Posted by: kljolly | March 25, 2014

Heysham and Brunanburh

At the risk of raising more discussion of the location of Brunanburh, I have another query about the infamous 937 battle:

Was Oswulf I earl of Bamburgh (fl. 934-66) there either on the side of Constantine mac Aeda et. al. or King Athelstan’s?

Bamburgh, seen from Lindisfarne

Bamburgh, seen from Lindisfarne

Oswulf certainly survives to betray Eric Bloodaxe last king of York in 954 (according to Roger of Wendover; cf. Rollason, Northumbria 300-1100, pp. 265-66).  In PASE, he may be Oswald 14 as well as Oswald 17.

Oswald 17 is noted as dux Bamburgh in charters of King Eadred (r. 946-55), so two kings after our battle.

But Oswald 14 dux (of what?) signs Athelstan charters in 930 (S406), 934 (S407, S425, S428), and supposedly 937 (S434, S435), although those two charters discussed earlier are now dated to 935, two years before our battle (see the easy to use Electronic Sawyer for these charters).

Oswulf’s attestations in 934 are significant.  That year King Athelstan returned to the north to settle matters with Scots king Constantine and Owain king of Strathclyde that he thought had been stabilized in 927 at the Eamont Bridge treaty with these two rulers and Oswulf’s predecessor at Bamburgh, Ealdred.  After Athelstan’s 934 victory over these northern kings (and his gifts to the community of St. Cuthbert at Chester-le-Street), Constantine and Owain begin attesting as subkings in submission to Athelstan.  Oswulf’s appearance in 934 and 935 charters suggests he may be part of the group, or merely that he is already a loyal vassal to Athelstan.  Unfortunately, the northern kings’ submission does not last long, given the bloody battle at Brunanburh three years later.

So was Oswulf there and on whose side?

On another note, I have a few days this summer between conferences to visit Heysham and environs.  Any suggestions on B&Bs and places to visit, please send to my email.

 


Responses

  1. Hi There,

    My wife and I and my little boy stopped at this place two years ago.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CC4QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.holidaylettings.co.uk%2Frentals%2Fmorecambe%2F654394&ei=bIYyU-P6K4WQhQfi8oCoDw&usg=AFQjCNGUygNK9zulktdl9_9ym_Y7dYKSKw

    Its a great little cottage and five minutes walk from Heysham Head and the Anglo-Saxon Chapel.

    Regards,

    Mick

    On 26.03.2014 00:47, Revealing Words wrote:

    > kljolly posted: “At the risk of raising more discussion of the location of Brunanburh, I have another query about the infamous 937 battle: Was Oswulf I earl of Bamburgh (fl. 934-66) there either on the side of Constantine mac Aeda et. al. or King Athelstan’s? Os” > >

  2. Some of the churches in the surrounding area have some nice cross fragments, I’m trying to think of specific ones but Hornby, Halton and Lancaster spring to mind. Heversham is not too far away, although you may have visited that before. Heysham is an excellent spot in its own right.

  3. Many thanks to both of you. The cottage requires a minimum 7 night stay, but I have some other options nearby. Will definitely look for the cross fragments, Dan. I did not stop in Heversham last summer but will try to do so this time.

    • Burton in Kendal also has some interesting Fragments, but you need an appointment as the church is locked, and they don’t answer emails so a phone call is best! The Museum in Lancaster is worth a look, as some of the Heysham finds are in the museum, as well as a few stray Viking-age finds from the Lakes.

      • Thanks. I went through Kendal last summer but did not get into the church. I appreciate the tip on the Lancaster museum for Heysham fragments and will put it in the itinerary!


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