By Ian Anderson
"HOW can you be against Immigration when we British are a nation of immigrants ourselves?"
"You are descended from immigrants yourself ? Saxons, Normans, Danes, Romans, Huguenots, Flemings and so on. So how can you object to a few more immigrants ? Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, West Indians, Hong Kong Chinese ? adding a bit more spice to the melting pot that makes up the British people?"
How many times have British patriots heard arguments like these from people supporting today's multi-racial nightmare in our country? How often have we wished we could not only reply that all the earlier ingredients in the melting pot were White, mostly from North-Western Europe. But go on to shoot down the whole 'melting-pot Britain, the Nation of Immigrants' line?
Well now we can, thanks to this well-argued booklet by National Front Deputy Chairman and Policy Department Head Steve Brady.
A zoology graduate from one of Britain's leading centres of scientific excellence, Steve has turned his trained, critical eye on the 'Nation of Immigrants' idea and on the whole question of who we British are and where we come from. He has looked at the latest findings of historians, archaeologists and all the other experts on this subject, and at the conclusions, they, the experts, have reached on the basis of their findings. Conclusions until now carefully not popularised in their entirety to the general public. Conclusions which, as Steve so ably shows, completely demolish the idea that we British are a 'melting pot' or a 'nation of immigrants'.
Instead, as Steve reveals, the overwhelming concensus of the experts now is that the indigenous British people of today are mostly descended from people who have lived here not just for centuries but for thousands of years. But this booklet is more than just the demolition of a myth. Even a myth which has been used for nearly half a century now by successive Tory and Labour Governments to justify flooding our country with nations of immigrants. It builds in place of the demolished 'Nation of Immigrants' myth a positive new awareness of their own real identity for the British people. It unearths the real Roots of the British.
As the success of Alex Haley's Roots amongst America's Black population some years ago showed, such an awareness of their roots is important to any people. It helps define their sense of nationood. Suppressing such awareness, on the other hand, can be used to undermine that sense of nationhood. As has been the case here in Britain. Where the false idea that Britain is a 'Nation of Immigrants' has been used to justify turning our country into precisely that, through mass coloured immigration.
This booklet has been written by one of the National Front's ablest and most prolific writers. Its conclusions provide welcome support for our Cause. They show that ? in contrast to the recent arrivals on our shores ? the British people are the true indigenous natives of these islands who have lived here for thousands and thousands of years. Yet those conclusions are not those of this booklet's author. Nor those of the National Front. They are those of non-political, or indeed sometimes politically hostile to us, academics and experts, concerned not with making a political point or buttressing a political argument but simply with getting at the truth. It is on that truth that this booklet, and we in the National Front, rest our case, as we do on so many other issues. That's why, unlike our opponents, we do not fear to argue our case in free and full debate, nor do we seek to silence our opponents by fear or force, nor to conceal inconvenient facts, such as those recounted in this booklet, from the British people.
We in the National Front, at least, have nothing to fear from freedom. Freedom as here to tell the truth others would prefer remained unrevealed. In revealing the truth hitherto largely hidden in the groves of Academe to the public at large about their own ethnic origins Steve Brady has rendered sterling service to freedom. The people's right not just to a choice but to a fully informed choice which is at the root of our British democracy, and hence of our national freedom.
If you are a member of the public at large, by reading this booklet you will be helping to give yourself that full information on which to make up your mind on perhaps the most important basic issue of our time: whether Britain is to become in the future what she has never been in the past ? a nation of Immigrants. The issue not of who governs Britain but of who is, and shall be, Britain.
If you are already committed to our Cause, to the belief that Britain must be again and forever what she always was ? British, a land inhabited by her own native people ? then by reading this booklet you will be helping to equip yourself with the strongest possible factual array of arguments for our case. In either case, I have no hesitation in recommending this interesting and informative booklet. As I recommend it to anyone, anywhere, who seeks to know the truth about the roots of the British.
Chairman of the National Front,
"A Nation of Immigrants''
"The modern British are a nation of Immigrants". Thus begins the BBC book of TV popular historian Michael Wood's In Search of the Dark Ages, echoing conventional wisdom. The British, proclaims the notorious liberal Lord Wolfenden in the "Race Relations" chapter of the Church of England's 1961 National Assembly yearbook, "are one of the most mongrel of all the strains of the human race".
Other leading multiracialists have described our land as having long been "a truly multiracial society" because our people are simply the descendents of successive waves of Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Danish, Norman, Huguenot and Fleming Immigrants. Thus an image is constantly dinned into the popular perception of Britain as always having been a multiracial melting-pot, to which a few million Asians and Negroes will only add a bit more spice. Britain is portrayed as a nation successively stolen by each new wave of Immigrants from the descendents of the last, so that we can scarcely object if yet another wave comes to share in the spoils.We are all foreign invaders, nobody is a "native Briton" if you go back more than a few centuries, a couple of millennia at most, so why should we seek to defend the non-existent racial purity of a mongrel breed? Why ward the frontiers of our land against racially alien invasion when we are descended from racially alien invaders ourselves?
It should be self-evident to anyone that part of this picture of a perennially multiracial Britain must be arrant nonsense.? However ignorant of the facts of history, archaeology or racial biology they may be, let them line up a typical Norman, Viking, Anglo-Saxon, Roman and Celt in their mind's eye: given the same haircut and dressed alike it would obviously be difficult if not impossible to say which was which. Add a West Indian, a Pakistani or a Chinaman to our ethnic identity parade and few would have much difficulty spotting the racial alien! Even if the parade were to be made up of newborn babies instead of adults. More scientifically, as Dr. John R. Baker, the eminent Oxford zoologist, points out, the Normans, Saxons, Danes and Celts who invaded these islands are "not only of one race (Europid) but of one subrace (Nordid)" (Race, OUP 1974, p267).
But nonetheless, however wholly White and largely Nordic they may have been, it is still true, surely, that we British are a nation of Immigrants'? Compared to the 12,000 of so years of continuous human habitation of our land, pretty recent Immigrants at that? The English, in particular, are surely much admixed with Norman and Dane and can in any case rarely trace their ancestral claim to the land further back than the fifth and sixth Centuries AD, when their Anglo-Saxon forebears swept ashore and drove out or killed the native, or at least older Immigrant, Celts?
But the truth, as modern historians and archaeologists are overwhelmingly coming to realise, is very different. The "waves of Immigrants" were shallower numerically and less frequent than is generally supposed. Their impact was primarily cultural, linguistic and political. But genetically and ethnically they stirred up far less change in what is increasingly being seen as a relatively rather deep pool of indigenous British people than has hitherto been popularly appreciated. We are very much less a nation of Immigrants than we think.
In order to see why the "Nation of Immigrants" picture of the makeup of the British is a myth, we must first clear up some popular misconceptions. These misconceptions are obvious to everyone now, but in some cases they confused scholars as well as the public for years. Misconceptions, indeed, at the heart and root of the myth. Then we shall look at the evidence on which the sort of "history" we are taught is based. We shall follow the modern, up-to-date understanding of how history - and pre-history - happens arrived at by today's historians and archaeologists, the so called "processual" model. We shall look at what processes cause apparent and actual mass immigration and the apparent, and less often real, replacement of one people in their own land by another. Then, hopefully equipped with a more educated and critical eye, we shall look further and further back into time, examining each of the "waves of Immigration" which supposedly successively swamped our islands. Finally, we shall peer into the depths of the mists of prehistory seeking to descry who, if not a "nation of Immigrants", we British actually are. We shall quest for the very wellspring of our identity as a people, our nationhood.
The Misconceptions Behind the Myth
A surprising number of the 'historical facts' about Britain's 'waves of immigrants' are simply wrong. We were taught at school that these immigrant Normans, Saxons, Danes and so on 'comprise the British people'. But much of this school text-book history is based on elementary misconceptions. Modern historians and archaeologists are increasingly exposing these misconceptions. When the underlying errors are pointed out they seem so obviously wrong that it is difficult to see how anyone ever believed them in the first place.
The first misconception is the confusion of culture - language, physical artefacts, art, literature and social organization - with ethnicity. England, for example, has unarguably changed its language, culture and society many times. They became successively Celtic, Romano-British, Anglo-Saxon, partially Scandinavian, and Norman-French. But that does not mean the people changed too. For, however often they are cited by multiracialists as evidence of their "mongrel race Britain", such cultural changes say nothing whatsoever about the racial nature and makeup of the English people at any of these epochs, about who the people were that spoke the language or lived in the society.
It will become obvious that this is so it we recall that over much of the modern West Indies the people speak, and sometimes write, English. They have English personal names and live in a society whose political, social and legal organization are largely copies of English models. So indeed are their architecture, clothes and artefacts. Let us imagine far future archaeologists excavating, or historians describing, 20th Century Kingston, Jamaica. They would be doing no worse than many of their recent counterparts working on British history and prehistory if they ignored evidence to the contrary from physical anthropologists looking at the skeletal remains of the people of the time. Ignoring also the physical makeup of their modern descendants, tainted likewise with 'nasty racism' as it is, they would then people their 20th Century 'West Indian Culture' (1st Rasta Dynasty?) with fair-haired, ruddy-faced, true sons of the Saxon shires.
Similarly, Ireland changed almost totally in speech from a Celtic language (Irish Gaelic) to a Germanic (English) in a couple of centuries. But few would seriously argue that this linguistic overturn reflected the wholesale extermination or expulsion of the Gael and the re-peopling of the Ould Sod with true-blue Brits! Yet just this used often to be argued from exactly the same process of linguistic overturn happening in England a millennium earlier! What this really shows is what quite a small culturally alien minority can achieve if they hold total power and attendant social prestige. All official business, for example, from local level up, is conducted in the alien speech, which anyone who wishes to 'get on' and not be branded a total bumpkin, must master.
Yet this confusion between culture and people was deeply rooted not only among historians studying history but among archaeologists studying prehistory. The idea that language, material culture and ethnicity were common aspects of one whole was first mooted in 1890 by Sir Arthur Evans. Each coherent assemblage of pottery style, grave goods and burial practice, type of tool and weapon and so on - a 'culture' in archaeological parlance - was held to imply an identifiable ethnic group, a people. The idea was put on a systematic basis, by V. Gordon Childe in 1929, with the link between 'a culture' and 'a people' made explicit. This led, for example, to the belief that the appearance over areas of Northern Europe in the later third/early second millennium of BC of a type of 'Battle-Axe' and pottery known as Corded Ware implied a distinct 'Battle Axe/Corded Ware' people invading the areas where the axes and pots were found. These people were in turn sometimes identified with the first speakers of Indo-European languages invading the area concerned. The similar spread of Bell Beakers (a type of beer mug!) and a related - i.e. often found with the beer mugs - assemblage of materials led to the concept of a 'Beaker People', about whose origins and migrations endless scholarly arguments raged.
The problem with all this becomes obvious if we imagine our 50th Century archaeologists noting the occurrence of the remains of bicycles in 3,000 year-old sites around the globe. Bicycles will tend to be found in conjuction with a common kit of artefacts ? Western-style, clothes, toothbrushes, Coca-cola bottles etc. And it will be discovered that older and less advanced bikes occur, together with more primitive toothbrushes and earlier forms of soft drinks bottle, first in Britain, then in Europe and North America. In the latter, the Coke bottle first appears, but soon spreads back to the European 'bicycle homeland'. Within a century, the 'Bicycle/Coke Bottle' culture has spread around the world, with bicycles, and now Coke bottles, especially numerous in late 20th Century Peking.
Following much of traditional archaeological thinking, our future archaeologists postulate a 'Bicycle/Coke Bottle' culture borne by an identifiable ethnic group, the 'Bicycle People', who spread from an ancestral homeland, perhaps the Raleigh-Triumph factory in 19th Century Nottingham to invade Europe, America and eventually much of the world. From the density of bicycle finds in the area, it will be clear that vast numbers of 'Bicycle People' from Nottingham migrated to Peking around 1960. Moreover, there will probably by then be linguistic evidence of the spread around the world in the 19th/20th Centuries of a single language ('proto-Bicycle' - in fact English), presumably carried by hordes of Bicycle Folk warriors mounted on their trusty push-bikes, brandishing Coke bottles as they swept across Central Asia en route on the 'Folk Migration' from Nottingham to the Forbidden City!
