EBK Activity Sheets


Major Northern Dark Age Clash
  • The Battle of Catraeth was a great battle between the Northern British and the Anglo-Saxons.
  • Historians think Catraeth is almost certainly Catterick in Yorkshire. It was an old Roman town near an important north-south Roman road junction.
  • Details of the battle are recorded in an ancient poem written by a famous Welsh bard called Aneirin.
  • The oldest written version existing today was copied in the 13th century. The language used shows it was composed around AD 600. This was probably soon after the battle.
  • Catraeth had been taken by the Anglo-Saxons of Deira (Yorkshire). The British wanted it back.
  • King Mynnyddog of Gododdin (Lothian) gathered a large army at Din Eityn (Edinbugh Castle). Warriors came from many different early British kingdoms. For a year, they feasted in the great hall and prepared for battle.
  • They eventually marched south to Catraeth and clashed with the Deirans, but the battle was a disaster for them.
  • The poem says there were 300-400 British against 50,000-100,000 Anglo-Saxons. Can this really be true?
  • All the Britons were killed except three.
  • Deira became even stronger and quickly took over all of East and North Yorkshire.


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