David Ross: Famous English Battle Site, Brunanburh, Perhaps Mis-Located

Roundup: Talking About History

THE battle which historians regard as England's greatest may have been fought on Scottish soil, it is claimed.

The location of the tenthcentury battle of Brunanburh has long been considered one of history's greatest unsolved mysteries.

It was there that Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, destroyed the combined armies of the Scottish king, Causantin mac Aeda, Owain, king of Strathclyde, and Viking king of Dublin, Anlaf Guthfrithson, to confirm his supremacy over the land.

However, research shows that the site of the bloody battle of Brunanburh was in Dumfriesshire and not in England, as most accounts of the battle have proposed.

More than 30 locations throughout England have been suggested, from Yorkshire to Dorset, but in recent years a growing tide of opinion has favoured the Cheshire town of Bromborough.

Now Kevin Halloran, an independent researcher based in Lancashire, has proposed that all these sites are based on mistaken assumptions about both the course of the campaign and the place-name evidence. Instead, he argues that the correct site is around Burnswark Hill, four miles southeast of Lockerbie.

The hill is widely known for its Iron Age fortifications and Roman camps, but in the next issue of the Scottish Historical Review (SHR) Mr Halloran will argue its importance as the site of the famous battle. As recently as December, The Times carried a report that the village of Bebington near Bromborough, in theWirral, was the probable site, based on research by a number of Nottingham University academics.

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