Absurd though this reductio ad absurdum indeed is, it is on similar arguments that classical archaeologists built the 'Invasion Hypothesis'. This is the familiar image of a recorded history in which Normans, Danes, Saxons, and Romans swept over Britain, changing its ethnic composition utterly, preceded by a similar prehistory, in which our island was successively overrun by Neolithic farmers, proto-Indo-Europeans, Beaker People, Wessex Culture people, and at least two waves of Celts.
The false assumption underlying all this was that culture implied people. It commonly happens in the archaeological record that one culture, one set of pot style and burial custom and so on, is replaced in a given area by another. It was assumed that this meant that the previous inhabitants had been replaced by a new people in the land.
Exactly how this replacement occurred - whether the former natives were physically exterminated or simply driven en masse from their homeland (where to?) or whatever - was seldom explained in any detail. This false assumption was repeatedly made even in the face of similar cultural transformations in the present-day world taking place before the offending scholars' own eyes without any such ethnic replacement. For example, the almost total replacement of the indigenous physical culture of Japan: between 1868 and the 1930's Japanese technology, architecture, clothing, even the much-cited styles of pots and pans were replaced by the Euro-American ones, without the slightest replacement of the ethnic Japanese by Euro-American, or indeed any other, invaders.
A related source of muddle and error lies in the field of one aspect of culture - language. In particular comparative linguistics, the study of the relationships between different languages. Since Sir William Jones first pointed it out in 1786, it has been known that many of the languages of Europe, parts of the Middle East and Northern India, are closely related. This is evident if we look at some corresponding words in various of these Indo-European languages. For example: English one, two, three; German eins, zwei, drei; French un, deux, trois; Swedish en, tva, tre; Irish aon, do, tri; Russian odin, dva, tri; Icelandic einn, tveir, thrir; Latin unus, duo, tres; Greek heis, duo, treis; and the ancient North-west Indian language Sanskrit eka, dva, treyas compared with the non-Indo-European Finnish yksi, kaksi, kolme. Or English father, German Vater, Latin pater, Greek pater, and Sanskrit pitar. Such similarities, indicating that the languages in which they occur were once one, are, as would be expected most notable in the core vocabulary of the languages concerned: words such as those for the numbers one to ten, members of the family etc. Also, the older Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit, dating to as far back as 1400 B.C., and Lithuanian, which has changed little in 3,000 years, are more similar than more recent languages. Take, for example the proverb "God gave teeth; God will give bread". In ancient Sanskrit, from the Punjab of thirty centuries ago, this is "Devas adadat datas: Devas dat dhanas". In modern Lithuanian, from the shores of today's Baltic Sea, the same proverb is "Dievas dave dantas: Dievas duos duonos". But none of this proves anything about the ethnic identities of the Indo-European peoples.
We know for example that Indo-European languages reached India about 1800 B.C. borne by a conquering aristocracy of White, indeed almost certainly Nordic, warriors, the 'Aryans'. We also know that they did not drive out or replace the indigenous Indians, but formed a tiny ruling minority among them. Despite an explicit ideology of ethnic apartheid, the caste system of their Hindu religion and culture, we also know words such as those for the numbers one to ten, members of the family etc. Also, the older Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit, dating to as far back as 1400 B.C., and Lithuanian, which has changed little in 3,000 years, are more similar than more recent languages. Take, for example the proverb "God gave teeth; God will give bread".In ancient Sanskrit, from the Punjab of thirty centuries ago, this is "Devas adadat datas: Devas dat dhanas". In modern Lithuanian, from the shores of today's Baltic Sea, the same proverb is "Dievas dave dantas: Dievas duos duonos".
But none of this proves anything about the ethnic identities of the Indo-European peoples.
We know for example that Indo-European languages reached India about 1800 B.C. borne by a conquering aristocracy of White, indeed almost certainly Nordic, warriors, the 'Aryans'. We also know that they did not drive out or replace the indigenous Indians, but formed a tiny ruling minority among them. Despite an explicit ideology of ethnic apartheid, the caste system of their Hindu religion and culture, we also know - and can see for ourselves in many a corner shop the length and breadth of our own country - they disappeared with little trace into the ethnic nature of that indigenous population. The proprietor of the average Briton's corner "Paki shop", like millions more where he came from in Northern India, speaks a language as Indo-European as English, indeed linguistically closer to its ancient proto-Indo-European root tongue. But few would argue that such linguistic closeness to the ancestor of the speech of most of the White Race reflects any corresponding ethnic identity on the part of the average Punjabi, Urdu or Gujerati speaker!
The case of India, where a non-European population has for thousands of years spoken languages that are closely related to those of most of Europe, illustrates the problem. The undoubted inter-relationship and common origin of the Indo-European languages does not necessarily imply any corresponding inter-relationship and common origin of the peoples who today speak these languages. Or even those who spoke them prior to the European expansion across the planet after about 1450 AD. Except, of course, in so far as most belong to one race, one human subspecies ? as do Basques, Finns and Magyars, speaking wholly unrelated tongues. The Indo-European languages did indeed reach Britain as they did India. At the dawn of history most of the inhabitants of these islands spoke Indo-European languages - though it is significant that probably by no means all of them did. But that by itself tells us less than is commonly supposed. Did the Indo-European tongues reach Britain at the same time, or in the same way, as they reached India? Or at another time? Or in another way? Or both? Linguistic evidence alone cannot tell us.
The second major source of error lies in the wholly unscientific and irrational - indeed anti-rational - refusal of some scholars to even consider evidence on the question they deem politically unacceptable. The principal victim here is evidence from the field of physical anthropology, the study of the medical, physical and physiological aspects of ethnicity in Man. Yet it is this field alone, for example, which could offer the crucial evidence to a future archaeologist that the people who today live in Kingston, Jamaica, for all their English language and evidently British-descended culture, technology and way of life cannot have been predominantly, or even to a large degree, descended from colonists from the British Isles. For the simple reason that ethnically Jamaicans are predominantly members of the Negro subspecies of Homo sapiens (the "Black Race" of popular parlance) whilst the British are (at the moment, at least!) members of the Caucasoid subspecies (popularly known as the "White Race"), and so it is genetically impossible for the latter population to comprise the principal strain in the ancestry of the former. Physical anthropologists could tell these facts, not only from the living populations in question, but from skeletal remains, especially skulls. Skulls are particularly durable parts of the skeleton and so tend to be preserved. Furthermore they differ, like the facial features for which they provide the scaffolding, noticeably from race to race (and, indeed, between genetically at least fairly distinct populations within one race, 'sub-races' such as the Nordic and Mediterranean). Given their eagerness to pore over the minutest nuances of pot styles, and their willingness to make full use of scientific knowledge in, for example, radiocarbon dating of excavated samples, one would expect historians and archaeologists to leap at such a rich and obviously valuable source of scientific evidence. The more so as physical anthropology provides the only data which can convincingly link a prehistoric culture to a definite genetic population. Or prove that no such link existed.
Once archaeologists did indeed make enthusiastic - even, it must be admitted, on occasions over-enthusiastic - use of such evidence. A little over a hundred years ago, for example, a correlation between two types of prehistoric burial site and the shape of the skulls found buried in them led to the general acceptance among archaeologists of the dictum "long skulls - long barrows; round skulls - round barrows". The average 'skull length' - the ratio of the length from front to back of a skull to its width from side to side, technically the 'cranial index' ? does indeed serve to identify populations as being genetically distinct. So historical deductions were drawn from this. Not without validity: although for reasons we shall come to in a moment, measuring heads has acquired, for reasons unconnected with its validity as a scientific exercise, a ring of eccentricity if not sinisterness.
Nonetheless the difference in average skull shape between say, a group of Swedes and a group of Austrians is obvious to the most superficial eye. Indeed the Police in Britain have found evidence from physical anthropology, notably skull measurements, repeatedly crucial in discovering the ethnic antecedents of unidentified bodies, as they did for example in the case of a body found in Cardiff in late 1989, which turned out to be that of a part-Spanish, part Cypriot girl called Karen Price. Physical anthropologists, though, would be the first to aver that their studies relate to populations, not individuals. A physical anthropologist confronted with one skull might well hesitate to pronounce with confidence on its origins, although usually the basic racial origin, Negro or European or Mongoloid, can be discerned. Conclusions from samples of dozens of skulls are far safer. But archaeologists do often dig up - clearly associated with one identifiable culture - such assemblages of skulls and other skeletal remains. After all, graves are among the most distinctive cultural identifiers.
Yet today archaeologists and historians shun such data like the plague. In 1926, the eminent archaeologist V. Gordon Childe made extensive use of physical anthropological data in his book The Aryans, dealing with the question of the origins and spread of the Indo-European language family and its relationship, if any, with an identifiable ethnic group. He concluded "The first Aryans were Nordics . . the Nordics' superiority in physique fitted them to be the vehicles of a superior language". Twenty years later, Childe repudiated his book. And by 1987, in a book (carefully not entitled The Aryans!) Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins (Jonathan Cape, 1987), dealing with the same issue eminent modern archaeologist Colin Renfrew, Disney Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge and Master of Jesus College, sedulously refuses to take any account of such data. Instead he states baldly (op. cit, p.4) "Racial anthropology - Rassenkunde to use the German term - has been convincingly discredited". How so? Has it been proved scientifically false? No. Were it so, the Police, for example, would not use it in forensic enquiries as they routinely do. Or pehaps it is no longer relevant? No again: it still provides the only way prehistorians have of connecting a people with a set of physical artefacts, of binding the cultural to the ethnic. Indeed, his refusal to consider such data leads Renfrew, in an otherwise worthwhile and interesting work, to reach a conclusion which as we shall see is transparently absurd.
The reason is quite simple, and wholly unscientific, indeed unworthy of consideration by any scholar of integrity. It is purely political. As Renfrew openly admits (op. cit., p.4) "Most archaeologists of the time were appalled to see what were no more than plausible theories about prehistoric languages and cultures converted into military propaganda about racial superiority and brought to a nightmarish reductio ad absurdum in the destruction of millions of people, supposedly belonging to other 'races', in the holocaust" by "Hitler and the National Socialist movement". In a shameful display of intellectual cowardice, Renfrew goes on timidly to hope that he may dare to raise the question of the ethnic connection with the Indo-European languages "without incurring the oppobrium that such discussions understandably, and perhaps rightly, earned at the end of the Second World War." Fear of opprobrium, it need hardly be said, is scarcely a matter that should stand between a serious scholar and the quest for the truth. Nor are the policies or justifications thereof advanced by the NSDAP, nor the outcome of the Second World War, relevant to that quest either.
To suggest that physical anthropology was "convincingly discredited" because the Nazis made use of its findings is as absurd as to suggest, for the same reasons, that another science, rocketry, is likewise discredited. In the latter case, such 'discrediting' did not prevent that science subsequently being applied to land men on the moon - even though such application was worse tainted by the open involvement in the moon project of Nazi rocket engineers such as Wernher von Braun!
Likewise, such extraneous political irrelevancies should not deter scholars from using physical anthropological evidence to investigate such questions as the ethnic origin of the British people, where it clearly has much to say of relevance. Its most obvious application lies in describing the very phenomenon to be explained: the present-day physical make-up of the British people. Indeed, not merely describing that make-up but, as we saw in the case of the Jamaicans earlier, setting strict genetic limitations on how it can have come about. Dr. John Baker, F.R.S., the eminent Oxford zoologist, ably expounds the physical anthropology of the peoples of the British Isles in his classic work Race (OUP, 1974, p.217 and 264-9). As Dr. Baker rightly says, the British population may be distinguished by its physical constitution as being largely comprised of the Nordic sub-race of the European or White race, a sub-race marked by a high incidence of fair hair, blue, green and grey eyes, and dolichocephaly, skulls long in proportion to their width. However, as John Beddoe revealed in 1885 in his The Races of Britain, and E. Sunderland confirmed in an extensive spectrophotometric study of over a thousand specimens of hair ("Hair colour variation in the United Kingdom", Annals of Human Genetics, 20, pp. 312-30, 1956) there is evidence of isolated darker-haired populations in parts of Wales and western Ireland. This has been used to suggest, but does not prove, the existence of another subracial element in the British population, possibly Mediterranid. The Mediterranid is a subrace shorter and darker than the Nordic, although it is by no means, in its unmixed form, as swarthy as much of the present peoples around the Mediterranean. Amongst these there has in historical times been much admixture of non-European, even Negroid, stock. Many authors have gone on to suggest that this supposed Mediterranean element is the remnant of an aboriginal population displaced by later Nordic invaders. As we shall see, this is indeed possible but by no means certain. Matters are not helped, as far as evidence from ancient human remains are concerned, by the fact that, as Baker remarks, (op. cit.,pp. 219-220) "It is not always easy to distinguish a Nordid skull from a Mediterranid". There is also evidence of a third genetic element, Cro-Magnids, an archaic group unchanged since the last Ice Age, among some Scots and western Irish populations.
