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Historical Brexits

26 March 2017

At https://oxbowdbbc.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/offas-dyke-the-brexit-dimension/ … which is guest post by Keith Ray on plans to preserve Offa's Dyke (used as a recreation source by long distance walkers). It's an arduous walk, in places, and some stages are long winded between stopping points (signs of human habitation with a jug of beer or a bed for the night). Nevertheless, lots of people do it – and apparently, enjoy the experience (blisters and all). In this article, we go back to Offa himself, the contemporary of Charlemagne, king of the Franks. Oxbow published a book on Offa's Dyke (and the history involved) by Keith Ray and Ian Bapty. The comparison with Brexit is interesting because the two kings sought to become allies sealed with a marraige alliance.  It failed as they were both strong personalities and in the end Offa declined the alliance and preferred to distance himself from events on the continent – which is what Brexit is all about I suppose. Charlemagne's empire was perhaps a rehash of the Roman western empire (or large tracts of it across Gaul and Germania, the two countries that still dominate the European Union. One can see the perceived connection but Britain has a habit of doing Brexits. For example, the declaration of independence from the Roman Empire itself was a Brexit event. In a way, it was ephemeral as the Roman Church came to prominence in the 6th and 7th centuries – until Henry VIII did his own version of Brexit (with much gnashing of the teeth at the time). 

Post Brexit. Following the withdrawal from Britain of the protective Roman army the old Iron Age kingdoms swung back into life and this included the dark age kingdom of Rheged (which controlled northern England and southern Scotland and fought a decisive battle at Catterick to keep the likes of Deira at bay (the nscent kingdom of Northumbria). It seems that Rheged was based at Trusty Hill hill fort in Galloway – see https://oxbowdbbc.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/re-drawing-the-map-the-lost-d…

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