Monday, 6 December 2010
The Mysterious King Ida of Bamburgh
Nor is it clear what he was doing in Bamburgh. The oldest source states simply that he arrived in Bamburgh in 547, founded the royal dynasty of the Northumbrians and ruled for 12 years. It is not clear if he had founded a kingdom, or was a bandit based in an impregnable stronghold. He may even have been a mercenary hired by the kings of Kynelyn whose importance was exaggerated by his more powerful descendants.
If Ida of Bamburgh remains a mystery, his son Athelric is even more so. Nothing is known of him except his name and the fact that he too lived at Bamburgh. Things become a little clearer with his alleged grandson Athelferth. This King Athelferth is said to have become king in Bamburgh in 593, so perhaps he was Ida’s great grandson given the average lifespan at the time. It was Athelferth who formed an alliance with the English of Deira, what is now southern Yorkshire. Together they conquered York, breaking the power of one of the three British kingdoms in the north. Progress was then rapid and within a generation the English ruled all of Northumberland, as well as most of the territory from the Humber to the Forth. The kingdom of Northumbria had been founded.
This is an extract from Mysterious Northumberland by Rupert Matthews