Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Penrith is a market town in the county of Cumbria, in the northwest of England. It is located in the historic county of Cumberland, just southeast of Carlisle.

In The Bridal of Triermain, Sir Walter Scott names it as one of Arthur’s courts.

Penrith | 0 to 800 AD

Roman Influence
During the Roman period, which began in the first century AD, the area that is now Penrith was part of the Roman province of Britannia. There is evidence of Roman presence in the vicinity, including the construction of a fort called Voreda.

Early Medieval Period | c. 400 – 1066 AD
With the decline and withdrawal of Roman influence in the fourth and fifth centuries, the region experienced a period of transition and change. The Anglo-Saxons, Angles, and Jutes arrived in Britain, and there may have been influences from these groups in the area.

Viking Invasions | 8th – 9th centuries AD
In the late eighth century, Vikings began raiding and eventually settling in various parts of Britain. While the historical records for Penrith during this period is limited, it’s plausible that the region may have experienced Viking activity.

Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Influences
The merging of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic cultures continued to shape the local landscape and communities during this time.

Border Conflicts
The region, being close to the border between England and Scotland, likely experienced the effects of border conflicts, which were prevalent in the medieval period. Penrith’s strategic location may have made it a point of interest in these conflicts.

The spread of Christianity during this period likely reached the Penrith area, with the establishment of churches and monastic communities.

The name “Penrith” has Old Welsh origins and is derived from two elements: Pen, meaning “head” or “end,” in Welsh, Cornish and Breton. In the context of place names, it often refers to a prominent headland or the end of something, like the end of a landmass or a prominent point. The second part of the name, rith, is a component in this context related to a “ford” or a crossing point. Therefore, “Penrith” can be interpreted as the “headland ford” or the “ford at the end of a landmass.”

The Bridal of Triermain | Sir Walter Scott, 1804