Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Dunbar is a historic coastal town located in East Lothian, on the southeastern coast of Scotland.

This town is named in one chronicle as the home of King Lot.

Dunbar | 0 to the 9th century AD

Prehistoric and Roman Periods
The area around Dunbar has evidence of prehistoric human activity, including artifacts and archaeological sites that date back to the Iron Age. The region likely had early Celtic and Pictish inhabitants.

During the Roman occupation of Britain (first to fourth centuries), the Dunbar region fell within the territory that the Romans referred to as Caledonia. Roman influences were present, and there might have been interactions between the Roman forces and the local populations.

Early Medeival Period | 5th – 9th centuries
The early medieval period in Scotland was characterized by the gradual transition from Roman Britain to the emergence of distinct Celtic and Pictish kingdoms. Dunbar was part of the evolving political landscape as various Celtic groups and later Picts sought to establish and consolidate their territories. The Picts were a confederation of Celtic-speaking peoples who inhabited parts of present-day eastern and northern Scotland. The influence of the Picts in the Dunbar region is likely, but specific details about the governance and cultural life during this period are limited.

The territory of Dunbar were part of the Kingdom of Alt Clut, also known as the Kingdom of Strathclyde. The people of Alt Clut were Celtic Britons, who were part of the larger Brittonic-speaking population in the region. They shared cultural and linguistic connections with other Celtic groups in Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland.

The spread of Christianity in the Dunbar region, as in many parts of early medieval Scotland, was a gradual process that unfolded over several centuries. There were likely some early Christian communities in urban centers, influenced by contact with the Roman Empire. The transition from Roman Britain to the early medieval period saw the emergence of Celtic Christianity and the Celtic Church. By the sixth and seventh centuries, monastic communities and Christian missionaries, inspired by figures like Saint Columba, were active in regions with Celtic influence, including areas around Dunbar.

Anglo-Saxon and Viking Invasions
The arrival of the Anglo-Saxons from the south and the Norse from the north during the later part of the early medieval period added complexity to the interactions and power dynamics of the region. Dunbar’s coastal location made it susceptible to Viking invaders who targeted monasteries and settlements along the coast, disrupting local life and trade.

In the early medieval period, there were interactions between the people of Alt Clut and the neighboring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, particularly Northumbria to the south. These interactions included both trade and conflict.

Dunbar was home to a royal residence during this period, which was used by the rulers of Alt Clut. The strategic location of Dunbar overlooking the North Sea coast made it a significant site for the rulers to maintain control over the region. Over time, the political boundaries of Alt Clut fluctuated due to interactions with neighboring kingdoms, including Northumbria and the expanding Kingdom of the Scots to the north and east.

John Hardyng’s Chronicle | John Hardyng, 1457–1464