This evidence from physical anthropology is open to a variety of historical interpretations. For example it is fair to say tha the one offered by Baker himself (op. cit., pp. 264-70) would be regarded as outdated by many modern archaeologists, as we shall see. But it does rule out any substantial immigration before our own times from some of the more exotic locations proposed for the roots of the British. Such locations have included Iron Age Palestine (the 'British Israel' theory) and Neolithic Asia Minor (Professor Renfrew's rather esoteric suggestion!) As such, the evidence of physical anthropology is clearly centrally relevant,and ignoring these, facts has played a key role in fostering the 'nation of Immigrants' myth.
The third misconception relates to the evidence from that fairly recent period, in comparison to the length of time our islands have been inhabited, in which history has been recorded. It lies in failing to take into account who records 'recorded history' and why. And following on from that, how reliable or otherwise such recorded accounts might be on the question of the ethnic composition of our islands. For 'recorded history' is generally simply a chronicle of the doings of tiny ruling minorities. A chronicle commissioned by these ruling minorities themselves from a little larger literate scribe class, eg. medieval monks. And a chronicle telling of the deeds of kings and lords, often invaders and usurpers, to the exclusion of the lives and names of the uncounted millions of humbler folk whose proportion of the population is frequently in inverse relationship to their share in the history books. It is now clear that even these unrepresentative chronicles of the deeds of rulers suffer from gross inaccuracy and wild exaggeration. This is especially true of those written in the so-called "Dark Ages". For example, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle asribes vast hordes to the Viking invaders of 9th Century England, on which arguments as to their contribution to the native gene pool have often been based. Yet, as Professor Gwyn Jones (in his History of the Vikings, OUP 1973, p. 219) accepts on behalf of modern historians, Viking expert P.H. Sawyer "fully sustains his argument that the Viking armies should be numbered in hundreds, not thousands, and that even the Great Horde of 892 would hardly exceed a thousand in number. 300-400 would, one judges, be a very substantial force. It is easy to find medieval exaggerations of the order of ten-, thirty-, even fiftyfold." The Danes' Great Army may indeed, as G.K. Chesterton says, have been "made of iron men". It may even have "run round England red as morn". But there was simply not enough of it, however enthusiastic its raping and pillaging, to wreak undue havoc with England's ethnic makeup.
A truer picture of the size of invading armies emerges, for example, from the late 7th Century Laws of King Ine of Wessex. These Laws define up to 7 men as "a gang of thieves", from 7 to 35 "a band" and above three dozen "an army". Archaeologists Lloyd and Jennifer Laing observe in their Anglo-Saxon England (Paladin, 1982, p.78) "In 786 Cynheard's army amounted to 85 men, which was nearly sufficient to capture Wessex from King Cynewulf. Hengist and Horsa" - the supposed founders of English Kent - "are described as having come over in three ships, while Cerdic and Cynric" - founders of Saxon Wessex - "came over in five. In other words, war bands coming to England were of the order of 100-250 men."
Similarly, the Scots invaded Argyll from Ireland in 501, we are told, in three shiploads captained by the Sons of Ere. Clearly, the popular image of vast hordes of invaders sweeping ashore again and again out of the mists of the Dark Ages, conquering all before them and driving the natives into the sea and the mountains is simply a historical nonsense.
Indeed, before modern ships and jumbo jets it was more or less physically impossible to move very large numbers of people across the sea. Or, for that matter, across land. Much is made of the Volkerwanderung migrations of Germanic peoples across Europe during and after the collapse of Rome between roughly 300 and 600 AD. Over this period almost the whole of Europe was, at one point or another, apparently taken over by Germanic peoples. East Goths ruled Poland, the Ukraine and eventually Italy. West Goths ruled Spain. Franks ruled France. The Vandals took over North Africa. In all of which they sank subsequently virtually without trace, because the numbers involved were never very large in relation to the peoples the temporarily conquered. As Professor Chester G. Starr puts it in his History of the Ancient World (Oxford University Press, New York, 1974) "The best estimate of the numbers of invaders puts them at 5 percent of the Imperial population: when the Vandals crossed to Africa they numbered only 80,000". Yet this 5% minority was able to "transform", for example, the 'Gaul' of 95% of its people into 'France', land of the tiny Frankish invading elite.
The superficiality of this transformation is well illustrated by an example cited by Dr. Catherine Hills in her Blood of the British (Channel 4 Publications, 1986, pp. 169-170): "At Frenouville in Normandy a cemetery was excavated by Christian Pilet. The burials at Frenouville dated from the third to the seventh centuries and they were all inhumations. Before the fifth century all the associated grave-goods could be described as Roman or Gallo-Roman and they were not very numerous. From the fifth century there are objects described as Saxon and during the sixth century there were Frankish weapons and brooches. So was this a place where the natives had been ousted by Romans, then the Romans by Germanic tribes, first Saxons and then Franks? According to the bone analysis, no. There was simply the native population living and dying there through the centuries, with perhaps an occasional newcomer. The natives were just buying and using whatever happened to be available and fashionable by way of pots, brooches and spears. The murderous ruling Merovingian dynasty might have been entirely Frankish in origin, but that does not mean everyone in France became a Frank, even if they did give their name to the country, just as the Angles gave their name to England." Similar 'folk movements' throughout history usually shrink, on closer examination, as we shall see, to much the same relatively minor phenomena. Mass immigration, and the total transformation of populations ethnically as well as culturally, are very largely features exclusively of our modern period.
Culture, Change & Conquest - Historical processes at work
The history of Britain is unarguably one of cultures being replaced by other cultures. Culturally our country to one extent or another has been Norman, Danish, Saxon, Roman, and Celtic. And home to cultures before history gave us their name such as the Beaker People, the Wessex Culture, the First Farmers and the Mesolithic hunters. In the past, historians simply put such changes down to waves of invasion, the replacement (often a euphemism for extermination or, at best expulsion or enslavement) of one people with one culture by another with another culture. Later we shall look at the historical record and see if this ever happened. But first: need it ever have? What historical processes cause culture change? And how far are waves of invasion possible anyway; the replacement not just of a culture but of a people in their own land by strangers.
Modem archaeologists and historians identify four processes at work in causing culture change in a country. The first, and ethnically the least important, is 'peer-polity interaction'. This is simply imitation by one people of ideas, inventions, art forms, fashions, technologies, and so on copied from another. A modern example is the adoption of much of Western technology, dress, architecture, even ideologies and systems of government by societies such as China and Japan in the Orient. This is the actual explanation of the Chinese 'Bicycle People' mentioned above! This process need not involve conquest or immigration at all. It is largely how in historic times Christianity spread across Northern Europe. Missionaries, insignificant in number and indeed sometimes recruited from the indigenous population, convinced each political leadership to copy the ideology and religion of neigbouring states already converted. Thereupon each leadership, more or less bloodily and brutally, imposed the new cultural importation on their own society and people. Later, the associated culture, buildings, and elements of social structure such as monasteries, and ultimately the whole rival power structure of the Church, were likewise copied. Prehistorically, metal-working and perhaps sometimes farming technologies, and the megalith-building culture of Western Europe in the fifth millennium BC, seem to have spread this way. Ideas migrated, not people.
The second process of cultural change is 'elite dominance'. Here there is an invader, albeit numerically a minority, often a small minority, who imposes his language, culture and way of life on a conquered majority. A modern example is the imposition by the British of their language, forms of government, technology, dress, and even sports, such as cricket, on the Indian sub-continent and much of Black Africa. An older example was the Norman Conquest of England, as we shall see. Indeed, as we look back into our past we shall see this process has been the dominant way in which each culture, Roman, Saxon, Dane and Norman, has in historical times supplanted the earlier one. It may well have played a similar role in the prehistory of our islands. In such an elite dominance process cultural transformations often of the most radical kind can be effected by power-wielding elites numerically insignificant compared to the people they rule. Hence they actually affect the long-term ethnic composition of the country very little.
The third process, the 'demographic wave of advance', unlike the first two, can supplant a people in their own land. This process was proposed by the geneticist Professor Luigi Cavalli-Sforza and the archaeologist Albert Ammerman in a series of papers commencing in 1973. It depends on the newcomers possessing a massive advantage in technology, specifically the technology of supporting people on a given area of land. The classic example is Neolithic farming as opposed to mesolithic hunting/gathering. In Europe, hunting/gathering can support only about 1 person per 10 square kilometres. Neolithic-level farming can support five people on one square kilometre, a fiftyfold increase. If farmers move into a land settled by hunter/gatherers, they need not lay so much as a finger on the natives to outnumber them, in a few generations, by fifty to one. Cavalli-Sforza and Ammermann showed, in an elegant mathematical model, that a farming population will spread in a wave of population advance by a kilometre a year simply by random movement of younger sons seeking new land to farm and so on. They would spread across Europe, for example, in a couple of millennia without anyone deliberately setting out to conquer anywhere. It is this very process which allowed the White Man to overrun much of North America, and Australia, in a little over a century. The Mesolithic, in Australia Paleolithic, natives would have been swamped anyway, whether they fought or not. Simply because the immigrants' more advanced land exploitation technology allowed a given area of land to support ? in the case of early modern, rather than Neolithic, farming ? perhaps 75 to a hundred times more immigrants than natives. Of course, farmers tend to cut down forest and otherwise destroy the environment of the hunter/gatherers' game. Because of this the immigrants tend not merely to outnumber vastly but totally to swamp the natives. Even if actual physical conflict does not intervene to speed the process: if the immigrant farmers don't mind hunting bands trampling all over their crops and the natives do not grow restless at the sight of their ancestral hunting areas being visibly overrun. The only chance the natives have is to learn the new farming technology and use it to build up their own numbers before they are swamped.
It is simply the difference in technology connected with the amount of people who can be supported on a given area of land that matters. For example, in Latin America, the natives' Neolithic technology was in most respects, notably militarily, far behind that of the steel-armoured, horse-riding, musket and cannon-armed Spanish Conquistadores. But, unlike their kinsfolk to the North, they were farmers, not hunters. And their farming techniques could support 75% of the people the corresponding Spanish agricultural techniques could support on a given area of land. So in those areas of Latin America where such cultures prevailed, notably Mexico, Guatemala and Peru, the natives, far from being effectively obliterated as their North American kin were, still comprise ethnically the great bulk of the population, especially of the peasantry. Much the same picture emerged in Southern Africa, where the Negroes, the Zulu and Xhosa and so on, were farmers and cattle-raisers like the Europeans. That's why they are there as the majority still. The hunter-gatherer San Bushmen and Hottentots are now all but extinct. The North American Indians fought as bravely for their land as did the Inca and Zulu. But their preagricultural economy meant there just were not very many of them, and, failing to adopt means of supporting many more of them on the same area of land in time from their conquerors, they were all but annihilated.
Of course, given a numerous peasantry, the temptation for the conqueror will be to fall back on elite dominance, in any case. Rather than taking and farming the lands himself it is easier to sit on his backside and make the natives farm them for him ? and, in South Africa, work the mines and the factories too. However culturally and ethnically superior the ruling elite may be, however painstaking the measures it takes to safeguard its ethnic identity, the end result of this is inevitably the fate of the Aryans in India, the fate of the Conquistadores in South America ? being swallowed up in the subject masses. Let South Africa's Whites take note!
