Brunanburh again | Foundations

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The battle of Brunanburh was a battle fought in 937 in Britain between Athelstan of Wessex and an alliance of Northmen, Irish, Scots, and Britons of Strathclyde, the location of which is still a mystery. For anyone who doesn’t know about it our time is limited and we can’t give you fuller details, please see the wikipedia article on the battle of Brunanburh for introduction. Our purpose here is to give some location candidates. Please note that this is an article in construction and is only a start so far.

I went over a map of Britain and as far as I can see there are only 3 likely places for the battle of Brunanburh: the Mersey & Dee area, the Humber area, or the Solway area. Previously I favoured a location somewhere between Arthuriburgum/Ettbery/Stanwix/Carlisle and Tarn Wadling in Cumbria.
Quite a few sources mention Brunanburh being in the Humber area, and one mentions the Ouse. If Athelstan did pass through Beverley on his way to the battle then the battle must have been in the East Yorkishire area. However the Humber and the Ouse and Beverley stories are probably not reliable. Other sources mention the enemies crossing over to Dublin at the end of the battle, which would seem to indicate the west side of Britain.
I went through the list of place names from the Doomsday Book and some other sources, and we only found a limited number of matches for the main names of Brunanburh, and we list them in the candidates list below.

The name of the site of the Brunanburh battle is variously in different sources either:
(Ymbe) Brunanburh (ASCa, John of Worcester, Tennyson)
Brunnanburh (ASC a & b & c, Tiberius ms)
Brunnanbyrig/Brunnanbyrg (Symeon of Durham)
Bruneburh/Brunesburh (Henry of Huntingdon)
Brunesburgh (Mannyng/Brunne)
Bruneburgh (Langtoft)
Bronebyri (Leland’s Collectanea)
Brunenberg (Camden)
Brimanbruch (Howden, Foxe)
(Et) Brunnanwerc (Symeon of Durham)
Bruneswerce (Symeon of Durham, Gaimar)
Burneweste (Gaimar)
Brunfort (Higden, Liber de Hyda)
Bruneford (William of Malmesbury)
Brunford (Fordun)
Brumford (Higden)
Brunefeld (William of Malmesbury)
Bruningafeld/Bruningafelda (Sawyer)
Brounnyngfelde (Bower’s Scotichronicon)
Brunandune (Ethelwerd)
Brunesdoun (Itinerary)
Dunbrunde (a chroncile of the kings of Scotland)
Duinbrunde (Scottish/Pict Chronicle)
Cad Dybrunawc (CyD)
Brun/Brune/Brunne (AC, Bys)
Weondune/Wendune (Symeon of Durham)
Vinheidr/Vinheath or Vinmoor (Egil’s Saga)
Vinuskoga/Vinuskoda/Vinwood (Egil’s Saga)
Vina’s bank? (Egil’s Saga?)
plaines of Othlynn (Annals of Clonmacnoise)

