Personal research has shown that there was much fluidity when
using the epithet of 'Cumbria'.
The territory was ruled at various times by the Brigantes-descended
Romano-British, the Angles, the Scottish, and the English.
Some northern British rulers are called 'King of Strathclyde',
whilst others are called 'King of Cumbria'. However, there seems
little doubt that Strathclyde, Land of the Cumbrians, Cumberland and
Strathclyde-Cumbria are all one and the same place.
There are several conclusions which can be reached when studying
the available data, along with one or two certainties:
- South Rheged falls to Æthelfrith of Bernicia
- Bernicia merges with Deira in 655 and
Rienmelth ferch Royth of the Royal House of Rheged marries Oswy,
the first king of a united Northumbria. This, in effect drives a
wedge of Anglo-Saxon territory between the Strathclyde Welsh and
- Once the Vikings had taken Northumbria and
the old kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira were separated again, the
Strathclyde Welsh found a new kinship.
- However, the English King Edmund (940–946)
detached Strathclyde from Norse loyalties in 945, and granted it
to Malcolm, King of Scotland as a vassal state; although in
reality Strathclyde had been dependent upon Scotland since 870.
- Later kings of Strathclyde secured control
of Cumberland (and Westmoreland), possibly encouraged by the
Bernicians, preferring protection and patronage of a
well-established Christian neighbour, to that of Scandinavian
- There is a smattering of dedications to St
Kentigern and a few other British place names in a region, which
for three centuries had been Northumbrian (ie. Anglo-Saxon).
- Constantine II of Scotland granted
Strathclyde-Cumbria to Owen II in 925. From that point on it would
appear that the two royal houses were closely connected; kings of
Strathclyde often progressing to the senior crown (Indulf, Dubh,
- Scottish kingship and succession was very
complex and it would appear that Strathclyde succession had become
part of this complexity.
- A further complication arises when one
realises that it is entirely possible that Strathclyde's
sovereignty extended over Cumberland & Westmoreland for only short
- It would appear that Strathclyde proper lay
to the north of the Solway. After the Battle of Brunanburh (937),
Strathclyde could well have abandoned to England all land south of
the Solway. Whether this supposition is true or not, the harrying
in 945 of this area by the Anglo-Saxons, and its being commended to the Scottish king,
make it clear that it was
sometimes called Strathclyde, sometimes Cumbria.
- The supposed existence of two kingdoms would
depend only on the two names and the assumption that Cumbria must
lie south of the Solway.
- A great deal of twelfth century evidence
One can safely deduce that Strathclyde-Cumbria was one kingdom.
From 945 it was a kingdom which was closely allied to Scotland, first as a tributary
and later through kinship. It is also accepted that dependence
upon Scotland commenced in about 870, when the power of the
Strathclyde Britons was broken by the Vikings.