Only once in British history have the preconditions for such a swamping of the natives by a wave of demographic advance existed: when Neolithic farming techniques impacted on Mesolithic hunter/gatherers around 4500 BC. Since then, no invaders of our islands have enjoyed anything like the degree of technological advantage the Spanish Conquistadores enjoyed over the Latin American natives ? a degree of advantage which was still not enough for the Spanish to supplant the native Amerindians. Even though it was an advantage, based on a difference in terms of the time it took Europeans to span it, of around three thousand years of technical advance. We would therefore expect, even before looking at the historical and archaeological evidence in detail, that our ancestors would have held this land, with very little ethnic change, for at least 6500 years. So that before Rome was founded, before Homer sang of the topless towers of Ilion, before Pharoah commanded the first Pyramid, this land was our land.
For the fourth way in which the culture, and indeed the people, in a land may change has not affected us in all our history before the present. It is a way which lies not in our nation's past but, it is much to be feared, in its future. The previous two phenomena have involved conquest from above. This one leads ultimately to conquest, via decay, from below, not in despite or defeat of the land's existing rulers but because of them. It is a peril which assails nations not when they are weak but when, seemingly, they are at the height of their power and wealth.
That way is not by the invasion but the importation of outside peoples to serve as cheap labour ? sometimes as slave labour. Brought in by the greedy to supplant the weakest sectors of the native workforce. Always there are dirty and unpleasant jobs to do, and often it is easier, instead of paying the higher wages that true-born folk of the land rightly demand to take on such burdens, to cast them aside and bring in outlanders who will work long hours for low pay. Sometimes they come, as the Negroes did to America and, earlier, to Egypt, Greece and Rome, as slaves unwillingly. Sometimes they flood in gladly, lured by a higher standard of living even among the poorest of a higher civilization than their homelands could themselves build. Thus flooded Syrians and Levantines into ancient Greece and Rome. Until at its height, just before its fall began, the Athens of Pericles in 431 BC already had 25,000 metics, resident free foreigners, and 55,000 slaves, many of both classes wholly not Greek and partly not White, outnumbering the 50,000 Athenians in their own city. And in the second Century AD, when Imperial Rome too was at its height, with before it also only decline and fall, the satirist Juvenal in his Third Satire lamented that in the Imperial City "only a small part of our dregs is Greek. Long ago the wide Orontes of Syria poured into the Tiber" (H. Creekmore translation, Mentor, New York, 1963 p.48). So it was in America 200 years ago, until now the capital of what was ? until very recently ? the world's richest and mightiest nation is peopled by nine Negroes for every one of the White men who built the United States. So it is in Britain today. Our cities and towns ever more peopled with immigrant aliens. As the aliens swarm in with official sanction, sometimes official encouragement, the natives are often powerless to resist. Indeed, they may not see the need ? until it is too late. A few, more far-sighted, may try to stem the tide: in 451 BC the great Athenian leader Pericles persuaded the Athenians at least to deny citizenship to anyone not a true-born Athenian on both father and mother's side of the family. And Octavian, as Augustus Caesar the founder and first Emperor of the Roman Empire, "considering it", as his biographer Suetonius tells us, "of great importance to keep the people pure and unsullied by any taint of foreign or servile blood, was most chary of conferring Roman citizenship and set a limit to the freeing of (predominantly foreign) slaves". But such measures, stopping short of repatriating the aliens already within the gates, proved inadequate. The imported Immigrants proliferated on the bounty of societies they did not build. Indeed, by blurring the distinction between citizen and foreigner and hence weakening the cohesion and sense of national identity which alone keeps large human political entities in stable existence, they did much to undermine, weaken and finally destroy, those societies.
Such deliberate importation by advanced urban civilizations of more primitive peoples to their heartlands to do their dirty work for them does indeed change the ethnic nature of the areas affected. If you doubt this, compare the heroic Nordic Greeks of Classical sculpture with Stavros down at your local kebab shop! Or imagine Kojak ? Telly Savalas ? in the ranks of the xanthoi ? the fair ones - at Marathon or Thermopylae! Or compare the busts and images on coins of the earlier Emperors of Ancient Rome, many described by their contemporary biographers such as Suetonius and Tacitus as ruddy of face and fair of hair with the population of today's Rome. Yet if this phenomenon goes on unchecked in Britain now as it did in Greece and Rome then our descendants may be in no position thus to sneer at the downfall of others. No more than the Hellenes and the Caesars would we recognise our own swarthy descendants.
That is for the future. Certainly no-one suggests that Britain's past, unlike that of Athens or Rome ? or Egypt or Persia for that matter, who trod the same weary road to racial ruin ? ever, before our time, knew the mass importation of cheap foreign labour.
As Cambridge's Professor Renfrew puts it in his work on Archaeology and Language (op. cit. p.6), the latest findings and thinking in archaeology concludes that "Our origins ? and in general that is claimed here for other parts of Europe too ? go back very much deeper (than used to be thought). These lands have been our lands, and those of our forefathers , for thousands of years longer than is widely thought. Many of the features, then, which define the Irishness of the Irish, or the Spanishness of the Spanish, or the Britishness of the British, go back very much deeper." These conclusions Renfrew draws even without looking at further evidence in support of them provided by physical anthropology. Just how true such conclusions are we shall see as we move from principles to practice and look backwards through time to watch the forging of our folk on the anvil of history.
Normans and Northmen
THE MOST recent pre-20th Century immigrations are indisputably of no ethnic consequence whatsoever, save to make longer the list of alleged ingredients of the 'mongrel population' of Britain. A few thousand Flemings and Huguenots, ethnically indistinguishable from the natives, were simply swallowed up without trace, culturally as well as racially, in millions of natives. The Jews, as Baker rightly says, (Race, op. cit. p.267) "have never had very much genetic effect on the rest of the population, partly because they have not been very numerous, partly because they have tended to practice endogamy" (breeding exclusively among their own community).
But the first major invasion of Britain we come to as we pass back through the years, the Norman Conquest, seems a very different story. The political, economic, social and cultural effect of this event was undeniably shattering. The entire English government and ruling elite was totally overthrown ? 20 years after the Conquest only 8% of England was left under native lordship. The effect further down the social scale may be gauged by such pathetic cases related in the 1086 Domesday Book as that of Aelfric of Marsh Gibbon, who held his land freely under King Edward the Confessor but now holds it of William son of Ansculf "at rent, heavily and wretchedly". The thriving Anglo-Saxon language and culture was driven underground, replaced in the halls of governance by Norman French. When it surfaced again, three hundred years later, the English language had been drastically transformed in grammar and vocabulary, with a substantial accrual of Norman French loan words. Surely the Normans' numbers, and consequent racial effect on our ancestry, must have been correspondingly great?
Not so.? The eminent military historian Terence Wise sums up the position thus (1066 ? Year of Destiny, Osprey, 1979, p.221): "The number of Normans estimated to have come to England is perhaps 10,000 at the most in a country with a population of 1,500,000. As in Normandy 150 years before, the Normans established a small and exclusive warrior aristocracy over the native peasantry and townspeople using the land for their own purposes and gain". Indeed, the Norman army at Hastings was no more than 8,000 strong, and had the rightful King, Harold Godwinsson, paused to mobilise the Great Fyrd of England it would have been swamped, and the usurping Duke William gone down in history by his earlier sobriquet 'the Bastard'. The point made earlier about the sheer physical problems attendant, with pre-industrial technology, upon moving large numbers of people across even narrow seas was demonstrated here. It is graphically illustrated by the fact that, even with ships honed by three centuries of Viking maritime expertise, Wise estimates it required a fleet of 700-800 ships, to transport William's modest army with its 2,000 horses across the Channel. And this fleet was indeed vast by 11th Century standards. The similar sized army of the Norse Harald Hardradi, which landed in Yorkshire earlier that fateful year, dispensed with the horses and got away with 300 warships and 200 auxiliary vessels. These fleets were without doubt among the biggest ever to land in Britain up to that date, after all the other 'waves of invaders', yet they bore under 10,000 men apiece.
Before the Normans came the Vikings, principally Danes. Again, the historico-cultural impact was enormous. After being prevented from conquering the whole of England only by a heroic native resistance, lyrically evoked by G.K. Chesterton in his magnificent Ballad of the White Horse, the invaders planted themselves in the Danelaw of Eastern England, which they ruled as an independent state for decades. In Scotland, they ruled the North-West and the Islands for centuries, and in Ireland founded and ruled most of the cities that land now boasts. Numerous place names in their areas of settlement, large numbers of loan words in English, some as basic as 'egg' and 'sky', and such institutions as trial by jury attest their profound impact on our national phenotype, the outward appearance of our country. But what of their impact on our national genotype, our ancestral pool of heredity?
Firstly, as we have seen, most scholars now accept P.H. Sawyer's argument, first mooted in his 1958 paper "The Density of Danish Settlement in England" (University of Birmingham Historical Journal), that the invading Viking armies numbered hundreds, not thousands. Secondly, as the Laings (op. cit. p. 184) point out "there was land enough for both Anglo-Saxon and Dane in the Danelaw ? there is no evidence for a massacre of the English population, nor of its displacement". What actually happened, explains Magnus Magnusson in The Viking Expansion Westwards (Bodley Head, 1973, p.26) is that "the incomers took over the major Anglo-Saxon towns and villages as a dominant minority, and created many new secondary settlements of their own." He too emphasises that, "there is nothing to suggest that the Anglo-Saxons were exterminated or enslaved or driven away. The two peoples were soon living together in amity", not surprisingly, as racially and culturally they were closely akin ? unlike the ingredients of modern multi-ethnic societies. J. Graham-Campbell and Dafydd Kidd, in The Vikings, published officially by the British Museum in 1980, yet again reinforce the point that the Danes did not replace the native population, which "stayed largely where it was ... In England the Scandinavian takeover of land was complex and not merely brutal appropriation". Indeed, many Vikings seem to have used their loot simply to buy land from the locals quite lawfully. Even in the densest areas of Scandinavian settlement, the incomers seem never to have made up more than a 40% minority of the population. Only from parts of Lincolnshire is there evidence of Norsemen tilling the land themselves, rather than living off the produce of Saxon peasants. Many Vikings of all degrees seem to have taken native brides (helped, apparently, by their custom of bathing more often than the natives!) rather than bringing their womenfolk from the homelands. Much the same seems to have been the case in the other Viking-settled areas of the British Isles.
So whilst folk of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the like may justly take pride in their Viking blood, it is by no means even there, in the heart of the old Danelaw, the preponderant element in their veins. Again, the heredity of an older, native stock predominates, in search of which we must seek still further pastward.
The English Come to England
However superficial the genetic contribution of later waves of incomers, when we reach the Anglo-Saxon incursion, the 'coming of the English to England', it seems beyond doubt, surely, that this time the immigrants must have prevailed utterly, at least in that large part of Britain to which they even gave their name? Spirited native British resistance, which may well have been led by the historical Arthur, King or otherwise, might hold back for a time but could not stem the Saxon tide. A tide which must surely have swept all before it not just in terms of speech, customs, way of life, law and government but also blood and race? Or did it? Are the English really 'Sassenachs', 'Anglo-Saxons' racially distinct from the 'Celts' of the rest of Britain? It is an argument which has buttressed Irish Republicanism and other brands of 'Celtic' separatism down the ages. But is it true?
Well, when we come down to the hard facts of the actual concrete numbers involved in this supposed 'racial transformation' of England a startlingly different picture emerges. Historians now consider that the total number of Anglo-Saxons who came to Britain was "not more than 50-100,000" ? see for example Lloyd and Jennifer Laing Anglo-Saxon England, Paladin, 1982, p.62, or Leslie Alcock, Arthur's Britain: History and Archaeology AD 367-634, Penguin, 1973, p.311. The native Romano-British population of England at the close of the Roman period is universally agreed to have been well over a million, although a series of plagues in the 6th Century may have reduced it somewhat, especially in the cities and towns of the South-East. But even if the native population had been halved by plague and famines ? and not even the Black Death managed to achieve this ? the native Britons still outnumbered their Saxon 'supplanters' by five to one!