Candidates for the site of Brunanburh which we or others have found are:
Burn Bank (Burgh by Sands)?
Bronebury/Branbury/Axminster (Devon, Leland, Newenham)
Bromborough & Thingwall (Wirral, Chester)?
Brandesburton/Burshill E Yorks?
Barnborough on the Dearne near Doncaster?
Burg/Burghwallis, Barnsdale S Yorks?
Brocavonacis/Brougham (pronounced broom/broon, on a brunna, Whinfell, Cumbria, S Holden)?
Burrens/Broughton on Humber?
Burgh Head Elgin Scotland?
Brough on the Humber E Yorks?
Burnswark near Lockerbie Dumfries sw Scotland?
Wark (Scotland/England border)?
Wrekin (Shropshire/Salop)? Birrenswork Hill/Trimontium Scot Borders se Scotland?
Brinsworth/Brynesford & Tinsley Wood S Yorks?
Brynford west Cheshire/Flint?
Bromfield Shropshire?
Bromfield/Brumfeld/Brunefeld (12 mi sw of Burgh by Sands)?
Brunedune near Colyton (Leland)
Badon (HB, DEB, AC)?
Banna Venta Burniae / Bannavem Taburniae (St Patrick’s home)?
Brunthwaite (Bradford, Cumbria)?
Bromswold/Bruneswald Cambridge?
Bernvald/Brunvald (coin, Ohsnaford, 900)?
Bourne Hill near Fleetwood/Thornton, west Fylde, Amounderness, N Lancs?
Bruna Hill near Garstang, N Lancs?
Bromeridge/Broom Ridge (Northumberland)?
Brunswick Road (Penrith)?
Brunton’s Hill (Carwinley burn, Arthuret)?
Burnston Yorks?
Burniston Yorks?
Brunstock n.e. of Carlisle?
Brownmoor?
Burnley, river Brun Lancs?
Nunburnholme E Yorks?
Burnby Yorks?
Macclesfield/Barnaby/Congelton/Leek/Winsford?
Brumby Lincs?
Baumber Lincs?
Barnard cas Tees Durham?
Burnt Walls nr Daventry Nthants?
Brim-stream (5 Boroughs, ASC)?
River Browney Durham?
Bryn Cheshire?
Burne/Cogwy/Maserfield (HRB)?
Makerfield/Coccium/Bryn(e) near Winwick (Wigan)?
Brunn/Brune/Bourne (S Lincs 1080/1400)?
Eorpeburnan Kent/Sussex border (Burghal Hidage)
(le) Brun(s) family of Bowness/Cumberland?
Kirkburn (E Yorks)?
Lune (Lancashire)?
Annan?
Brinavae/Brinavis/Black Ground Chipping Norton Oxford?
Bro(ca)vonacis/Kirby Thur Cumbria?
Windermere?
Whinfell (Cumbria)?
Winsford?
Carwinley (Arthuret)?
Winwick (near Wigan)?
Castelewyne?
Whinneybank?
Vindolanda?
Winwall/Winewall near Colne?
Swinden?
Swinburn Castle
Haethfeldlande Humber/Lincoln (Tribal Hidage)?
Terne Wathelyne/Tarn Wadling (Cumbria, Awntyrs off Arthure)?
Othlei/Otley?
Routing Lynn?
Llyn Dinas?
Linstock?
Westlinton? Lyng (Somerset, Burghal Hidage)?
Linton on the Ouse?
Linton / Collingham (W Yorks)?

Humber (JofW, SofD, CofM, Mannyng, PofL):
Humber?
Northumbria?
Southumbrians?
Cumbria/Cumberland?

Dingesmere “roaring sea” (ASCa):
Thingwall (Chester)?
Tinsley (S Yorks)?
Thynghowe (Nottinghamshire)?
Tynvald (Isle of Man)?
Windermere?
Thingland/Fingland (Dumfries/Galloway side of Hadrian’s wall)?
la mere de Irlande / Irish sea?

Athelstan (ASC):
Athelstaneford 832/836?
Arthur (Wigan)?
Arthuriburgum/Etterby?
Stanwix (Uxelodunum)? Axstane (Kent)?

Constantine of Scots/Alba (ASC):
St Causnan’s Dunnichen?
St Constantine Glascow?

Owain/Owen of Strathclyde:
Castelewyne? Castle Hewin?
Arthur (Wigan)?
Arthuriburgum/Etterby?

Wealda/Weald (ASC):
Bruneswald? Caledonian wood? Weald (Kent)?

(Earl’s) Ness (Egil’s Saga):
Amounderness?
Bowness?
Widnes (Chester area)?
Holderness (Humber, E Yorks)?
Neston (Wirral, Cheshire)?

5 kings (ASC):
5 kings standing stones (Lordershaw/Simonside/Dueshill /Coquetdale Hills/Holystone)?
Tradition 5 kings buried under tumuli Worsthorne? Five Boroughs (n.e. Mercia / n.w. Lincoln)?

St Cuthbert’s Chester le Street 927 or 934 or 937:
Chester le Street
Chesters
Chesterholm
Chester

battle at/brought to/buried at Axminster, Axe valley, Devon (Camden, Newenham, Leland):
Axholme (Humber, Lincs)?
Axstane? Axminster?
Axstane (Kent)?
Axbridge (Avon/Somerset, Burghal Hidage)?

Mercians (ASC)

Bretland (Egil’s Saga):
Welsh/Wales?
Britons of Strathclyde?
Britain?

Colyton/Kaletyne (Newenham Cartulary, Leland), Colecroft: Linton / Collingham (W Yorks)?

Seaton (Leland) : Seaton Burn / Hazlerigg / Brunswick village (Northumberland)?
North Seaton (Northumberland)?

Beverley

Solway:
Solway?
Solent? “Solsbury” (Badon, HRB/DGB)?

Dublin:
Dublin (Eire)?
Dubglas/Linnuis?

