Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Cumbria is a county located in the northwest region of England, bordering Scotland to the north.

In the generation after Arthur, it was ruled by Rhydderch the Generous.

Cumbria | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st – 5th centuries
During the Roman occupation of Britain, the area that is now Cumbria was part of the Roman province of Britannia. The Romans established forts and settlements, including Hadrian’s Wall, which stretches across northern England and was built to defend against raids from what is now Scotland.

Celtic Influence and the Kingdom of Rheged | 6th – 7th centuries
After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the region came under the influence of Celtic peoples. The Celtic kingdom of Rheged is believed to have been located in parts of what is now Cumbria. The exact extent and nature of Rheged are subjects of historical debate.

During the sixth century, the Kingdom of Rheged emerged as a notable kingdom in the area that roughly corresponds to modern-day Cumbria and parts of southern Scotland. Rheged is mentioned in later medieval poetry and Welsh genealogies, and it is believed to have been a significant center of power and influence. The early centuries of the Early Medieval period saw struggles for dominance among various British and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rheged likely had interactions and conflicts with neighboring kingdoms, such as Northumbria to the east.

The Battle of Arthuret, traditionally dated to 573, is said to have taken place near Carlisle and involved the Celtic king Urien of Rheged. The historical accuracy of this event is debated, and it is often associated with the legends of King Arthur.

Christianity began to spread in Britain during this period, and it is believed that missionaries and religious communities played a role in the conversion of the local population to Christianity. Saint Kentigern, also known as Saint Mungo, is said to have been active in missionary work in the region, including areas around Cumbria.

Anglo-Saxon Period | 7th – 9th centuries
The Early Medieval period was marked by the migration and settlement of various Germanic tribes, including the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. These groups, collectively known as Anglo-Saxons, began to establish their kingdoms in different parts of Britain. As the Anglo-Saxons expanded their control over various parts of England, Cumbria experienced interactions with both the Celtic Britons and the Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria played a significant role in the region’s history.

Over time, the influence of Northumbria extended into Cumbria, and several Anglo-Saxon settlements and ecclesiastical sites were established.

Vita Merlini | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1150