Hardly surprisingly, therefore, the evidence shows that the Anglo-Saxons, like the Normans after them, essentially took over as a ruling minority, albeit on a much larger scale.
Unlike the Normans they included a substantial proportion of yeoman farmers as well as warrior lords. But even these farmers seem seldom to have actually displaced the native peasantry. As M. G. Welch found in a detailed study 'Late Romans and Saxons in Sussex', Britannia ii, 1971, p.232, "the areas taken by the new settlers were precisely those left vacant or underused by the Romano-British population." As Dr. Stephen Johnson puts it, summarising a growing body of evidence from all over the Saxon settled area, "there are many indications that the earliest Saxon arrivals settled on the fringes of Roman villa outfield systems, or on marginal land between two neighbourhoods. Whether this means Roman 'control' of Saxon settlement in an organised sense, or whether it means that the Romano-Britons, already in command of the best agricultural land, were not likely to be easily shaken off by a handful of incoming settlers is a matter for debate. It is more likely that the known Saxon villages were placed on marginal land because incoming numbers were relatively few, and that they lived under the tenurial control of the existing landowners. In places they may have established a communal modus vivendi." (Later Roman Britain, Paladin, 1982). Dr. Johnston also points out that there is growing evidence of continuity of parish and estate boundaries from later Roman into Saxon times. This implies a degree of legality about the transfer of land title, or at least of local knowledge, sharply at variance with the popular notion of savage pagan hordes of Saxons looting, burning, raping, killing and seizing the land whilst the native 'Celts' ran for the hills.
Battles there certainly were, as the Saxon war-leaders fought the British rulers for the right to govern the land and live off the produce of, rather than exterminate, its ordinary people. The end result, in one area from which we have clear evidence, North-Eastern England, is summed up by Leslie Alcock, Reader in Archaeology at University College Cardiff, thus: "The conclusion is inescapable that a very small and largely aristocratic Anglian element ruled over a predominantly British population." (Arthur's Britain, op. cit., p.311). The proportions of incomers to natives doubtless varied from area to area. But it is now generally agreed that everywhere the invaders were simply not numerous enough to physically dispossess the natives of the land, even had they wished to thus dispossess themselves of such a useful source of agricultural labour and produce. Over much of England, the natives might henceforth hold the land in bondage. But hold it they did, nonetheless.
Certainly, the invading minority imposed their language utterly on the native majority, as the descendants of both were similarly to do in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. But this was simply because, once the last native resistance had been smashed, it was the tongue of power, prestige, commerce and government from the village level up. The last such native resistance was crushed in England by the mid-7th Century, and from then on anyone who did not wish to brand himself an ignorant bumpkin had to master and use the tongue of the invading minority. Yet even so, our rivers for example mostly kept their old British names ? Trent, Derwent, Ouse, the sundry Avons (from the Celtic word for 'river' - afon in modern Welsh) and the pre-Celtic name Thames. As did the Chilterns, hills in the Home Counties far from the 'Celtic fringe' and the Pennines, the backbone of England. And, furthest of all from that northern and western fringe, the county of Kent, which Caesar in 55 BC found populated by the Cantiaci, and the city of Canterbury, which acquired the Anglo-Saxon suffix byrig ? fortified settlement. British too are the names of towns in the heartland of England such as?? Cannock, in the West Midlands and Liss, Hampshire (from British lisso, in modern Welsh llys, site of the King's court). The invaders themselves bestowed names on places attesting to their continued habitation by the natives. Many of the place-names ncorporating Wal- such as Walton and Walsham derive it from the Saxon word wealh applied to the native Britons. It originally meant 'foreigner' ? in their own country, for that indeed has happened before now ? and later 'serf' ? which may yet happen if we aren't careful! It ended up in modern English as 'Welsh'. There are also Bretton - 'Britons' town', and Cumberworth, from cumbrogi, in modern Welsh Cymry, 'citizens', from Latin cives, the natives' word for Briton. Camberwell in South London may well incorporate both words for Briton. And, of course, many larger towns of the period kept roughly their old names, notably London but also for example Leeds, Portsmouth, Lincoln and York.
Sometimes Saxon words were tacked on to the older name. Very often ceaster, from Latin caster, 'military camp', as in Manchester, Rochester, and Doncaster (incorporating the name of the Celtic fertility Goddess Danu). Mere survival of place names is actually less significant ? North America is similarly littered with aboriginal tags like Mississippi and Chicago which clearly do not reflect an overwhelming Red Indian contribution to the U.S. gene pool. But we don't find any Injunstowns or Redmansvilles or Cheyanntons, as we do Waltons and Brettons, attesting to continuing large-scale native presence. Nor did Red Indian tribal boundaries persist into modern America, as Romano-British parish bounds did here.
The question must, however, surely be settled when, on top of population and place-name evidence, we encounter contemporary documentary evidence, attesting to the presence of substantial numbers of 'Welsh' in 'Anglo-Saxon England'. For example, the law of King Ine of Wessex refer repeatedly to his 'Welsh' subjects. Yet these date from the late 7th Century, when Saxon power was firmly established there. Although legally inferior to the Saxon ruling class, by no means all 'Welshmen' were peasants. A number of 'Welsh' nobles held 'five hides of land', no mean wealth in Ine's Wessex. Indeed some 'Welshmen' of Wessex held royal office and rode abroad upon the King's business.
500 years later, the Wessex 'Welsh' were clearly still identifiably there. When Henry I in the 12th Century issued a law code for the region, it too contained repeated special reference to 'Welsh' inhabitants as a distinct class, if now only as 'Welsh bondsmen', the nobles having presumably merged into the Saxon nobility. Perhaps they still spoke their own language ? as we know the Fenlanders around Cambridge still spoke Celtic in the 11th Century when they aided the English Resistance fighter Hereward the Wake fight another invading foreign immigrant minority (see John Morris, Senior Lecturer in Ancient History, University College London, The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1975). Kent too had its laws for 'Welsh' laet, and as late as the 10th Century York had a legally recognised class of Wallerwenta.
Nor were the Saxon invaders themselves wholly foreign to these shores. The very founder of the Royal House of Wessex, from whom Alfred the Great and subsequent Kings of the English sprang, Cerdic, himself has a 'Welsh' name - Caradoc, the same name as that earlier hero of native Resistance the Romans called Caractacus. Some generations later, his successor as King of Wessex from 685-688 also had a Celtic name, Cadwallon, or Ceadwalla as the Saxon scribes spelled it. Celtic too was the name of his brother, Mul, and grandfather, Cadda. As late as the 8th Century, 200 years after the Saxons came, Wessex still had an Ealdorman Conbran and an Abbot Catwal (Cadwallon, again). In Northumbria, the 'Anglian' bard Caedmon had a 'Welsh' name. In Kent, a royal officer with the Celtic name Dunwald (as in Scots Donald) owned a substantial slice of Canterbury in the 8th Century. In 787 the Kentish ambassador to Mercia bore the Celtic name Maelgwn, Latinised to Malvinus.
Ultimately decisive in answering any such question of the relative contributions of populations to national gene pools is the hard evidence of physical anthropology, even if this is currently unfashionable for wholly unscientific reasons. Skulls and bones, unlike chronicles and their monkish scribes, cannot lie or distort the truth. Here, as ever, we bow to the authority of Dr. John Baker, F.R.S., of Oxford University, (Race, Oxford University Press, 1974, p.266): "Physical anthropologists, relying on evidence provided by the skulls of ancient and modern times, consider that the descendents of Iron Age people of Romano-British times continued to occupy the country during the period of Anglo-Saxon domination, and were so far from being driven away or exterminated that it might almost be said that it was they who eventually absorbed the Anglo-Saxons, while adopting the language of their conquerors." The multiracialist TV pop historian Michael Wood would no doubt shudder to touch such "racist" evidence with a barge-pole. But even he concedes the point thus: "Whoever the Anglo-Saxons thought they were in the seventh century, we may be sure that their racial identity was neither German nor Celtic, but a fusion of the two" (Michael Wood, Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England, BBC Publications, p.80).
The 5th Century 'extermination of the Britons' evaporates on close expert examination, like other, more recent, 'Holocausts'. It too rests on a phantasmagorical foundation of propaganda and self-justifactory hype. In this case the bombastic exaggerations of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the ethnomasochistic rantings of the Ayatolloid Sixth Century British sermoniser Gildas, and the vague speculations of the Anglo-Saxon cleric Bede, writing 300 years later. All of these monkish scribes appear to have been afflicted with an acute overdose of the Old Testament, resulting in their confusing the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in England with that of the Israelites in the Promised Land. The latter's essentially Asiatic practice of genocide, however free their descendants may be in ascribing it to others, is not one which has generally taken root in European soil. Certainly it did not in ours.
So, as with the later arrival of the Danes and Normans, the truth of the 'coming of the English to England' is again not one of conquest by immigration, of the native people being swamped and driven out by foreigners. That is reserved for our own, more enlightened times. Instead it is but the washing of another superficial wave across the surface of a very deep racial water, the gene pool of our people, the wellspring of our nationhood. The 'English' are no more Saxons because they adopted the language of an Anglo-Saxon-speaking conquering minority than the Southern Irish are because they did exactly the same. Indeed, as we shall see the English are ethnically at least as 'Celtic' as the Irish and significantly more so than either the Scots or Welsh! The 'Sassenach' smear is an historically baseless propagandist lie, just like all the other efforts to justify the division and fragmentation of the British nation and people which underlie Irish Republicanism, 'Celtic' separatism and other attempts to Balkanize Britain. The British are, at root, one people, older by far than either Saxon or Celt. Who that people are, we shall shortly seek to discover.
Roman Eagles Over Britannia
First we must deal with the earliest invasion of Britain in historic times, that of the Romans. This involved the largest and most centrally organised single invasion of our islands in all our history prior to the Afro-Asian invasion of modern times. Twenty thousand combat troops of four legions, plus the same number of auxiliaries, landed in Southern England in 43 AD, at the command of the somewhat underrated Emperor Claudius. For four centuries, and for the only time in our Nation's history until we joined the Common Market, much of our land was governed from far outwith our borders, subject to an alien power, its laws, language and culture.
Yet Rome's influence was largely superficial. Culturally, even after 400 years, Roman speech, manners, dress and civilization barely extended beyond the 'Civil Zone' of the Imperial administration of Britain, the area of South Eastern England and the southern half of the Midlands. As Dr. Lloyd Laing, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at Liverpool Unversity puts it in his Celtic Britain (Paladin, 1981, p.141), "Outside the Roman areas, in the North, particularly, the Empire had little effect on the native population. The archaeological material shows no break ? pottery, houses and general way of life were unchanged. Border areas seem to have been affected by Roman doctrine which permeated into the Dark Ages, but apart from the physical barrier of Hadrian's Wall which probably prevented the traditional movement of stock, Celts were still Celts in the North. In areas where the Romans found little politically or economically to exploit (such as Wales or Cornwall) Romanization of everyday life was rare, imports sparse and only the ethos of Rome lived on into the Dark Ages."
The true thinness of the Roman veneer even in the South-Eastern British heartland of Imperial sway can be gauged from the fact that, alone of Rome's provinces, even after four centuries Britain kept her native speech and ancient Celtic tribal organisation, which promptly reappeared on Rome's withdrawal. Not for us, as for Gaul and Hispania, some debased gutter dialect of vulgar squaddies' camp Latin. We came out of the Roman Empire speaking the same Celtic tongue, more or less, as we went in, an ancient tongue which, though rightfully the common heritage of all Britons, still survives in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Indeed, as the fourth Century temple of the Celtic god Noderis at Lydney, Gloucestershire, reveals, our ancestral faith also lasted long before it was stifled by 'the god of the nails, from Rome'. Only in the cities and larger towns of the South did Rome sink any deep cultural roots, and they were the worst afflicted by the plagues of the 6th Century.
