views updated May 17 2018

NORTHUMBRIA. A kingdom of the Angles before the unification of England, from the Humber to the Forth. In the 7c, its leadership was recognized by the other kingdoms and its monasteries were in the forefront of European religious life. The Venerable Bede was a monk at Jarrow and the Lindisfarne Gospels demonstrate great skill in the illuminating of manuscripts. In the 9c the kingdom was overwhelmed by Danes and in the 10c the Scots (speakers of GAELIC) extended their border from the Forth to the Tweed, acquiring a province of speakers of Northumbrian English. In 944, when the last Danish king was expelled from York, Northumbria became an earldom of England. The Northumbrian dialect was ancestral to NORTHERN ENGLISH and SCOTS and is preserved in glosses on the Lindisfarne and other gospels, in manuscripts of Caedmon's Hymn and Bede's Death Song (8–9c), and in runic inscriptions (8–10c). See GEORDIE, RUNE.


views updated May 18 2018

Northumbria an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom in NE England extending from the Humber to the Forth. The name comes from obsolete Northumber, denoting a person living beyond the Humber.

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