Post by Spains Harden
"More than 1000 years ago, Kingston was the place where England
began. Before All Saints Church was built, its site was an
important estate of the West Saxon Kings and host to Royal
coronations. The Saxon King Egbert held his Great Council of 838 AD
‘in that famous place called Cyningestun’ and over the following
centuries as many as eight Saxon kings were consecrated here.
The most well-known of these Saxon kings was Athelstan, the first
ruler who could truly be considered the King of England. After
being crowned in Kingston in 925 AD Athelstan defeated the Scots
and Vikings, unifying regional kingdoms into one nation."
When did we first think of ourselves instead as Brits?
Probably when some tabloid journo decided that 'Brit' was a worthwhile
alternative to 'Briton'. God knows why.
Our schoolbooks were comfortable with 'Ancient Britons' for some time
before that, but I'm not old enough to know when they began with that
'Rule Britannia' has 'Britons never never never shall be slaves', and if
you remember, that was written in or just after the annus mirabilis of,
er, 1748, give or take a couple of years.
'North Britain' as a euphemism for, or a delicate avoidance of,
Scotland, followed quite quickly after the Act of Union. That would have
lent support to 'Briton' when the English and the Scots were not to be
set in opposition, for political reasons.
But cutting to the chase: do we even today think of ourselves as Britons
or 'Brits', in any fundamental way? I don't. I yam what I yam, as Popeye
said, and that's in many respects both more and less than a native of
lands within the borders of England. I start with my ethnic family,
which spills over much of Europe before it ever reaches Carlisle.