Scotlands History

Britons - Rheged

The Britons of the Kingdom of Rheged spoke a P-Celtic Brythonic language. From the late 5th to early 8th centuries their territory included Cumbria, Westmoreland and North Yorkshire, and extended into Dumfries and Galloway. They were the heirs to the lands of the Novantae. There were still good Roman roads connecting Carlisle with many coastal sites.

Urien Rheged, King of North Rheged (c.530–590 AD), was one of the earliest Christian kings in Britain. Urien became an important figure in Welsh legend. His victories are celebrated in the Book of Taliesin, and Urien, along with his son Owain, became heroes in the stories of King Arthur.

The Kingdom of Rheged was annexed by Northumbria in the early 8th century, and the area’s Brythonic language was gradually lost.


  • A photograph of a forrest at dawn

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