If the cultural impact of Rome was superficial, the genetic effect, which as we have seen is generally much less than the cultural one, must have been minimal. As it was. Rome kept, for most of her time here, three legions, around 18,000 men, stationed in Britain. As the years went by, much of these, like the Imperial civil admnistration here, would have been drawn from the native population. However, we do know that some Romans did find their way here. As did a handful of the Syrians, Egyptians and other dross with which the later Empire was busy rotting its gene pool. But in a population estimated as between one and two million, a few thousand aliens would have been simply swallowed up. Britain was sufficiently remote to be spared the mass coloured immigration, Juvenal's "Orontes flowing into the Tiber", which ruined Rome herself.
Culturally, Rome infected Britain with the Middle Eastern cult which battened on to her increasingly Levantine population back home in the fourth Century. But she also gave us a concept of citizenship and nationhood, the idea of 'Britannia' as an identifiable whole worth fighting for, of her people as 'citizens', or 'countrymen' ? cives, later, via Old Welsh cambrogi, Cymry, whence Cymru and Cumbria. A national ideal which inspired a heroic and above all national, not tribal, resistance to the Saxon invader. A British national resistance of which Arthur became a legendary symbol. But genetically, even in England, Rome left barely a mark ? in Wales, Scotland, especially in Ulster and Ireland, not even that. Norman, Viking and Saxon most of us can claim amongst our forebears, albeit they are none of them pre-eminent in our ancestry. But the blood of the Caesars runs thinly, if at all, in our genetic veins.
So Roman and Saxon, like Dane and Norman, make up only a small share of our ancestry. Who makes up the bulk of it? As Baker (op. cit. p.266) says, "the present day population of England and much of Scotland is to a very considerable extent derived from the Celtae and Belgae of the Iron Age". But who were they? And were even they our true forebears? When Julius Caesar reconnoitered Britain for Rome in 55-54 BC, he reported (De Bello Gallico, Book V:12) "The interior part of Britain is inhabited by tribes declared in their own tradition to be indigenous to the island". It is in search of these indigenous peoples, back into the mists before history, to the Celts and beyond, that we shall now quest.
Into the Celtic Twilight
At this point in our long, backward faring through the years toward the dim ancestral wellspring of our people and our nationhood we leave behind the record of written history. Henceforth we shall quest through a prehistoric twilight, lit only by the mute monuments, from hill-forts and barrows to potsherds, spearheads and bones, of peoples who have not left us the words of their tale ? for which we are the poorer. For even the monuments bear witness to ages of a rich and cultured folk in our land. What songs of bards, what deeds of heroes, what fair ladies and epic battles, have thus sunk forever into silence we can never know. But we can at least seek to discern the broad outlines of the picture woven by the tapestry from which these brightest threads have faded.
It is a picture which may simply prefigure that of later ages. One of cultures changing every few centuries as a new ripple of overlords spreads across the lake of our nationhood, to sink submerged after a few generations in the still, basically unchanging depths. Depths reaching still further back, at least to the first farmers in the land, sixty-five centuries ago. Or it may not. We may, in the years just before the Romans came, already have touched the surface of those depths, depths unruffled by significant invasions for millennia before then.
For, when we do look at the archaeological evidence for the period between 4500 BC. and the Roman Invasion of Caesar, we discover in fact very little evidence of even the relatively minor ethnic admixture of historical elite dominance invasions such as the Saxon, Norse and Norman.
As Profesor Renfrew puts it (op. cit.,p.l24) "Professor Graham Clark, in his paper 'The invasion hypothesis in British prehistory', published in 1966, suggested that following the spread of farming to Britain there had perhaps been no more than one significant invasion of Britain before the Roman conquest and even the single exception which he cited, associated with the appearance of Beaker pottery in Britain, would today be discounted by most scholars".
Even the Celts are nowadays seen as indigenous, to England at least. Apart from G. Clark's paper (cited by Renfrew above, Antiquity, 40, pp. 179-89, 1966), as far back as 1964 the Iron Age scholar F.R. Hodson exploded the then prevailing view of the arrival of the Celts in three waves of invasion ("Cultural groupings within the British pre-Roman Iron Age", Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 30, pp.99-110). Those, such as Christopher Hawkes, who once championed the idea that the Celts 'came' to Britain, have now abandoned such ideas in favour of 'cumulative Celticity', whereby first the Hallstatt and then the La Tene art and weapon styles spread to Britain by peer-polity interaction (e.g. his paper 'Cumulative Celticity in pre-Roman Britain', Etudes Celtiques, 13, 2, pp.607-28). Renfrew (op. cit, p.241) speaks of the idea of any "wave of Celtic immigrants to Britain" as having now "been almost universally abandoned".
Celts do seem to have invaded Italy, and it is possible that the Gaels may have invaded Ireland, as their myths suggest, from Celtiberian areas of Northern Spain direct, in an elite dominance style invasion. For the Gaels speak a Q-Celtic tongue distinct from the P-Celtic languages of Britain and much of France. But England, at least, seems to have been part of the Celtic homeland, partaking with much of late Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe in a common cultural movement towards recognizable 'Celticity'. Continuities between Celtic Iron Age Southern Britain and the pre-Celtic Bronze Age there are now so clear that it is evident that one evolved in situ from the other. 'Celtic' field patterns, once regarded as characteristic of these 'invaders' can now be traced back to the earlier Late Bronze Age Deverel-Rimbury culture. That culture itself is, as archaeologists Lloyd and Jennifer Laing (The Origins of Britain, Paladin, 1980, p.224) point out, "a long tradition with native origins in the earlier Bronze Age", and not "the result of the colonization of southern Britain by Continental Urnfielders".
The Laings indeed identify other aspects of clear continuity between the Celts in Britain and what must now be regarded as their British Bronze Age ancestors (op. cit. p.244): "It is possible that not only the seeds of the Iron Age settlement pattern and economy can be traced to late Bronze Age Britain, but the elements of Iron Age religion and tribal organization also. One authority has pointed out that the distribution of certain types of object corresponds closely with that of Iron Age tribes ? one type of socketed axe found in Yorkshire matches in its distribution the territory of the Brigantes, whilst in Wales the land of the Silures coincides with the area in which the south Welsh type of axe is found. What are known as 'late palstaves' are mainly confined to the territory of the Ordovices, while the north Marches lands of the Cornovii coincide with the Bronze Age Broadward tradition. In Cornwall, the Trevisker style of late Bronze Age pottery coincides with that of the Dumnonii".
Indeed, as the Laings point out, modern scholarship has, in a sense, given Stonehenge back to the Celtic druids! "When the religion of the Iron Age Celts is considered carefully, it shows many features that are strangely similar to those of Neolithic and Bronze Age belief, as far as can be reasonably inferred from archaeology. Briefly, survivals were the concept of a ritual circle, the re-use of many earlier ritual sites, the pattern of festivals, the votive pots, the axe symbols. Scholars have long mocked the romantics who still speak of Stonehenge as a druid temple and the re-founded druid order which practices its ceremonials there at midsummer. Yet there is growing evidence that the Celtic religion of the druids stemmed from something much older, something which was a part of prehistoric European beliefs. Between the stone circle builders and the druids there was no major wave of incomers in the British Isles. It could therefore be claimed with some validity that Stonehenge was indeed built by Bronze Age 'druids'." (ibid. p.209).
Iron Age technology itself seems to have been imported, like the Chinese bicycle, rather than being brought as used to be thought by (yet another) wave of invaders. As Professor J.V.S. Megaw and D.D.A. Simpson put it in their classic textbook Introduction to British Prehistory (Leicester University Press, 1979, p.412): "the idea of a new population at the beginning of the Iron Age bringing knowledge of hillforts and characteristic pottery and settlements, as well as iron technology, is now hard to maintain ... it is now becoming clear that much of what was traditionally regarded as Iron Age was in fact already current in the late Bronze Age, especially in the case of pottery and settlements. In fact the only innovations that can clearly be assigned to the onset of the Iron Age are the widespread change from bronze to iron for many purposes, and metal objects of Hallstatt C type ... It is difficult to find any evidence that conclusively suggests the arrival of a new population at the beginning of the Iron Age."
Megaw and Simpson, whose text reflects the contributions of five other leading authorities beside themselves, may be regarded in many ways as reflecting the modern generally accepted view in the field. They repeatedly criticise "the earlier vogue amongst archaeologists to ascribe all major changes in British prehistory to 'invasion' or wholesale settlement" (ibid., p.243). Indeed, they provide a comprehensive and detailed account of our prehistory from which few believers in the outdated Invasion Hypothesis are likely to emerge with their preconceptions intact. The weight of evidence that 'Britain for the British' prevailed for thousands of years of our prehistory has even pushed its way into the output of the multiracialist TV pop historian Michael Wood. He summarises several millennia thus: (In Search of the Dark Ages, BBC Books, 1987 ed. p. 15): "The first people in Britain were nomadic hunters, food gatherers, who were followed in about 3500 BC" (the currently accepted date is a thousand years earlier, but as we'll see it's the thought that counts!) "by settlers who first cultivated land and raised crops. These people were of Celtic stock and spoke a Celtic language, the distant ancestor of today's Welsh, Cornish and Breton".
This is not to suggest that for over forty centuries nary an outlander planted settled foot on British soil. In the absence of Customs and Immigration, or indeed the sort of unitary state which establishes such invaluable departments of government, a few odd bands evidently trickled in here and there. If Caesar is to be believed, at least the ruling houses of several South-Eastern English Celtic tribes came from the cross-channel Belgae in the decades before 50 BC. And the Parisi of parts of Yorkshire may have some affinity with the tribe of the same name in Gaul. Over two millennia earlier, there is a measure of evidence from physical anthropology that parts of England were ruled by an aristocratic minority whose skulls were brachycephalic ('round-headed'), unlike the characteriscally dolichocephalic ('long-headed') natives. These prehistoric 'Roundheads' tended to be buried in round barrows, rather than the older long barrows ? leading the Victorian archaeologist Thurnam in 1871 to coin the phrase "long skulls: long barrows; round skulls: round barrows". This phenomenon has tended to be associated with the Bell Beaker culture. However, the existence of an ethnically distinct 'Beaker people' is now widely questioned. For example in 1977 the British archaeologist Stephen Shennan suggested that the Bell Beaker grave goods assemblage represented not a people but an idea which had spread by peer-polity interaction across Britain and Europe. He suggested that the characteristic Beaker grave assemblages were ?status kits" ? rather like a modern monarch's crown, orb and sceptre ? which spread as a fashion, perhaps conferring prestige, among the "top people" in Europe of that day.
Also the anthropological evidence is by no means conclusive ? round barrows do in fact sometimes contain long heads and vice versa. In any case, it is increasingly clear that barrows contain such a small and unrepresentative sample of the population that the skulls in them can tell us little about the ethnic composition of the general population in the areas at the time. As Megaw and Simpson put it, referring to round barrows (op cit, p.117) "we may therefore infer even more conclusively than in the case of the earthen long barrows that only certain privileged members of the community were deposited in these tombs".
In general, however, modern archaeology discounts immigration as a significant factor in British prehistory for the whole 45 centuries between the beginning of the Neolithic farming period and the invasion of the Roman Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. Extensive trade in goods, ideas, technology, culture, fashions and religion there certainly was between Britain and the Continent, from a surprisingly early date and to a remarkably substantial degree. Our Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age ancestors were far from the 'ignorant, benighted woad-smeared savages isolated in primeval forest' of popular superstition. The powerful and highly organised Bronze Age Wessex culture, for example, traded as far as Mycenaean Greece and Pharoah's Egypt. And radiocarbon dating has shown that before ever the Pyramids were built Britain and Western Europe were building advanced megalithic structures incorporating complex astronomical calculations. The picture emerging is that much of England, at least, formed part of a cultural province with other areas of Western Europe in which a shared culture and lifestyle was evolving towards what by around 700 BC would be recognisably 'Celtic'. In which case, modern Englishmen are the direct descendants of the builders of Silbury Hill and Stonehenge, via a thousand years of being Celts. As we shall see, the 'Celtic heritage' of Ireland and Scotland, even Wales, is somewhat more tenuous ? ironically in view of the propaganda of their 'Celtic' separatists.
