a powerful chief could extend to his
vassals and tenants would counterbalance other
disadvantages and reconcile the old possessors to the
change.