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Offa's Dyke Journal
Number of Followers: 1  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2695-625X
Published by U of Chester Homepage  [1 journal]
  • Borders in Early Medieval Britain: Introducing the Special Issue

    • Authors: Ben Guy
      Pages: 1 - 2
      Abstract: The contents of this special issue comprise the proceedings of a conference held over Zoom on the weekend of 11–12 July 2020. The event was originally planned to take place in Cambridge, but, as the unforeseeable events of 2020 began to unfold, it was soon realised that it would be necessary either to cancel the event or move it into digital space. The latter path was taken, making this conference part of the first wave of academic Zoom events that we have subsequently become so accustomed to. It was a steep learning curve, but hopefully a valuable learning experience for all concerned!
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.350
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • The Fluidity of Borderlands

    • Authors: Lindy Brady
      Pages: 3 - 15
      Abstract: This introduction to the special issue considers the central themes raised by the volume’s contributions as a whole, focusing on their collective interest in the political and cultural — as opposed to geographical — fluidity of borderland zones in early medieval Britain. To highlight these important points, two case studies from the Anglo-Welsh border region are discussed: the Old English legal text known as the Dunsæte Agreement or Ordinance concerning the Dunsæte and the tradition preserved within some Welsh law texts that legal reforms were enacted by the Welsh ruler Bleddyn ap Cynfyn (king of Gwynedd from 1064 to 1073), both of which underscore the fluidity of frontiers on a political level.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.351
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • Bige Habban: An Introduction to Money, Trade and Cross-Border Traffic

    • Authors: Rory Naismith
      Pages: 16 - 35
      Abstract: This short survey examines issues in early medieval cross-border trade, particularly with reference to England, but also drawing comparisons with mainland Europe and other regions of Britain. Three themes are considered: tolls charged on traders and travellers; the vulnerability of traders and the importance of building trust and familiarity; and the practical challenges of moving between different means of exchange.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.353
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • Donation and Conquest: The Formation of Lothian and the Origins of the
           Anglo-Scottish Border

    • Authors: Neil McGuigan
      Pages: 36 - 65
      Abstract: Various ‘donation’ accounts of the twelfth century attempted to explain Scottish rule of ‘Lothian’ as the outcome of grants from English rulers to Scottish kings. Until relatively recently historians of both Scotland and England tended to accept these accounts. However, ‘Lothian’ was a politically sensitive topic in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and the value of these accounts for an earlier period is low. There is a variety of evidence of better value, and although the guidance of strictly contemporary sources is very poor prior to the later eleventh century, continuous Scottish rule south of the Forth cannot be traced prior to the reign of Máel Coluim III (r. 1058–1093), and in the case of some areas David his son (r. 1113/24–1153). It is suggested that the emergence of ‘Lothian’ as a jurisdiction is a response to the political changes of that era, an important development in its own right but also a critical intermediate development for the emergence of the familiar Anglo-Scottish border.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.352
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • King Æthelstan and Cornwall

    • Authors: Oliver Padel
      Pages: 66 - 85
      Abstract: During the three centuries from about AD 700 to 1000, Cornwall became a border area through the anglicisation and absorption into Wessex of its neighbour Devon, then ceased to be one when it was itself fully absorbed into the newly-formed kingdom of England. The particular focus here is on the reign of Æthelstan (924–939). Four events relating to Cornwall are considered in detail, including William of Malmesbury’s twelfth-century account of Æthelstan’s treatment of the Cornish. His statement that Æthelstan ‘expelled the Cornish from Exeter’, if accepted, refers not to native Devonians but to economic migrants from Cornwall itself.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.354
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • The Changing Approaches of English Kings to Wales in the Tenth and
           Eleventh Centuries

    • Authors: Ben Guy
      Pages: 86 - 106
      Abstract: This article examines how political relations between England and Wales evolved during the tenth and eleventh centuries. During this period, the newly enlarged English kingdom ruled by Alfred the Great’s descendants became more sophisticated and better able to exploit its inhabitants. At the same time, Wales came to be dominated by a smaller number of more powerful and wide-ranging kings. The combined effect of these changes was a move away from the complete domination over Wales sought by English kings of the earlier tenth century to a pattern of more sporadic intervention exercised through client lords active in the Anglo-Welsh borderlands.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.355
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • Place-names and Offa’s Dyke: The Limits of Inference