Date 937:
940 slain Badon (Nennius/Mark)?

Some of our references/sources apart from the early ones already mentioned include:
ASC
Damo Bullen. Michael Deakin
Adrian C Grant. Steven Holden.
Wikipedia. Michael Wood.

Update Oct 2021.
I’m thinking Brunanburh might be the same as Eorpeburnan in the Burghal Hidage despite that the latter is supposedly in Kent. The -burh could well indicate such a match. Wood’s suggestion that the name itself points to Northumbria made me wonder if -burh is similar to Bamburgh and Edinburgh, but it seems he thought the meaning of the Brunnan- pointed to Barnsdale Bar not the -burh.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eorpeburnan
Interestingly the latter is also unlocated. The name might mean “dark stream”, and the article meantions a half finished fort.
My previous last looks at this topic are here https://historum.com/threads/brunanburh-search.170465/ and here https://2rbetterthan1.wordpress.com/brunanburh/ .

Possible meanings of Brunanburh/Brunandune, Weondune, Vinheath, Othlynn, Dingesmere:
Brunan “person Bruna’s”, or brunnan “spring/stream”, or brun “brown/bronze”, or brun “armour, protection”, or broom?
burh/burg “fort/castle, town/borough”, or berg “hill”, or bury/burial?
don “hill/dune”, or dun/din “fort”, or dun “dull greyish-brown, dark/dusky”?
Weon “Wends”, or gwyn “white”?
vin “place where you & your animals could drink from a well/fountain, oasis”, or vin “wine/vine”, or gwyn “white”?
od/oth “with/to/unto/as far as”, or odhar/othar/odor “dun,golden”, or odhar “otter, wolf”, or othar “sickness/death”, or ithlann “threshing floor, corn house”? or Otinel/Otuel or Othilaz
hlynn/hlimme “torrent, sound/roar/clang/clash”, or lindo “lime tree”, or lin/lind “flax/linen”, or lyn “pool”, or limes “limit/boundary”, or “line”? or -ing “descendant”?
dinge/dynge/dung “dun”?

It looks to me like Brunanburh might be in the Tyne/Newcastle and/or Wear/Durham area because:

The link with St Cuthbert’s Chester le Street seems to strongly point to the battle being in that region.Athelstan supposedly passing through/by Beverley on the way to Brunanburh may point to Northumbria.The -burh is similar to other Northumbrian names like Bamburgh and Edinburgh.Dingesmere might relate to Tynemouth. Or the enemy later fleeing to Ireland might match that England is narrowest between the Tyne and Solway, and the enemy could have fled from Northumberland to Solway (Dingesmere in Deakin’s paper) and thence to Ireland.The shield wall could relate to Hadrian’s wall near the Tyne and/or South Shields?The Scots and Strathclydians and Danes could have invaded Northumbria which was separated/isolated from Wessex & Mercia in the south.the -dun in Brunandune and Weondune could relate to Durham (from dun-), or the Roman fort under Newcastle or a fort on the Wall, or the half finished fort of Eorpeburnan.Wear is maybe similar to Weon-? Or Wear is similar to Eorpe- in Eorpeburnan? Or similar to bishop W(a)erstan?The location is near Bede’s Jarrow.Coal in the area could link with Brun- “brown” or -dun “dark” or Eorpeburnan “dark stream”.Or Wood’s Brunnan “spring” could relate to Houghton le Spring?The Humber mentioned in 5 sources might point to Northumbria/Northumberland. “Ymbe” is also similar to Humber?Brunanburh’s name might relate to Bernicia/Berneich?The name versions like Dunbrunde/Duinbrunde/Dybrunawc might suggest a D- placename like Durham/”Dunham”.The river Browney at Durham could relate to Brunanburh (compar Andrew Breeze)?“Local legend states that the city (Durham) was founded in A.D. 995 by divine intervention.”Durham has “a wooded “hill-island” – a high wooded rock surrounded on three sides by the River Wear”, which could match some details of Brunanburh?

