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Tours > Northumberland Battlefields > Brunanburgh

David Ford, History Editor
The Battle of Brunanburgh
AD 937
Near Brinkburn Priory, off the B6344, 2 miles southeast of Rothbury

by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

Fields around Brinkburn Priory, site of the Battle of Brunanburgh? This was the last great clash of the Celtic nations against the invading Saxons. In AD 937, King Olaf of Dublin was looking to punish King Athelstan of England for the defeat of his father and uncle, ten years earlier. The Celtic nations, inspired by the poetic 'Prophecy of Great Britain,' combined to exploit the situation and Olaf was able to raise a Northern Army of Vikings, Scots & Strathclyde Britons, probably with additional contingents from Man, Ireland & Powys. They clashed against the Saxons in a two-day battle, one of the fiercest ever fought in Britain, but victory was not to be theirs. The united force lost five kings and seven earls amongst its dead and the conflict finally ended all British hope of driving the Saxons from their shores.

The site of the Battle of Brunanburgh is completely unknown. Modern theories suggest Bromborough in Cheshire, but popular tradition identifies it with Brinkburn in Northumberland. The conflict would have taken place in the fields surrounding the Priory, an Augustinian monastery founded in 1135 and now in the care of English Heritage. It is open to the public.

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