By Jeremy Black (auth.)
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Extra resources for A History of the British Isles
Both as a result of the 1066 campaign and as a consequence of the suppression of subsequent rebellions, there had been a social revolution at the level of the elite. This had had far less effect at the level of the bulk of the population. Their life continued to be dominated by the pressures of agricultural life and the rhythms of a harsh demographic regime. Domesday revealed the extent to which the detailed nature of local environments influenced settlement patterns and economic activities. Thus, the silts and peat fens in the south-east of Lincolnshire were little settled: the marshland attracted few bar salt makers.
It was difficult to perpetuate any hegemony. In England Aethelbert of SAXONS, VIKINGS AND CELTS, AD 400-1066 13 Kent was able to act as an over king in the 590s, but for most of the following century this position belonged to Oswald (634-41), Oswy (641-70) and Egfrith (670--85) ofNorthumbria. They ruled between the Humber and the Forth in eastern Britain and the Mersey and the Ayr on the west, and were at times treated as overlords by the rulers of Mercia, Wessex, Strathclyde and the Pict and Scottish territories.
Nowhere else in the British Isles was a frontier quite so crucial. The advance of the Anglo-Saxons and later the Normans was to help condition Welsh history. Indeed Wales was given its identity by the conquerors in terms of otherness: the Saxons used Walas or Wealas to describe the Britons and it meant both serfs and foreigners. As the Anglo-Saxons advanced westwards, the links between the surviving Romano-British communities were severed: Cumbria/ Strathclyde, Wales and Cornwall could not unite to any purpose.
A History of the British Isles by Jeremy Black (auth.)