Or on the other hand Brunanburh could be in York area:

Sources mention the Humber and the Ouse.York is roughly half way between Mercia & Wessex and Northumbria, and was in Danish territory.Eorpe- of Eorpebrunan is similar to Erp/Erc, and Evrog/Ebrauc/Eburacum/Ebor/Eoforwic/Jorvik/York. And York is maybe likely to be a burh. (Et) Brunnanwerc and/or Dybrunawc is also similar to Ebrauc/Eburacum/Eoforwic/York? (Maybe compare Et-brunnanwerc and/or Cad-dybrunawc with Excalibur/Caliburn?)Athelstan supposedly passed through Beverley on the way to the battle. Beverley is not far to the south-east of York.The enemy could have fled over to the Mersey/Dee area.York is not far from Stamford Bridge.There is a forest (Knaresborough? Galtres?) not far to the north of York, re the “Weald” mentioned in the Brunanburh account in the ASC. (And/or there is Barnsdale forest to the south of York.)Othlynn and/or “linden wood” might link with Linton on the Ouse a few miles from York?“came to Northumberland” / “all Northumberland” / “Northumbria’s humbled soil” seems to point to Northumbria (Lothian, Bernicia, Northumberland, Durham, Deira, or York).The hazel rods recall the later Robin Hood?Ebrauc is 1st in Nennius’ list of 33 cities. Eorpebrunan is 1st of 33 burhs in the Burghal Hidage.“Malmesbury” might relate to Membyr father of Ebrauc?The Roman fort at York “was on high ground”, maybe matching “raised” / “higher” / “ridge” in some scholars descriptions of the site of the battle of Brunanburh in the sources?There is a place called Naburn in York which is similar to the -nanburh part of Brunanburh? Or another similar name is Bunny Hill (Siward’s Howe)?York was closely associated with Dublin, and we recall that the enemy fled to Dublin after Brunanburh.St Cuthbert used to visit York, and we know Athelstan made a gift to St Cuthbert’s in Chester le Street.The “plains” or “plain” associated with Brunanburh could maybe match the York area. (Plains plural look like they must be somwhere in the east between York and Colchester.Earl’s Ness (Brunanburh) could relate to Earlsborough (York) of Earl Siward, or Siward’s Howe (York)?St Olave’s church York could relate to Olaf/Anlaf who fought at Brunanburh?

Though the problem with this 2nd location theory is that York wasn’t taken until 954 in the reign of Eadred, though the area was “invaded and conquered for short periods by the Anglo-Saxons between 927 and 957”.

Anyway, for the present I’m going to “stake my reputation” and provisionally nominate somewhere in the vicinity of York until/unless further evidences for or against arise in future.

Further update:

If the sources that mention the Humber and Ouse are right, and if Brunan means “stream” then the only other candidates in the area are:

Brough/burh (north bank of Humber, east Yorks) *
Bourne Brook/Black Brook (Weeford/Staffordshire, Trent)
Bourne Brook (Birmingham, Trent)
Blackburn Brook (Sheffield/Wincobank, Ouse)
Black Brook (Ouse)
Broughton Beck (Ouse)
Brown House beck (Ouse)
Otterburn Beck (Ouse)
Burnby (Derwent/Ouse)
Borough Beck (Rye/Derwent/Ouse)?
Brompton (Derwent/Ouse)?
Brown Rigg Beck (Ouse)
River Burn/Burne/burna (Swinney/Roundhill/Masham, Ouse, N Yorks) *
Ottringham (coastal Humber)
Burniston Beck (coastal Humber)
Ouse from Os-/oss “mouth of a river” is similar to Othlynn.
Barmby on the Marsh (Ouse)
Linton-on-Ouse (compare Othlynn?)
Naburn (York, Ouse, compare Brunanburh?)
Beningbrough/Benniburg “Beonna’s + stronghold” (Ouse, compare Beorna)? *
Little Ouseburn (Ouse)
Boroughbridge/Burghbrig (4 miles from Great Ouseburn) or Aldborough/Burgh *
Great Ouseburn (source of Ouse, near Aldwark/Aldweorc) *
Ousegill Spring or Ouse Gill Beck or Usekeld Beck “spring or source of the Ouse” is similar to Brunnan “spring”. *

I’m now looking at Brunanburh being in the vicinity of Great Ouseburn or Aldwark or Linton-on-Ouse, and/or Ousegill Beck, and/or Boroughbridge or Aldborough all near the source of the Ouse. The pros are:

