Kingdom of Strathclyde
Welsh: Alt Clut
Strathclyde was a medieval kingdom, situated in the western and southwestern parts of present-day Scotland, including parts of the modern Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, and Strathclyde Region.
A British kingdom in the Lowlands of Scotland in the traditional Arthurian period. The names and dates of the kings are uncertain. According to Sir Walter Scott’s The Bridal of Triermain, Arthur promised this western Scottish kingdom to whichever knight married Gyneth, his daughter. In this sixth century, it was ruled by Rhydderch the Generous, who is connected to Merlin in Welsh legend.
Strathclyde | History
Early Formation and Origins
The Kingdom of Strathclyde emerged in the early medieval period, around the sixth century. It was established in the region that now includes western and southwestern Scotland, as well as parts of northern England. The people of Strathclyde were Britons, a Celtic-speaking group. They were descendants of the Romano-British population that lived in the area during and after the Roman occupation of Britain.
Policital Structure and Borders
Strathclyde had a political structure with kings who ruled over their territory. The kingdom’s boundaries shifted over time, but it included the region known as “Strathclyde,” which means “Valley of the River Clyde.” It shared borders with the Kingdom of the Scots (Dalriada) to the west, the Kingdom of Northumbria to the south and east, and Pictish territories to the north.
Cultural and Linguistic Identity
The people of Strathclyde maintained their own cultural and linguistic identity. They spoke a Brittonic language, which was a precursor to Welsh. This linguistic connection is part of the reason why Strathclyde is considered distinct from the neighboring Scots and Picts. The culture of Strathclyde had Celtic and Brythonic elements, reflecting the broader Celtic culture of the time.
Interactions and Conflicts
Strathclyde faced numerous challenges and conflicts during its existence. It had to contend with Viking invasions from the west and the influence of the Northumbrians from the south. The Kingdom of Strathclyde maintained relations with the Scots and, at times, alliances and conflicts occured between the two kingdoms.
Gradual Intergration into Scotland
Over time, the Kingdom of Strathclyde became increasingly integrated into the Kingdom of Scotland. This integration was not sudden but a gradual process. By the eleventh century, Strathclyde had effectively ceased to exist as a separate kingdom and had been absorbed into the expanding Kingdom of Scotland.
The Name | Alt Clut
Alt Clut is the Welsh name for the kingdom, while “Strathclyde” is the anglicized version of the name. Dumbarton was the capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. The name “Alt Clut” refers to the rock (Dumbarton Rock) on which Dumbarton Castle stands. The fortress atop Dumbarton Rock was an essential stronghold of the kingdom, and the name “Alt Clut” translates to “Rock of the Clyde” in reference to its location at the confluence of the Rivers Clyde and Leven.
The Bridal of Triermain | Sir Walter Scott, 1804