    • Authors: David Parsons
      Pages: 107 - 131
      Abstract: This chapter examines English and Welsh place-names along the line of Offa’s Dyke. It is divided into three sections, each concentrating on a separate area and each given a rather different focus. First, names either side of the dyke passing through the hundred of Clun in south-west Shropshire are examined to show the nature of the evidence and some of its complexity, as well — it is hoped — as some of its interest. The second section reconsiders some specific arguments about the dating of English names lying to the west of the dyke in modern Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire. Finally the third section, in rather speculative vein, attempts to co-ordinate a ‘reading’ of the place-name evidence in Oswestry hundred, north-west Shropshire, with the different lines indicated by Offa’s Dyke, Wat’s Dyke and various types of historical evidence. It is suggested, on one hand, that a cultural boundary visible in the later medieval period may have roots deep in the Anglo-Saxon period, but also that this line was probably always only one element in a complex skein of boundaries that made up the Anglo-Welsh frontier.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.356
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • The Organisation of the Mid–Late Anglo-Saxon Borderland with Wales

    • Authors: Keith Ray
      Pages: 132 - 153
      Abstract: With hardly any written documentation concerning the creation of Offa’s Dyke or for the contemporary communities that it affected, the intricacies of how the Mercian-Welsh frontier was organised during the late eighth and early ninth century and afterwards can seem entirely unknowable. This article addresses the question of the likely variable character of the long and undoubtedly complex frontier in reference to some location-specific existing archaeological evidence and close study of the form of the Dyke and other contemporary features in the landscape. One of the key elements of this attempt at detection of early frontier organisation therefore involves looking at the potential role of the inherited Roman road network especially where it runs parallel with the Dyke. Two examples based upon archaeological excavations in Herefordshire are noted here as providing clues as to the diversity of frontier structuring. The first example is the uncovering of a mid–late Anglo-Saxon fortified enclosure at Breinton just to the west of Hereford in 2018 that has at last added some substance to the possibility of the past existence of sophisticated military infrastructure including fortresses close to the Mercian/Welsh frontier. A key factor in the organisation of the pre-Norman frontier at least from the English side could have been the location of ‘quasi-military personnel’ close to the Dyke and to the inherited routeway system. Certain entries in the county-based Domesday surveys of Circuit V for the border counties are briefly re-examined here to consider the implications of the spatial distribution of a single category of specialised freemen. This highlights the importance of Leintwardine and the Roman road south from Shrewsbury as a key location: a possibility underlined by discoveries made during an excavation in the 1990s.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.357
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
  • Shifting Border, Shifting Interpretation: what the Anglo-Norman Castle of
           Dodleston in Cheshire might be trying to tell us about the
           eleventh-century northern Anglo-Welsh Border

    • Authors: Rachel Swallow
      Pages: 154 - 176
      Abstract: This chapter follows on from research and publication by this author on the form and placing of Anglo-Norman castles situated within the northern Anglo-Welsh medieval borderland, recently interpreted and newly termed the Irish Sea Cultural Zone (Swallow 2016). This interpretation argues for the Anglo-Normans’ reuse of pre-existing monuments dating from the prehistoric and Romano-British periods for the deliberate placing of their castle builds. Dodleston Castle was situated within the fluctuating borders of this frontier borderlands zone, and, it is argued, played a significant role in the continuity of strategic and commercial movement along the entirety of the Anglo-Welsh border and the Irish Sea Region. Within this context, and taking a cross-period and interdisciplinary research approach to re-examine the earthworks and landscape of Dodleston Castle in more detail than hitherto, the earthworks at Dodleston may reveal a meeting point of significance over millennia. It will be demonstrated, for instance, that Dodleston’s earthworks likely represent an Anglo-Saxon assembly site situated at the meeting points of important medieval administrative boundaries within the Irish Sea Cultural Zone. By considering the wider spatial significance of Dodleston beyond the temporal confines of the Anglo-Norman period, it is therefore possible to understand better, and reinterpret, the form of the castle earthworks as they exist in the landscape today.
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.23914/odj.v4i0.358
      Issue No: Vol. 4 (2022)
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