Beyond the Celtic Fringe: Prehistoric Ireland and Scotland
So far we have largely concentrated on the story of England and Wales, mainly because it is that part of our islands that the 'nation of Immigrants' myth centres. Out in the 'Celtic fringe', it is conceded, rude aborigines may linger on to a greater extent, although Scotland had her own Norman Conquest, albeit more by infiltration and betrayal of the folk by their rulers than by direct military invasion. This sordid sellout took place after the last rightful 'Celtic' King, MacBeth Mac Findlaech, was overthrown by Malcolm Canmore, under Malcolm's sons, notably David I. And Ireland, under Strongbow and his ilk, had her Norman Conquest too. Both Scotland and Ireland suffered Viking incursions. In Scotland, the Norsemen ruled Caithness, Sutherland and the Western Isles for centuries. In Ireland they founded Dublin, Limerick, Waterford and indeed most of the island's major seaports. In both lands, however, these conquests were variations on the 'elite dominance' theme we have already found in England and Wales. The invaders, again, were a small fraction of the native population; a native population in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands little troubled by either Saxon or Roman, a native population generally assumed simply to be 'Celts'.
But in fact, when the curtain of history lifts on those parts of our islands, the population found there is by no means homogeneously Celtic, in language at least. Over much of Scotland and Ireland, were to be found peoples quite distinct in culture and language from those further south. In Scotland's case this was true as late as the ninth Cenury AD. These distinct peoples were variously known to contemporary authors as 'Picts', Cruthin' 'Cruithne', 'Attacotti', and ? probably their own name for themselves ? 'Pretani'.?? In? fact,? Cruthin/Cruithne is simply the Q-Celtic form of Pretani or Prydyn, just as pen (head) in P-Celtic Welsh is ceann in Q-Celtic Gaelic. The best evidence for the language of these people comes from the Pictish inscriptions in the Ogham alphabet. The leading living authority on this subject, K.H. Jackson, writes ('The Pictish Language' in F.T. Wainwright (ed.) The Problem of the Picts, Edinburgh, Nelson, 1955, pp. 129-66): "The inscriptions of which some certainly, probably all, date from the late-Pictish period, appear to be written in a quite unknown language, not Celtic and evidently not Indo-European at all, though they contain some Celtic names and two Gaelic loan words". He concludes "There were at least two languages current in northern Scotland before the coming of the Irish Gaels in the fifth Century. One of them was a Gallo-Brittonic dialect not identical with the British spoken south of the Antonine Wall, although related to it. The other was not Celtic at all, nor apparently even Indo-European, but was presumably the speech of some very early set of inhabitants of Scotland".
Matters are further confused by the fact that the 'Irish Gaels' mentioned by Jackson, who invaded Scotland in the fifth Century AD were neither Irish nor Gaelic but Cruthinic Pretani, kinsmen of the Picts from Ulster. Though Gaelicised in language and culture in centuries of war with the Gaelic-ruled lands to their South and West, they arrived in Scotland fleeing the Gaelic conquest of Ulster by the Ui Niall warlords of Eire. The story of the Cruthinic Pretani of Ulster is ably expounded by Ulster historian Ian Adamson in The Cruthin: A History of the Ulster Land and People (Pretani Press, Belfast, 1974, 3rd ed. 1986).
It is, incidentally, unclear whether all the Picts were pre-Indo-European speakers or whether some spoke British, the indigenous Celtic language of Southern Britain, which survives as Welsh. 'Pict' itself is a Roman term dating back to the third century AD. The Attacotti, one group amongst them, certainly did speak a pre-Indo-European language. 'Attacotti' is a British word, meaning 'very old people' or 'aborigines'. See John Morris, The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1975, p. 190. Into historical times the Picts preserved a system of inheritance through the mother rather than the father wholly alien to Indo-European cultural tradition.
In Ireland, the Pretani seem to have been conquered by the Gaels. Their Gaelic language owes more to the Celtic dialects of Iberia than those of Western Europe and their own tradition places their ancestors in Northern Spain. In 50 BC the geographer Diodorus Siculus, drawing on the lost 23rd Book of the History of Posidonius (135-51 BC), writes of the Pretani as inhabiting 'Ierne' (Ireland). He also, incidentally, says that Britain "is inhabited by tribes which are autochthonous and preserve in their ways of living the ancient manner of life." 200 years later the geographer Ptolemy gives a list of tribes in the British Isles. Some of these are recognisably British (i.e. P-Celtic), including some in Ireland. Some of them are unlike any Indo-European, let alone Celtic, word. But none of them, as even the noted Irish linguist T.F. O'Rahilly admits, are at all Irish Gaelic, and that includes the tribes listed as living in Ireland. However, according to Irish tradition, supported by other Roman evidence, the Gaels, supposedly the 'Sons of Mil' (but Mil simply means 'soldier'), had already conquered much of the island by the first Century AD. Except for Ulster, where the Cruithne/Pretani, ruled by a Gaelic-speaking aristocracy, the Ulaid, held out from their capital at Emain Macha (Navan Fort, near Armagh). Indeed, the last embers of their independence were not snuffed out by the Gael until the Battle of Moira, Co. Down,in AD 637.
Irish sources claim that in around AD 85 the natives, the Aitheach Tuatha ('subject peoples') rose up and overthrew the Gaelic invader, whose leaders fled to Roman Britain. We know that in AD 81 the Emperor Domitian's legate there, Agricola, entertained an exiled Irish prince fleeing "seditione domestica", domestic insurrection. Thirty years later, one of these Gaelic exiles, Tuathal Techtmar, returned with a 'great army' and reconquered the island. Morris (op. cit. p. 151-2) suggests plausibly that he was in Roman pay and his purpose was to install a Roman client king in Ireland. This picture of the 'Gael' as invading oppressors and lackeys of foreign imperialism crushing Ireland's native Pretani, whose name is the root of the word 'Britain' and which could therefore be translated as British, whilst historically verifiable, will sound strange to those used to the propaganda of modern Gaelic Irish Republicanism!
But then such modern Irish Republican propaganda would sound equally strange to the historical Cuchulainn, if, as is probably so of Arthur, there was indeed once a living man at the heart of the legend. For he spent his life as the warrior champion of a people who called themselves British defending them from an invasion by the foreign Gael. Yet twenty or so centuries later he has ended up as a hero of those claiming descent from the same Gael in their fight against the British! With his statue, indeed, in the GPO in the capital of a state which owes its claim to existence to a supposed defence of the non-existent 'indigenous Gaelic identity of Ireland' against the 'invading Brits'! Cuchulainn, Champion of Ulster, died fighting against the very united Ireland whose supporters today so glibly invoke his name. He gave his life, ironically, fighting to keep a 'British Ulster' free of Southern Irish rule.
But in fact the whole Celtic separatist case is similarly muddled. As the great physical anthropologist Professor Carleton Coon once pointed out it is ironic that the peoples of Wales, Scotland and Ireland - the least Celtic ethnically of all the peoples of Britain - should most stridently champion a Celtic identity they singularly lack. Or indeed seek to preserve Celtic languages which their forefathers would have bitterly resented as the tongue of the alien invader! (See Baker, op. cit. p.269.)
The Celtic separatist muddle is nicely exemplified by the fact that the surnames of the leaders of today's IRA, Adams and Morrison, and that of Irish separatist SDLP leader John Hume, betray descent from 17th Century Scots Planters rather than Gaelic Irishmen. These Planters themselves were not alien immigrants but the descendants of Ulster's Cruthin/Pretani returning after a thousand years to their ancient homeland. The Gael in Ulster, meanwhile, were most clearly represented, ironically, by the former Unionist Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, the late Captain Terence O'Neill, a direct descendant of the Gaelic Ui Niall conquerors of 5th Century British Ulster! However, the said 'Irish nationalists' can take comfort in the fact that their Ulster Planter stock shows they have at least some of the blood of the true native people of Ireland in their veins! Although, to be fair, most modern Irishmen are descended predominantly from the despised Aitheach Tuatha, kinsmen of the first folk to call themselves British. In fact, these 'subject peoples' may well have called themselves Pretani too. but outside Ulster they had been ground beneath the heel of the conquering Gael too long before written records begin for us ever to know. That Gaelic foreign invader was evidently a small, ethnically insignificant minority, like his counterpart in the historic invasions of Great Britain. Most of the ancestry of today's Irish people, like that of the Ulster folk, the Highland Scots and the native Welsh, goes back long before Celt and Gael to the oldest peoples we know of in our islands, the Pretani and their kin. Who those first folk themselves were, and what their relationship was to the other peoples of our islands, is a question which brings us to the end of our quest for the roots of our nation.
Who we are ? The Roots of the British
Thus far we have looked back sixty-five centuries into our homeland's past. In all that time, as we have seen, the basic ethnic element in our people has remained the same. Only its surface has been ruffled by the ripples of each small invading elite, adding much of their culture but little of their blood to our national identity. Of this we may be sure. Norman, Dane, Saxon, Roman, the invaders who brought Celtic culture if it was brought and did not develop here itself, 'Beaker People' ? if they ever existed ? all are minor additions to our ancestry. Every true Briton is descended, through over a hundred generations, from the first farmers in our land, almost two thousand years before the Pyramids. For six and a half thousand years we may be certain our people have held this land. No 'nation of Immigrants' we!
But who were those first farmers. Where did they come from? Were, they at last a genuine wave of immigrants? Or natives? Or a mixture of both? We cannot be certain. But we can map the probabilities.
These first farmers in Britain can first be identified in Ulster, at Ballynagilly, Co. Tyrone, with a radiocarbon date around 4580BC. It is tempting to correlate their arrival with two other events which may have occurred around the same time. Namely the arrival of a language or languages belonging to the Indo-European family on these shores. And of a population more characteristically Nordic racially. A population differing in such other genetic features as blood-group distribution and incidence of spina bifida and anencephalus (see Adamson op. cit. p.107), from the more 'Mediterranid' people of our islands. Mediterranids who live, suggestively, in areas linked historically with non-, and hence presumably pre-, Indo-European language and culture, such as the Scottish Highlands and parts of Ulster, Ireland and Wales. It is tempting, therefore, to suggest that the first farmers were a wave of Indo-European speaking, ethnically Nordic, immigrants. Also their superior way of feeding people in vastly greater numbers from a given area of land enabled a 'demographic wave of advance', swamping the Mediterranid Mesolithic native hunter-gatherers across much of Britain, as their descendants six thousand years later were to swamp the culturally similar Red Indians in North America. Swamped in a flood of farmers. A flood, let it be clear, sprung from quite a small number of original Nordic farming immigrants. In, effectively, virgin farming land their numbers would rapidly increase, whilst the thinly scattered native hunter-gatherers' population, already at the limit their way of life would support, remained static. Over most of the islands, the natives would simply be swamped. Probably they would simply have been swallowed up by assimilation into the farming people, so all the British people would have some of the ancient hunters' blood in their veins. Only in the far North and West would the aborigines have had time to learn the new farming way of life, and thereby bring their own population up to a level where it would not be thus swamped. So only in those remoter areas does the older Mediterranid Mesolithic hunter-gatherer blood predominate.
This is the model Professor Colin Renfrew of Cambridge and his followers would have us follow, at least in part. They argue that the Indo-European dispersal in Europe is considerably older than the date of 2500 BC, once accepted. Modern archaeology would support them thus far. Professor Renfrew also argues, in his challenging study Archaeology and Language: the Puzzle of Indo-European Origins (1987, cited above) that, whilst they may have entered India as mounted cattle-herders from Southern Russia, the Indo-Europeans did not start there, as the rival school of Professor Marija Gimbutas has long claimed. Instead Renfrew argues that this Southern Russian Kurgan Culture from which the Aryan invaders of Persia and India came, shows a pastoral lifestyle which must have originated in the farming cultures farther west in Europe. Not, as was thought, the other way round.
Renfrew cites the Cavalli-Sforza/Ammermann demographic wave of advance model, which certainly worked in recent historical times when the Europeans came to North America. On this model Renfrew suggests that the Indo-European-speakers flooded across Europe as the Whites flooded across North America because they were the first farmers in the area. Therefore their lifestyle could support fifty times as many people on the same area of land as the native Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, whom they simply swamped.
