Monday, 5 April 2010


The discipline of St Columba was of the monastic model.
There were settlements of clerics in fortified villages; the
clerics were a kind of monks, with more regard for abbots
than for their many bishops, and with peculiar tonsures,
and a peculiar way of reckoning the date of Easter.
Each missionary was popularly called a Saint, and the
_Kil_, or cell, of many a Celtic missionary survives in
hundreds of place-names.

The salt-water Loch Leven in Argyll was on the west
the south frontier of "Pictland," which, on the east,
included all the country north of the Firth of Forth.
From Loch Leven south to Kintyre, a large cantle,
including the isles, was the land of the Scots from Ireland,
the Dalriadic kingdom.  The south-west, from Dumbarton,
including our modern Cumberland and Westmorland, was
named Strathclyde, and was peopled by British folk,
speaking an ancient form of Welsh.  On the east, from
Ettrick forest into Lothian, the land was part of the early
English kingdom of Bernicia; here the invading Angles were
already settled--though river-names here remain Gaelic,
and hill-names are often either Gaelic or Welsh. 
The great Northern Pictland was divided into seven provinces, or
sub-kingdoms, while there was an over-King, or Ardrigh,
with his capital at Inverness and, later, in Angus or
Forfarshire.  The country about Edinburgh was partly
English, partly Cymric or Welsh.  The south-west
corner, Galloway, was called Pictish, and was peopled
by Gaelic-speaking tribes.

In the course of time and events the dynasty of the
Argyll Scoti from Ireland gave its name to Scotland,
while the English element gave its language to the
Lowlands; it was adopted by the Celtic kings of the
whole country and became dominant, while the Celtic
speech withdrew into the hills of the north and northwest.

The nation was thus evolved out of alien and hostile
elements, Irish, Pictish, Gaelic, Cymric, English, and
on the northern and western shores, Scandinavian.

More to follow........

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