Durham is a historic city located in the northeast of England, situated on the River Wear. It is the county town of County Durham.
In Béroul’s Tristan, Arthur seems to have a court there.
Durham | 400-600 AD
By the early fifth century AD, Roman rule in Britain was coming to an end. The Roman legions withdrew from Britain to defend the Roman Empire from other threats, leaving the region vulnerable to external influences.
From the late fifth century AD onwards, various Germanic tribes collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons began migrating to Britain and establishing their kingdoms. These invasions led to the gradual replacement of Romano-British culture with Anglo-Saxon culture.
Before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, the area that would later become Durham County was part of the territory of the Celtic Britons. The Britons were a Celtic-speaking people who inhabited various parts of what is now England, Wales, and Scotland. During this period, Durham County was part of the Kingdom of Bernicia, one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that emerged in the northeast of England. Bernicia was eventually united with the neighboring Kingdom of Deira to form the powerful Kingdom of Northumbria.
The spread of Christianity in Britain continued during the Early Medieval period, with Christian missionaries converting local populations to the new faith. By the sixth century, Christianity had made significant inroads in the region.
The political landscape of the region was fluid during this time, with various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms vying for dominance. The establishment of Northumbria marked the ascendancy of one of the most influential Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England.
City of Durham
The city of Durham – or the site on which it stands – was likely part of the Roman province of Britannia during the early fifth century AD. The city was founded in the tenth century by the monks of Lindisfarne, who were seeking a more defensible location for their religious community.
Dun Stallion | The Legend of King Arthur
Tristan | Béroul, late 12th century