Some Brunanbugh sources mention the Humber and the Ouse and Beverley.Has both Brunan (burn) and burh (borough/burgh), and also werc (wark) and “fort”.Matches brunnan “spring” and/or “stream”.Ouse/Os-/oss and/or Linton is similar to Othlynn?Maybe weorc is similar to weon (Weondune) or eorpe (Eorpeburnan)?It is between St Cuthbert’s of Chester le Street and (St John of) Beverley.“Axe valley” (Camden, Leland) could be Ouse valley?‘Great Ouseburn’ similar to the “Great War/Battle/Slaughter/Victory” of Brunanburh (Ethelwerd, Clocmacnoise, Ulster, Smyth, Livingston)?It is not far from my previous candidate York.Two towns/settlements on north & south side of the battlefield could be Great & Little Ouseburn, or Ouseburn/Aldwark/Linton & Boroughbrdge/Aldborough?The Ouse Gill spring (source of the Ouse) could also match the vin “place where you & your animals could drink from a well/fountain, oasis” of the Vinheath alternative name of Brunanburh.The proposed od/oth “with/to/unto/as far as” element of Othlynn could relate to Ouseburn being at the source end of the Ouse.

Sorry I’ve just found one other possibility:
Bourne/Bourn/Brune/Brunna (burna/burne “stream”, springs, South Kesteven, Lincs, 960) :

The name Bourne/Bourn/Brune/Brunna (burna/burne “stream”) can link with Brunanburh (brunnan “stream”). Bourne is recorded as Brunna in 960 only 23 yrs after Brunanburh. It was a “town” (burh?) at least as early as 1086. It was “Castle Brunn” in the time of Edward the Confessor and Leofric (castle may match burh?) The -burh maybe can’t be Peterborough/Burgh not far away (27 kilometers) because it wasn’t called that until the late 10th century?The springs at Bourne could link with Brunnanburh from brunnan “spring”.The site is in Danish Mercia, and Mercians are mentioned in Brunanburh sources.The site is roughly on a line between York and London.The reason no one could find Brunanburh might be because they were looking in wrong place(s) (between Solway, Chester, Humber, Tyne)?Bourne woods could be the “weald” mentioned in the Brunanburh poem in the ASC?Bourne is located on a Roman road.The site seems to be in/near the northeast end of Bruneswald forest (Newton Bromswold) which name may link with Brunanburh and with the “weald” mentioned in the Brunanburh poem of the ASC.Earl’s Ness might relate to Earl Leofric or Skegness or Nassaburgh?Bourne is also associated with Hereward the Wake, which is a similar Saxon vs Northmen story.Brunanburh was nearby a forest on raised ground. Bourne is on the eastern slopes of the Kesteven uplands.Brunanburh was on/by plain(s). Peterborough’s topography is “flat” or “floodplain”.

Further update, we have found a different possible site for Brunanburh in the Shropshire/Staffordshire/West Midlands area. The possible candidates in this area are all fairly close to each other.
Bridgenorth/Bridgnorth/Brug (burh, 912, 925, Salop),
Wednesfield (910, West Midlands),
Wolverhampton (910, West Midlands),
Wednesbury (borough, fort, 911, West Midlands),
Wombourne (burna/broca “stream”, Staffs).

The possible details matches evidences for one of theses sites include:

