Trim Castle

Trim Castle is located on the Boyne River at the edge of The Pale–the border between Norman controlled Ireland and Gaelic Ireland. One of the largest castles in Ireland, it was built by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter in the 12th and 13th centuries. The first Norman conquest of Ireland began in 1171 with the arrival of King Henry II, determined to rein in the power of Strongbow, who had arranged for himself to be King of Leinster by marrying the current king’s daughter. The Normans very quickly carved out a portion of Ireland for themselves, called ‘The Pale’, which included the area from Dublin to the Boyne River. Hugh de Lacy, as one of these original magnates, was granted the Lordship of Meath and effective rule over much of Norman-controlled Ireland. It continued to be a powerful Read more…

Danish Bones Found in Oxford

There’s a new article in The Oxford Student which describes a recent find of bones, determined to have belonged to Danes and the result of a massacre ordered by King Ethelbert in 1003 AD.  It sheds some light on an early period in British history and points to something that is easy to forget as you work your way through the Early Middle Ages:  that the “Saxons” from literature and mythology were not monolithic, but comprised of different ethnic groups and nationalities.  What this find reveals is that the Saxons, who now controlled most of England, murdered their Danish neighbors.  From a Welsh perspective, these groups might seem one and the same, but they weren’t. In the Oxford article, it states:  “Vikings’ skeletons found underneath one of St John’s quads are the remains of a violent “ethnic cleansing” over 1,000 years ago. Read more…