Ancient Britons

York Press: Ancient Britons Ancient Britons

THERE is much talk in Britain today about immigrants. However it is worth remembering that a thousand years ago there were really no such people as the British.

A succession of invaders, pirates and adventurers who had come to these shores in search of plunder displacing many of the original inhabitants to remote areas in Cornwall, Wales and the north and west of Scotland.

The Norman Conquest united most of Britain under a single ruler for the first time since the Romans and he brought with him Jews from Rouen in Normandy to finance his conquests.

A succession of immigrants followed in its wake. Protestant refugees 1500-1700 sought refuge from persecution from Catholics in Spain. In 1555 the merchant John Lock brought a small group of black slaves to England, as a result throughout the 18th century, estimated black population 20,000.

Irish immigrants as early as 1243, followed in 1848 by Hungarian/Polish/Russian/Italian. Because of numbers The Aliens Act was introduced in 1905 which marked the end of the system of free entry to Britain.

Kenneth Bowker, Vesper Walk, Huntington, York.

Comments (7)

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2:37pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Firedrake says...

Broadly true, Kenneth - but the Venerable Bede did refer to "Britons" or "the British" in his "History of the English Church and People" of c 730 AD. He was referring, of course, to the native P-Celtic speakers who were here before the Romans came, who once occupied pretty much the whole of mainland Britain, and were often described by Bede's fellow Anglo Saxons as "Welsh" which (with toe-curling irony!) is the Old English word for "foreign".

It can be argued, therefore, that only the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons (who migrated to Gaul from Cornwall in the 5th century) can really be called "British".

Obviously there has been a huge amount of overlap and assimilation over the intervening centuries and there is obviously no such thing as a "pure" race anymore (and probably never was!) but - technically at least - there is a far greater ethno-linguistic difference between and Englishman and a Welshman that between - say - a Serb and a Croat or a Russian and a Ukranian.
Broadly true, Kenneth - but the Venerable Bede did refer to "Britons" or "the British" in his "History of the English Church and People" of c 730 AD. He was referring, of course, to the native P-Celtic speakers who were here before the Romans came, who once occupied pretty much the whole of mainland Britain, and were often described by Bede's fellow Anglo Saxons as "Welsh" which (with toe-curling irony!) is the Old English word for "foreign". It can be argued, therefore, that only the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons (who migrated to Gaul from Cornwall in the 5th century) can really be called "British". Obviously there has been a huge amount of overlap and assimilation over the intervening centuries and there is obviously no such thing as a "pure" race anymore (and probably never was!) but - technically at least - there is a far greater ethno-linguistic difference between and Englishman and a Welshman that between - say - a Serb and a Croat or a Russian and a Ukranian. Firedrake
  • Score: 8

4:48pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Firedrake says...

Pardon?
Pardon? Firedrake
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Dr Robert says...

Yes and the modern day pirates are still plundering these shores, enough!!
Yes and the modern day pirates are still plundering these shores, enough!! Dr Robert
  • Score: -29

6:21pm Mon 2 Jun 14

ak7274 says...

What is the point of the letter?
Perhaps the Kenneth wanted us all to be aware of his knowledge of history.
You can't put a quart into a pint pot.
What is the point of the letter? Perhaps the Kenneth wanted us all to be aware of his knowledge of history. You can't put a quart into a pint pot. ak7274
  • Score: -1

7:18pm Mon 2 Jun 14

ColdAsChristmas says...

Nobody lived on Iceland until around 1,200 years ago and now they are regarded as a pure race through lack of immigration.
I can't see Protestants getting a welcome to these shores during the reign of (Bloody) Mary I, either. (1553-1558)
Until recent years, this country has never seen so much immigration to the point when even more established ethnic minorities are uncomfortable. Annual net immigration 200,000 +
But putting aside a multi ethnic, multi languaged and multi cultured rainbow society nobody was consulted on: Consider a population soon to be 70 million and still growing? What will that do for quality of life in a small country where many are not integrated and live in separate communities. Work it out for yourself.
Nobody lived on Iceland until around 1,200 years ago and now they are regarded as a pure race through lack of immigration. I can't see Protestants getting a welcome to these shores during the reign of (Bloody) Mary I, either. (1553-1558) Until recent years, this country has never seen so much immigration to the point when even more established ethnic minorities are uncomfortable. Annual net immigration 200,000 + But putting aside a multi ethnic, multi languaged and multi cultured rainbow society nobody was consulted on: Consider a population soon to be 70 million and still growing? What will that do for quality of life in a small country where many are not integrated and live in separate communities. Work it out for yourself. ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: -30

1:51pm Tue 3 Jun 14

bravo whisky says...

Looks like the left wing labour lunes have been active again clicking the mouse.
Looks like the left wing labour lunes have been active again clicking the mouse. bravo whisky
  • Score: -303

5:45pm Tue 3 Jun 14

oi oi savaloy says...

eh up, perfectly valid comments getting removed again!
well done york press!
eh up, perfectly valid comments getting removed again! well done york press! oi oi savaloy
  • Score: -12

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