Some of the sites date to 910, 911, & 925, which is only 12-27 years before Brunanburh 937.Match for the -burh “fort” of Brunanburh. (Brug? Bridgenorth was a burh. bury/borough. Wednesbury was a fort. broca?)
Brunanburh’s burh must be either West Saxon (burh/burghal), Mercian (burh), Danish (burh/boroughs), or Northumbrian (burgh/brough/borough).Match for the Brunnan- “spring/stream” of Brunanburh. (Bridge? bourne/burna/broca? Brownhills? Or maybe Brunan might relate to born/bear and Wom-/womb?)Match for the -heath of Vinheath and heathu-linde: Heath Town and/or Wall Heath.Match for the Mercians mentioned in the Brunanburh poem.
Match for “Athelstan travelled through Mercia (ASC)”.Fits with the battle seemingly being on the west side of England since the enemy fled to Dublin after the battle.Earl’s Ness and Dingesmere would be Wirral area as in the Bromborough theory. Bridgenorth &/or the other sites could be a day’s journey from Wirral?Possible names in the area similar to Weondune/Wendune, eg Wombourne, Wednesbury, Much Wenlock, Swindon.Not too far for Athelstan to travel from Wessex.Fits only a small band of Scots, and by ship?There is a “Scotlands” name in the area (just north west of Wednesfield) in a map which could match the Scots at Brunanburh?Some sources say Welsh were with the enemy at Brunanburh. Bridgenorth etc is not far from Wales.Bridgenorth is in west Merica, on the west half of England, which might link with the name Burneweste? (Compare “West Chester”?)Another battle was fought in the same area not long before, at Wednesfield or Wolverhampton or Tettenhall (910). (Does the place name Warstones relate to battle thereabouts?)Wolverhampton’s name could relate to the wolf of the weald mentioned near the end of the Brunanburh poem?Fits with the Brunanburh poem implying the enemy invaded English territory.Fits with it seeming more likely the enemy invaded English territory rather than Athelstan went into enemy territory.Fits the primary name of the battle site being Anglo-Saxon (Brunanburh, Weondune?)Fits Robert of Gloucester saying the site was South of the Humber (Southumbrian).Some sources mentioning the Humber, Beverley, Ouse are late and probably unreliable, and they conflict with Dublin being mentioned.Fits with the enemy being on the north side of the battle site and the Saxons being on the south side (which means it can’t be north of the enemy territory/capital/border.The reason why no one could find it might be because this area was not considered or was discounted/dismissed? Though the conventional Wirral theory is close/connected.The large inhabited areas nearby the camp of the enemy could fit the area, eg five forts around Wednesbury?Brunanburh site being “raised up” / “higher ground” / “ridge” has possible match at Bridgenorth (High Town or upper town on a promonitory, with Castle Hill at its southern end).5 forts or ‘Six Ashes’ or might link with the 5 kings & 7 chiefs slain at Brunanburh?Legend/tradition of Aethelfleda and/or Ethelred or Ethelwald “a grandson to Alfred” being at Bridgenorth might link with Aethelstan?May fit with enemy made “a deep inroad into England”?The weald mentioned in the Brunanburh poem could be the wooded slopes at Bridgenorth, or ‘Wood End’ near by Wednesfield?The placename Danesford might indicate Danes/Northmen were in the area?The plain(s) of Othlynn/Brunanburh might match “generally flat land” of Wednesfield?

Though the ASC says Bremesbyrig/Bramsbury was built in 910, which maybe might be Brunanburh, and it is distinct to Bridgenorth in 912 or 925.

Or else Brunanburh might instead be Thelwall/Broomedge/Oughtrington/Warrington (920/923) or Eddisbury (914) closer to Wirral. 923 is only 14 yrs before Brunanburh 937.

Table: Thelwall (left) – Brunanburh (right).

Broomedge – “by Brunanburh”?
wall/stakes – Brun “armour, protection”?
wall/stakes/stumps/plank/Walton – bord-weal “shield wall”, battle shields, pallisaded, hazel rods/poles.
Thelwael – wael-stowe/wael-felda, bord-weal
by pool/well, near water of Mersee, Bridgewater – by brunnan “water/spring”
burh/borough/fortified/fortifications/city – burh “fort, town/borough”
Warrington – battle/war?
Lymm, Oughtrington – Othlynn
920/923 – 937
Mersee – dinges mere
King Edward went with an army to Thelwall – Athelstan lead army to Brunanburh
late in harvest – early October 937?
Mercia – Mercians/Mercia
ghosts sightings stories – many slain in battle there
Winwick, Old White House – Vinheath, Weondune?
Grappenhall – raven?
Birchwood, Burtonwood, Delamere forest, Wirral forest – “wealda/weald” (ASC)
Westbrook, West Chester – Burnewest (Gaimar)?
Wirral, Mersey, Thingwall – Dingesmere, Earl’s Ness (1 days travel from battle site)
roughly on same latitude and same side of England as Dublin – enemy fled to Dublin
area around Chester is low and flat in map – “level plain”, plains of Othlynn
Stockton Heath, Heatley Heath – Vinheath, heathu-linde
not far from Manchester “in Northumbria” – “Northumbria/Northumberland”
in Southumbria – south of Humber (Rob of Gloucester).

