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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Is Jo Swinson the fourth Welsh Lib Dem MP?

Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement this morning, had an intriguing piece based on a book by Professor Norman Davies (Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe) in which he reveals an ancient Welsh speaking people were based along the River Clyde and ruled there for the best part of the first millennium.

Research elsewhere on the internet reveals that these Brithonic peoples founded the city of Glasgow and supplied us with our earliest examples of Scottish literature, written in Welsh. The BBC's Birth of a Nation page has more:

Sailing up the Clyde towards Glasgow there is a vast and imposing sentinel guarding the river at Dumbarton. As a fortress it has a long and proud history, and, in fact, has a longer recorded history than any other in Britain.

The rock was the centre of the Kingdom of the Britons, that stretched along the River Clyde, north into Stirlingshire and south into Ayrshire. Known as Dun Breatann - ‘Fortress of the Britons’ or 'Alt Clut' (Rock of the Clyde). It was the centre of a flourishing Britonnic culture that spoke Old Welsh, or Cumbric, which is now almost entirely forgotten.

They continue: Early Britonnic kings, such as Rhydderch Hael (c580-612 AD), helped to secure Christianity in Scotland by supporting St Kentigern (aka. St Mungo), the founder of Glasgow.

By the mid 7th century only Dumbarton, of all the Britonnic Kingdoms of Scotland, had survived the Angles’ onslaught. This has left us with the image of the Britons as doomed, heroic losers of the Dark Ages - an image depicted by their own poetry and their seemingly hopeless strategic position, trapped between the powerful Picts to the north and the Angles to the south. However, this is a mistaken image. The Britons were perfectly capable of defeating even the mightiest of their opponents.

This Kingdom was eventually brought to an end by Olaf the White, the Norse King of Dublin though this led to the emergence of a new kingdom, further up the river at Strathclyde.

East Dunbartonshire of course is represented by the very Scottish Liberal Democrat, Jo Swinson, who comes from the area. This leads one to pose the fanciful question, is she actually the fourth Welsh Liberal Democrat MP?
Stop trying to steal Scotland's only female Lib Dem MP for one of the other national parties ;-)
Dumbarton is actually in West Dunbartonshire whose Labour MP is Gemma Doyle. East Dunbartonshire is north east of Glasgow extending from Kirkintilloch westwards along the foot of the Campsies to Bearsden and Milngavie which are still some miles away from Dumbarton - Geography lesson endeth.
OK, but East Dunbartonshire was almost certainly with the boundaries of this kingdom.
A surprising number of place-names in the lowlands betray old Welsh origins. For instance, a few beginning "Kirk" were originally "Caer".
...and don't forget the Wallace clan... that's right William Wallace was a Welshman!
... and Welsh whisky was around before the Scottish version.
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