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Welsh in Scotland (was: Stirlingshire)

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  • Sharon L. Krossa
    ... I wouldn t be surprised to find that the singing ladies had got things a little garbled. (Folk singers aren t always good historians, though I know of some
    Message 1 of 19 , Apr 7 12:27 AM
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      At 2:23 PM -0800 3/25/2000, iain maciain wrote:
      > what source said a Brythonic language was
      >> spoken in
      >> southern Scotland in the 19th century?
      >>
      >i was afraid you'd ask that as i read it twenty years
      >ago. it was in a book--more a phamphlet from some
      >lovely scots singing ladies from the old strathclyde
      >area. they said they were from a formerly northern
      >welsh spealing area and even sang a local welsh song.
      >finding this again will take some time i
      >expect--except the scot's folk scene is tight i might
      >find a reference on the net.
      >
      >anyway they said the language was spoken untill about
      >1850 by a handfull of people and that there is still
      >some written material around--mostly poetry. i'll try
      >to find this--actually i was hoping someone out there
      >on the list would have this more up to date than me.

      I wouldn't be surprised to find that the singing ladies had got
      things a little garbled. (Folk singers aren't always good historians,
      though I know of some exceptions. ;-)

      They either had got something twisted regarding Cumbric, the
      Welsh-related (and so Brythonic) language that was spoken in the
      Strathclyde area many hundreds of years earlier (see below) or else
      the Welsh speakers were the result of modern migration from Wales.
      (Not impossible -- the Strathclyde area saw a large immigration from
      Ireland in the 19th century, it's not impossible that people came
      from other places as well.)

      >i have also found old poerty from the region in
      >welsh--or a welsh related language but this is from
      >the 8th to 10th centuries at the latest. goddodin et
      >al.

      Yes, this is often called Cumbric -- it's not really Welsh, but is
      descended from the same linguistic ancestor that Welsh is descended
      from (and Cornish and Breton) and was closely related to contemporary
      Welsh. In contrast to the Gaelics, which remained a single common
      language until after the medieval period, the various Brythonic
      languages are considered to have differentiated by the beginning of
      the Middle Ages. This is the language that I wrote elsewhere died
      out in Scotland somewhere in the 10th - 12th century. (I still can't
      find any of my references which tell me more particulars, and my
      local Welsh expert is too busy to bother just now, but I'll keep
      looking.)

      This southwest area had Gaelic speakers until the 17th or maybe (in
      remote areas) 18th century. The area saw various languages pushed out
      by others. Cumbric lost out to Gaelic, then Gaelic to Scots/English.

      >johnprebble's lion in the north also talks of the gall
      >gaels--and the scot's normans by the way, but i forget
      >what he says about their survival. that was my source
      >for the meaning of william wallace's name .

      Prebble isn't exactly the best source for Scottish history. The
      review of it by Rosalind Mitchison in the _Scottish Historical
      Review_ (Vol. 51, 2: No. 152: October 1972) says, in part, "There is
      a gracious acknowledgement in the bibliography of the achievement of
      modern scholars, but precious little sign in the text that any of it
      has been absorbed. This means the renewed expression of errors that
      most of us had hoped had been got out of the body of accepted
      knowledge by now, particularly in economic and social matters." In
      other words, not only is the book out of date because it's almost
      thirty years old, it was out of date at the time it was first
      published.

      For a single volume history, I recommend Michael Lynch _Scotland: A
      New History_.

      That being said, the original source of Wallace's surname is
      generally accepted, though it there is some question as to whether
      this surname came into use in his family due to an immigrant from
      Wales or from an ancestor who as a native Cumbrian isn't certain. By
      the time of William Wallace, it appears to be essentially a fixed,
      inherited surname in his family rather than a true descriptive.

      Anyway, I had better send this message before it dies of old age ;-)

      Sharon
      ska Affrick
      Sharon Krossa, krossa@...
      Medieval Scotland (including resources for names, clothing & history):
      http://www.stanford.edu/~skrossa/medievalscotland/
      The most complete index of reliable web articles about pre-1600 names:
      The Medieval Names Archive - http://www.panix.com/~mittle/names/
      Consultations about re-creating historically accurate pre-1600 names:
      Academy of Saint Gabriel - http://www.s-gabriel.org/
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