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LOTHIAN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 19 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LOTHIAN. This name was formerly applied to a considerably larger extent of country than the three counties of Linlithgow, Edinburgh and Haddington. Roxburghshire and Berwickshire at all events were included in it, probably also the upper part of Tweeddale (at least Selkirk). It would thus embrace the eastern part of the Lowlands from the Forth to the Cheviots, i.e. all the English part of Scotland in the 11th century. This region formed from the 7th century onward part of the kingdoms of Bernicia and Northumbria, though we have no definite information as to the date or events by which it came into English hands. In Roman times, according to Ptolemy, it was occupied by a people called Otadini, whose name is thought to have been preserved in Manaw Gododin, the home of the British king Cunedda before he migrated to North Wales. There is no reason to doubt that the district remained in Welsh hands until towards the close of the 6th century; for in the Historia Brittonum the Bernician king Theodoric, whose traditional date is 572-579, is said to have been engaged in war with four Welsh kings. One of these was Rhydderch Hen who, as we know from Adamnan, reigned at Dumbarton, while another named Urien is said to have besieged Theodoric in Lindisfarne. If this statement is to be believed it is hardly likely that the English had by this time obtained a firm footing beyond the Tweed. At all events there can be little doubt that the whole region was conquered within the next fifty years. Most probably the greater part of it was conquered by the Northumbrian king 2Ethelfrith, who, according to Bede, ravaged the territory of the Britons more often than any other English king, in some places reducing the natives to. dependence, in others exterminating them and replacing them by English settlers. In the time of Oswic the English element became predominant in northern Britain. His supremacy was acknowledged both by the Welsh in the western Lowlands and by the Scots in Argyllshire. On the death of the Pictish king Talorgan, the son of his brother Eanfrith, he seems to have obtained the sovereignty over a considerable part of that nation also. Early in Ecgfrith's reign an attempt at revolt on the part of the Picts proved unsuccessful. We hear at this time also of the establishment of an English bishopric at Abercorn, which, however, only lasted for a few years. By the disastrous overthrow of Ecgfrith in 685 the Picts, Scots and some of the Britons also recovered their independence. Yet we find a succession of English bishops at Whithorn from 730 to the 9th century, from which it may be inferred that the south-west coast had already by this time become English. The Northumbrian dominions were again enlarged by Eadberht, who in 750 is said to have annexed Kyle, the central part of Ayrshire, with other districts. In conjunction with cEngus mac Fergus, king of the Picts, he also reduced thewhole of the Britons to submission in 756. But this subjugation was not lasting, and the British kingdom, though now reduced to the basin of the Clyde, whence its inhabitants are known as Strathclyde Britons, continued to exist for nearly three centuries. After Eadberht's time we hear little of events in the northern part of Northumbria, and there is some reason for suspecting that English influence in the south-west began to decline before long, as our list of bishops of Whithorn ceases early in the 9th century; the evidence on this point, however, is not so decisive as is commonly stated. About 844 an important revolution took place among the Picts. The throne was acquired by Kenneth mac Alpin, a prince of Scottish family, who soon became formidable to the Northumbrians. He is said to have invaded " Saxonia " six times, and to have burnt Dunbar and Melrose. After the disastrous battle at York in 867 the Northumbrians were weakened by the loss of the southern part of their territories, and between 883 and 889 the whole country as far as Lindisfarne was ravaged by the Scots. In 919, however, we find their leader Aldred calling in Constantine II., king of the Scots, to help them. A few years later together with Constantine and the Britons they acknowledged the supremacy of Edward the Elder. After his death, however, both the Scots and the Britons were for a time in alliance with the Norwegians from Ireland, and consequently iEthelstan is said to have ravaged a large portion of the Scottish king's territories in 934. Brunanburh, where iEthelstan defeated the confederates in 937, is believed by many to have been in Dumfriesshire, but we have no information as to the effects of the battle on the northern populations. By this time, how-ever, the influence of the Scottish kingdom certainly seems to have increased in the south, and in 945 the English king Edmund gave Cumberland, i.e. apparently the British kingdom of Strathclyde, to Malcolm I., king of the Scots, in consideration of his alliance with him. Malcolm's successor Indulph (954-962) succeeded in capturing Edinburgh, which thenceforth remained in possession of the Scots. His successors made repeated attempts to extend their territory southwards, and certain late chroniclers state that Kenneth II. in 971-975 obtained a grant of the whole of Lothian from Edgar. Whatever truth this story may contain, the cession of the province was finally effected by Malcolm II. by force of arms. At his first attempt in ioo6 he seems to have suffered a great defeat from Uhtred, the son of earl Waltheof. Twelve years later, however, he succeeded in conjunction with Eugenius, king of Strathclyde, in annihilating the Northumbrian army at Carham on the Tweed, and Eadulf Cudel, the brother and successor of Uhtred, ceded all his territory to the north of that river as the price of peace. Henceforth in spite of an invasion by Aldred, the son of Uhtred, during the reign of Duncan, Lothian remained permanently in possession of the Scottish kings. In the reign of Malcolm III. and his son, the English element appears to have acquired considerable influence in the kingdom. Some three years before he obtained his father's throne Malcolm had by the help of earl Siward secured the government of Cumbria (Strathclyde) with which Lothian was probably united. Then in Io68 he received a large number of exiles from England, amongst them the ./Etheling Eadgar, whose sister Margaret he married. Four other sons in succession occupied the throne, and in the time of the youngest, David, who held most of the south of Scotland as an earldom from 1107-1124 and the whole kingdom from 1124-1153, the court seems already to have been composed chiefly of English and Normans. AuTUoRITIEs.-Bede, Historia Ecclesiastic¢' (ed. C. Plummer, Oxford, 1896); Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (ed. Earle and Plummer, Oxford, 1899) ; Simeon of Durham (Rolls Series, ed. T. Arnold, 1882) ; W. F. Skene, Chronicle of .Picts and Scots (Edinburgh, 1867), and Celtic Scotland (Edinburgh, 1876–188o) ; and J. Rhys, Celtic Britain (London). (F. G. M. B.)
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