Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Hortoberlande, Norhomberlande, Norhorbelande, Nortdumberlande, Nortellande, Northumberlande, Northunberlande, Nortoberlande, Nortomberlande, Nortublande, Nortumbellande, Ortablande, Ortublande

Northumberland is a historic county in the northeast of England, bordering Scotland to the north.

King Clarion of Northumberland was an early enemy of Arthur, but the two eventually allied. Various texts name Northumberland as the home of Blaise, a friend of Merlins, and of the knights Balin and Balan.

In Paolino Pieri’s La Storia di Merlino, it is Merlin’s home. In Girart D’Amiens’ Escanor, Northumberland is ruled by Cador, and Claris et Laris names its ruler as Detors. The Vulgate Merlin sometimes describes it as a city. In the Vulgate Lancelot, its king goes to war with the Lady of Nohaut, but his champion is defeated by Lancelot.

In Meriadeuc, its king lusts after Guinevere and is promised the queen by his lord, King Ris of Outre-Ombre, but Ris’s attempt to conquer Arthur and kidnap the queen is thwarted.

Northumberland | 0 to 800 AD

Roman Period | 1st – 5th centuries AD
During the Roman occupation of Britain, Northumberland was part of the frontier zone and was home to Hadrian’s Wall, constructed by the Romans in the second century AD. The wall served as a defensive fortification and marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in Britain.

Anglo-Saxon Settlement | 5th – 7th centuries AD
After the decline of Roman rule, various Germanic tribes, including the Angles and Saxons, migrated to Britain. Northumberland, along with other parts of northern England, witnessed the establishment of Anglo-Saxon settlements and kingdoms.

The area that would become Northumberland was part of the larger Kingdom of Northumbria during this period. The Kingdom of Northumbria was one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and played a crucial role in the early medieval history of England.

Viking Invasions | 8th century AD
In the late eighth century, Northumbria faced Viking invasions and raids, marking the beginning of Viking influence in the region. The Vikings targeted monasteries and settlements, contributing to the decline of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

The Lindisfarne Monastery, located off the coast of Northumberland, was famously raided by Vikings in 793 AD. This event is often considered the beginning of the Viking Age in England.

Alcuin and Cultural Achievements | 8th century AD
Alcuin of York, an important scholar and advisor to Charlemagne, was associated with the Northumbrian court. His contributions to education and learning had a lasting impact on the region and beyond.

Kingdom of Northumbria and Internal Struggles | 7th – 8th centuries AD
Northumbria went through periods of political instability and internal strife during the seventh and eighth centuries. The kingdom faced challenges from both external invasions and internal conflicts.

Christianity and Monastic Centers
Northumberland played a significant role in the spread of Christianity in England. Monastic centers, including Lindisfarne and Jarrow (associated with Bede), were important hubs of learning and religious activity.

Battle of Heavenfield | 633 AD
The Battle of Heavenfield was a pivotal conflict in the history of Northumbria. It involved King Oswald, a Christian king of Northumbria, and Penda of Mercia. Oswald’s victory is often associated with the spread of Christianity in the region.

See also
Forest of Northumberland | The Legend of King Arthur

Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Escanor | Girart d’Amiens, c. 1280
Claris et Laris | 1268
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470