“From my numerous considered sites I tentatively think that Thelwall north-east of Chester seems the best and most likely place for a few reasons. It now seems obvious to me that the mention of Dublin in the ASC entry surely implies a site in that area. The mention of Humber, Beverley, Ouse in some late sources is unreliable or misleading/misunderstood. Thelwall was a burh/fort/city like Brunanburh was a burh/fort/town, and Thelwall was done up by Edward in 920/923 only 14-17 years before Brunanburh. Thelwall’s wael/wall of stakes could relate to the bord-weal “shield wall” or “battle shields” and/or wael-stowe/wael-felda and/or “pallisaded” and/or Brun “armour, protection” and/or hazel rods/poles of Brunanburh. The Brunan- could either be brunnan “spring/stream/water” and match the pool/well of Thelwall, or could be Brun “amrour, protection” matching the wall of stakes of Thelwall, or could match the Broom- of Broomedge in the Thelwall area. Lymm in the Thelwall area could relate to Othlynn. Ghost sightings stories in the area could relate to the many slain at Brunanburh. In the vicinity of Thelwall are Stockton Heath and Heatley Heath which might perhaps relate to Vinheath and heathu-linde. Earl’s Ness and Dingesmere would relate to the Mersey/Wirral/Thingwall. And some other details matches/similarities. It was the maps of the West Saxon and Mercian and Danish burhs which helped me to get on the right track.”

Sorry I’ve just found there is just one other possible location though it seems unlikely.
Willesden/Neasden/Brondesbury in London.

One source claims Brunanburh/Athelstan was at Wellesdune (maybe Weondune of other sources?)Willesden means “hill of the spring”. Brunnan- means “spring”. (There are also other nearby place names with bourne/burn “small river” in them like Kilburn, Westbourne.)Neasden means “nose hill”, similar to ‘Earl’s Ness’ in Brunanburh source. (Compare also Harlesden?)Brondesbury name is similar to Brunanburh.Willesden/Neasden is know from 939 ad which is only 2 years after Brunanburh 937.Could explain why no one has found it.‘felon flood’ or ‘dinges mere’ “noisy sea” might be Thames estuary?Othlynn could relate to London from llyn/lan din/dyn “lake fort”?The “wealda” in Brunanburh poem in the ASC could be the Weald of Kent & Sussex south of London?Brunanburh might be Eorpeburnan “dark stream” in Burghal Hidage, which is supposedly in Kent but can’t be certainly located there. Eorpeburnan is listed first of 33 burhs in the Burghal Hidage, like York is 1st of 33 cities in Nennius, and Eorpeburnan might be London. The name Thames is considered by some to be from a word meaning “darkness, dark, dark grey, muddiness, dark river” (Evans ‘Arthurian Campaign’). (Though Eorpeburnan having the 4th smallest hidage of the 33 burhs may not match London.)
Though there is no burh there, no ness there, not heath there, no plains there, so I guess Willesden is less likely than Thelwall.

So in final conclusion our main candidates roughly in descending order of favour are:
Thelwall/Broomedge/Oughtrington/Warrington or Eddisbury (near Chester, 920/923);
Willesden/Neasden/Brondesbury in London (939);
Bridgenorth/Bridgnorth/Brug (burh, 912, 925, Salop);
Wednesfield (910, West Midlands);
Wolverhampton (910, West Midlands);
Wednesbury (borough, fort, 911, West Midlands);
Wombourne (burna/broca “stream”, Staffs);
Bremesbyrig/Bramsbury (Mercia, 910);
Bourne/Peterborough (Bruneswald, South Kesteven, Lincs, 960);
Great Ouseburn/Little Ouseburn/Aldwark (Ouse Gill Beck, Yorks);
Aldborough/Boroughbridge (Ure, Yorks);
Linton-on-Ouse (Ouse, Yorks);
York (North Yorks);
River Burn (Ouse, Yorks);
Brough (north Humber, Yorks);
Beningbrough (Ouse, Yorks);
Brandesburton (East Yorks);
Durham (Tyne & Wear);
Newcastle (Tyne & Wear);
Tarn Wadling/Penrith (Cumbria);
Etterby/Stanwix/Carlisle (Cumbria);
Eorpeburnan (“Kent”).

There are conflicting accounts of whereabouts in England/Britain Brunanburh was. Comper these following details from different sources.
The Norse/Danes were on the north and Athelstan on the south indicates it was south of York not north of York.
Athelstan’s visit to Beverley on the way to the battle would imply the site was north or east of Beverley.
Northumbria (Ingulf)
Mouth of Humber or on Humber (J Worcester, S Durham, Melrose, Brunne/Mannyng, Langtoft)
The name is Saxon/Anglian (Brunanburh, Weondune?) or Norse (Othlynn, Vinheath, Weondune, Dingesmere, Jarl’s Ness), which seems to indicate either Danish Mercia (Five Boroughs, Lincoln), or Yorkshire.
Southumbria (Rob of Gloucester)
Athelstan travelled through Mercia (ASC).
Malmesbury says the enemy advanced far in to “England”.

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Author: Jesse Powell