Random DWJ discovery of the day

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Wed Mar 9 12:19:15 EST 2005


Minnow:
He who holds that part of
> the island is the ruler of the island, and the peripheral bits can think
> what they want about it; nobody has ever suggested governing Britain from
> anywhere north of ... well, London, actually.  And before that it was
> Winchester, which is even further south.

And Claudius ruled most of it from Rome, which is south again! That's an 
interesting point, mind - though I think we'd need to define our terms a bit 
more clearly to figure out the truth of it. If we're really talking about 
the island as a whole, for instance, it was never governed from anywhere 
before 1603, since when it's always been governed from London - though some 
now would make a case for the government being based (further south still) 
in Washington DC. (I ignore little blips like Charles I's time in Oxford, 
since he wasn't ruling the whole island at the time.) On the other hand, if 
we're talking about more diffuse kind of power, the kind that goes with 
rival kingdomlings that make and break treaties and offer tribute and demand 
allegiances - then you might make a claim for saying the Offa of Mercia 
(based in, er, Tamworth?) and prior to that Edwin of Northumbria were in 
their time at the very least primum inter pares. And, as we all know, King 
Arthur was a Glaswegian.

> One cannot include anything that was disputed territory or held as part of
> the Danelaw or not really conquered by the Norman incursion as being
> "England", which rather wipes out Yorkshire (even if William the Tanner's
> son hadn't razed most of it and sown it with salt, the North never sat 
> easy
> as part of England when the seat of government was several days' journey
> south of where one lived: it had its own governor for a lot of its 
> history,
> John of Bedford for instance), the Lake District (which held out against
> the Normans for several generations in places) the Fens (ditto),
> Lincolnshire, Cornwall of *course*, most of Devon, and almost anything on
> the Marches of Wales or Scotland, which went on being debatable land for a
> long time.  All of these have their feeling of Old, but it's a *different*
> feeling of Old; it's of themselves but not so English, more (say) Mercian
> or other such ancient area.  I'm not knocking the regions, just trying to
> explain the feel as opposed to the logic.

That certainly does make Berkshire more central (in fact there's not a lot 
left!) Though I can't quite figure out why you have to be conquered by 
Normans to count as English... Is it something to do with the Rugby? ;-)

Charlie 

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