"Cumbria, a Forgotten Celtic Kingdom," is an informative and entertaining piece by Jim Threlkeld that has found a highlighted place on the Threlkeld One-Name Study website. Opening the narrative at around 500 BC when Celtic peoples began emigrating to the British Isles—displacing the native Britons, the Neolithic people who built Stonehenge and other monuments, including the Castlerigg Stone Circle near the village of Threlkeld—Jim tells us of the Celtic kingdom, Rheged, that flourished after the retreat of the Roman armies in what is today County Cumbria. From the rule of Urien, who was assassinated by Morcant of Din Eiden, through the rein Urien's grandson Rhoedd—likely the last king of an independent Cumbria—until the absorption in the 630s of Rheged/Cumbria into the Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.
Jim writes, "Mythic, legendary, heroic—all of these terms accurately describe the stories of Cumbria. There is, however, another, equally applicable term (and one of special interest to me): 'Tolkienesque.'" Read on to see how ancient Cumbria may have influenced not only The Lord of the Rings, but also the legend of King Arthur and Camelot.