Around 1,000 years ago, people in parts of what is now southern Scotland and northern England were still speaking a Celtic language and living under the rule of independent British kings.

The language was called Cumbric, one of the descendants of the Brythonic language spoken across Britain since the Iron Age alongside Welsh, Cornish, Breton and possibly Pictish.

The people called themselves the Cymry meaning ‘fellow countrymen’, a word remembered today in the modern name Cumbria as well as in the Welsh name for Wales, Cymru. The Welsh long remembered their northern cousins and they called the area where they lived Yr Hen Ogledd The Old North’.

The Cumbric language may now be forgotten but the cultural significance of The Old North remains. This was the home of the famous early bards Taliesin and Aneirin as well as many historical characters later incorporated into Arthurian legend including Urien, Owain, Peredur and Merlin.

This website explores the history, language and literature of the fascinating and underappreciated Old North.