The Angles
The Angles came to the province of Britain from their homeland in Europe, identified by Bede as 'Angelen' and corresponding with modern Angeln at the base of the Schleswig-Jutland peninsula.  Unlike the Picts and Scots they come not as enemies of the Romans, but at their invitation.  The use of allies from barbarian tribes introduced into the empire to defend its frontiers in return for subsidies and grants of land, was tried as a matter of expediency in the third century.  It was now developed from a expedient to a practice and the Angles were imported into England in the course of the next century. 

At some stage in the fifth century, impossible to date, the relationship between the Angles and the post-Roman government of the province changed into the more familiar one of invasion and settlement.  Two other tribes, the Saxons who came from the area between the rivers Weser and Elbe, and the Jutes whose territory was in the northern part of the Schleswig-Jutland peninsula, were also involved.  The progress of the Angles northwards through eastern England and thus in the direction of Scotland was slow.  The resistance of the native British population was considerable and it is even possible that it reached such a peak that about the 530 some of the invaders fled back to their German homelands.  In 547, however, under their king, Ida the Flambearer, they captured the British fortress of Dinguardi, now Bamburgh, which became the capital of their kingdom of Bernicia.  This was to be the springboard for further expansion westwards into the land of the Britons and northwards into the Lowlands of Scotland.  What Ida had begun, Ethelfrith, who became king near the end of the century, continued but to greater effect.  His victory over the Scots in 603 was an event of such consequence that, according to Bede, from that time until 731, when Bede completed the Ecclesiastical History, 'no king of the Scots (has) dared to come against the English (Anglish) in battle.'

From "A Travelers History of Scotland" by Andrew Fisher, published by Interlink Books, NY
[Back to Stories Page]