The Kingdom of Bernicia
This week on the blog, I’m talking about Bernicia, one of several kingdoms in Britain. Before becoming one united kingdom, there were many different tribes and kingdoms grappling for power. (You can read more about what Britain looked like in general in this blog post).
The history of Bernicia
Bernicia was an Anglo-Saxon (Anglican specifically) kingdom from 547-616 AD in the northeast of England. England. After 616 AD, Edwin of Deira takes over the kingdom. He also regains his throne of his homeland, Deira, a kingdom directly to the south of Bernicia. Edwin unites the two kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira, into what becomes known as ‘Northumbria’.
The kingdom of Bernicia was originally a British Celtic kingdom. Later the Angles conquer it, in 547 AD. Its royal stronghold seemed to be the fortress of Bamburgh on the Northeast coast.
The earliest king of Bernicia seems to be disputed, but King Ida is the one who dispossess Bernicia of its last British ruler. King Ethelfrith is probably the most infamous, who expanded much of Bernicia’s territory. It is also under his reign and through his marriage to the Deiran Princess Acha that Prince Edwin of Deira is cat into exile (you can find out more about Prince Edwin in this blog post).
For a comprehensive and extremely well-written historical fiction following the different kings of Bernicia, Mercia and East Anglia, I recommend Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead. Hit the buttons below to check out the book on Amazon:
Bernicia in my historical fiction
Bernicia is the chief antagonist kingdom of my Dark Ages series and much of my books depict the war between Bernicia and Rheged. (You can find out more about the kingdom of Rheged in my blog post here).
Bernicia is also an antagonist kingdom in my first historical fiction novel, The Boy from the Snow. Much of the book is also taken up with the civil war across Rheged. One of the central plot points of the book is whether the main character, Daniel, can convince Rheged to remain united to fight its larger enemy.
It’s one of the things I love most about historical fiction – characters being a fly on the wall. Though my main character and what happens to him is fictional, I love having him interact with the wider historical setting and characters that truly existed. Daniel’s story involves meeting the kings both of Rheged and Bernicia throughout my series.
For example, without wanting to give away too many spoilers – I’m currently reading through my editor’s comments for my 3rd Dark Ages book, in process of publication with my publishers. Things are gearing up for a huge battle – the biggest of my series so far – against Bernicia. I hope to share with you more details, including a cover reveal, with you in the near future!
Thanks for reading
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Till next time,