Renfrew suggests that exceptionally some Mesolithic peoples did learn the new ways before they were submerged, so their numbers too increased and their peoples survived. This, Renfrew suggests, is what happened to the Basques in Spain, whose language is pre-Indo-European to this day. It also happened, he suggests, to pre-Indo-European-speaking peoples who survived into historic times, such as the Etruscans in Italy and the Picts/Pretani/Cruithin/Attacotti in the British Isles.
Renfrew follows mainstream scholarship thereafter in arguing that after the great Indo-European farming flood from 6000-4500 BC the racial composition of Europe and Britain remained largely stable. Indeed, Professor Renfrew echoes most modern scholars in the field when he states that most people in most Western European nations, our own included, are basically descended from the inhabitants of the same lands 6500 years ago,? however much ruling elites and the languages and laws they impose may have ebbed and flowed in the meantime.
So far so good. But, before swallowing Renfrew whole, there is one major objection. For Renfrew's argument continues thus: since the Indo-Europeans and the first farmers across much of Europe were the same people, the Indo-Europeans must have originated where farming did. From the biological origins of domesticated plants and animals in Europe, we know that farming in this part of the world originated ? or at least most of its domestic animals and plants did ? in Anatolia in what is now Central Turkey. So, Renfrew argues, the Indo-Europeans started in Anatolia, and most Europeans are therefore of Asian descent.
The objection of course, is that the most elementary consideration of physical anthropology reveals that they are not. The Nordic peoples of Northern and Western Europe, and their Cro-Magnid ancestors, clearly evolved more or less where they are now. The fossil and archaeological record shows this, and biology would predict it. For the fair skin, and consequent fair hair and light eyes, of the Nordic is an adaptation, as much as the Black skin of the Negro, to climate. In this case to a cloudy climate, in which the sunlight the body needs to make the vital vitamin D is scarce and so the skin must be as light as possible to absorb all the ultraviolet solar rays it can ? a cloudy climate singularly absent from the Eastern Mediterranean, then as now.
Also a relatively harsh climate which engendered by harsher selection pressure the higher average intelligence and sterner moral fibre, as well as generally higher capacity to form close bonds of caring and comradeship, characteristic of the Nordic type down the ages. Northern Europe forged this frankly superior type of man, not Western Asia. And indeed the historical evidence is that, from Greece to India, the arrival of Indo-European speakers is marked by the arrival of indentifiably Nordic racial types, the xanthoi, the golden-haired ones, as the Greeks called their ancestors.
Moreover, the first farmers in Europe were neither Nordic nor Indo-European-speaking. They were the 'Old European' culture of the Balkans, which may have been ancestral to the Minoan culture of Crete, and which flourished between 6500 and 3500 BC. They were Mediterranean ethnically and they left inscriptions which cannot be deciphered precisely because they are not Indo-European and hence are unrelated to any known language. As is the language of the older Cretan Linear A script, unlike the proto-Greek of the later Linear B. 'Old Europe' had walled towns of over 1,000 people ? one near Kiev in the Ukraine boasted 20,000 ? and an organised at least proto-literate society. As such it would have been a formidable obstacle to Indo-Europeans trying to get round, over or through it from Turkey en route to Northern Europe! In fact, Nordic Indo-European speakers did enter Old Europe, but from the opposite direction and with fatal consequences: they appear to have overrun and destroyed it.
The fact that Western and Northern Europeans visibly are not descended from Western Asians blows a gaping racial hole in Renfrew's otherwise well-argued case. It is the inevitable outcome of its author's basically cowardly attempt to pretend that the science of physical anthropology does not exist, in the hope presumably that it will go away and nobody will call him a "Nazi". As doubtless they will not. But neither will they accept his theory of the origins of the Indo-European languages. Unless, of course, they care to join him in his rather ludicrous impersonation of an intellectual ostrich.
However, we can leave Professor Renfrew trembling under his bed and salvage much of worth from his thinking. It is not unreasonable that Nordic proto-Indo-European-speakers learned farming techniques from the first European Neolithic farming culture, Old Europe. They may have bordered the Old European area on the North or North-West, as Gustav Kossinna suggested early this century, or the North-East as Gimbutas would today argue. But certainly they came from Europe. Wherever their homeland was, once they had learned farming techniques the Indo-Europeans could indeed have ridden the demographic curve of rising population and territorial expansion on from there, as Renfrew suggests.
The Old Europeans may not have similarly expanded earlier because their society appears to have been stratified and fairly static. Its people would consequently have been too specialised into different mutually interdependent areas of labour to move outward easily. If you are a peasant who depends on trading your surplus crop for urban cloth and pottery you are much less free to light out homesteading over the horizon than if you are the head of a self-sufficient clan of yeomen who produce most of their own needs. If you are actually a serf, forbidden to move, you may not get the choice. It would be rude, and would frighten Professor Renfrew, to suggest that the Nordic proto-Indo-Europeans might also have had more genetically-endowed "get-up-and-go" about them than the Mediterranid Old Europeans! So the proto-Indo-European speakers could have been the first farmers in most of Europe, flooding across the Continent thanks to the superior population density that confers, as Renfrew suggests. As well as being ethnically Nordic Europeans, not Mediterranid Asiatics, as the ethnic composition of Europe then and now dictates.
It may well be, then, that about 4500 BC. the only sucessful major immigration before the 20th Century brought Nordic proto-Indo-European speaking farmers to England. The native Meditterranid Mesolithic Maglemosian people may have numbered only 10,000 in Britain all told: see Lloyd and Jennifer Laing, op. cit. p.91. By the time these natives had picked up the new farming skills they had already been swamped in the southern half of Britain. But in the North and West their population was able to rise sufficiently to hold its own. So that for four thousand years more their speech and ways of life lingered on, until swamped by an invading Celtic elite.
As in America, the agriculturalist invaders, even though swamping the native hunters, picked up many of their place names. The word 'Thames' ? originally 'Thamesis', is pre-Indo-European. So is the word 'Britain' which presumably came from the pre-Indo-European Cruthinic Pretani, or Prydyn as they may have called themselves in their own ancient tongue. A tongue going back at least beyond the Neolithic, beyond 4500 BC. And who knows how many hundreds or thousands of years back beyond that? The very name of our land, like its people, is more ancient by far than most of them know, more ancient than any history. Indeed, the word 'Britain', the name of our country, may well have its origins further back in the deeps of Time than the present-day name of almost any land on Earth. It is a word which may for all we know first have been heard, in an ancestral but recognisable form, beneath the ramparts of the Great Ice, over twelve thousand years ago. Another way in which we British are unique and special. Another source for pride in our folk and nationhood.
But in fact even in England this picture of Nordic Indo-European-speakers bringing farming to a land of Mediterranid hunter-gatherers whom they swamped appears on archaeological evidence to be somewhat oversimplified. It is by no means even certain that the Mesolithic population was Mediterranid ethnically. In a tiny population of small bands wandering a vast, thinly peopled land, essentially random factors such as 'genetic drift' could have caused 'Mediterranid' traits such as dark hair and small build to become fixed in groups within an otherwise Nordic population. This would tend especially to happen in remote and isolated areas, notably the far North and West of our islands, where small hunter/gatherer tribes might easily live for centuries or longer in virtual reproductive isolation, interbreeding little with anyone else. Be that as it may, it appears that all over Britain, not just in the far North and West, there was some visible contribution from the native Mesolithic culture and people to the Neolithic. As Megaw and Simpson put it (op. cit. p. 127) "Current opinion does in fact suggest a dual (i.e. both native and immigrant) origin for the earliest Neolithic groups in the British Isles". The Laings (op. cit. p.96) go further: "The gradual transition from herding and crop-gathering to farming was not an enormous one for the Mesolithic inhabitants of Britain, though it was lasting. It was a natural step forwards and was not necessarily enforced by waves of Neolithic immigrants as was once thought".
The coming of the first farmers was the only time before our own when the British people could have been swamped by Immigrants. It is the only point in history until our own times when Immigrants could have made up a significant proportion of our gene pool. But it is by no means certain that this did happen. The first of the 'elite dominance' superficial ripples on the surface of our folk could instead have imposed Indo-European language and culture on a predominantly native population. An Indo-European conquering minority could instead have reached our shores to find them peopled by former Mesolithic hunter/gatherers who had already learned farming by contact with Continental traders and thereby multiplied their numbers fiftyfold. In any case, subsequent interbreeding of the peoples of our island ensures that all of us have at least a proportion of the blood of the First Britons, the Mesolithic hunters, in our veins.
For those hunters were indeed the First Britons, descended from the Palaeolithic hunters, bearers of the Aurignacean culture. They first walked here when musk-ox and reindeer grazed where now the Channel flows, and the world-wall of the Great Ice marched a mile high across the English Midlands, over a hundred centuries ago. They, our ancestors, carved the superb engraving of a horse's head on a rib bone found at Robin Hood's Cave, Creswell, in Derbyshire: the first dawning of a British culture which has flowed in unbroken stream ever since. The Mesolithic, represented at Star Carr, Yorkshire, flowed in a gradual transition from the Palaeolithic as the land warmed and Arctic tundra gave way to pine and eventually temperate forest, a "continuous process of adaptation to changing environmental conditions" as Megaw and Simpson (op. cit. p.47) put it. By the 7th millennium BC, when our land had become an island, a British identity had already emerged. As Megaw and Simpson point out (op. cit. p.63) "it is certainly not possible to identify any of the British later Mesolithic industries very closely to any particular Continental background". For eighty centuries, we have been an identifiable separate entity, a nation. A nation from which, not 'waves of immigrants' we are sprung.
The Tale of our People in our Land
Our history - the tale of our people in our land - is long, complicated and at times confusing. But these are the basic points everyone should remember - for they are the key to who we are. And to what we must now do...
They were called Pretani or, in Gaelic, Cruthin, from the former of which Britain probably gets her name. In Ireland, they were conquered by an Immigrant minority, the Gaels, from the Celtiberian culture of Spain. The Cruthin of Ulster long kept their freedom, and, even when Gaelicised in speech, moved in large numbers to Scotland to avoid rule by the Gaelic Ui Niall kings of Southern Ireland. That in turn brought the Gaelic language to Scotland, where it replced the native "Pictish" Cruthinic tongues. Today the "Celtic" peoples are indistinguishable from the English ethnically, save for higher incidences of dark-haired Mediterranid type genes amongst them, which are certainly of pre-Celtic origin. Of course, today most 'Celts' have much English blood and most English much 'Celtic' blood, in terms of their ancestry. We are one people. One nation - The British.
? We are not a "nation of Immigrants". We are a nation of natives, each true-born Briton rooted in the land for thousands and thousands of years. This has always been our land. We must never let anyone take it away from us!
? The current massive influx of millions of? Coloured Immigrants is something wholly new in our long national story. Which it threatens to bring to an untimely end. There are far more Immigrants, and they are vastly more different from the native population, than has ever been before. That's why they could do what no earlier invader could, and overthrow not just our government or even our speech and culture but our basic identity, ourselves as a people in our own land.
That's why we as Britons owe it to over two hundred generations of our forebears, as much native Britons as we are, to resist this unheard-of alien invasion with all our power, with heart and soul. The survival of a nation that was old in this land before Pharoah planned the first Pyramid depends on what you do, now. Your people, our people, held this our one and only home, our Motherland, for thousands of years. Do not let them down. Guard the land, Keep Britain British!
A Word to the Wise
Throughout this booklet, we have talked somewhat loosely about the "origin", "descent", "blood", "roots" etc. of the British people. This is because this book is aimed at the ordinary, lay reader among whom such words are the currency of discussion. However, it would be well to make clear in more precise, scientific terms what exactly is being said. The basis thesis of this book reflecting the findings of modern scholarship, is that the British people today are primarily descended not from waves of historically recent immigrants but from a population which bad reached these shores at the latest by 6500 years ago. Scientifically, this means that the bulk of the gene pool of the indigenous British population are derived by successive replication of DNA strands modified by the background mutation rate, from the genes present in the gene pool of the population of these islands in approximately 4500 BC. This gene pool itself is derived partly from that of the earlier Mesolithic population, descended from the first humans to enter Britain after it became again human-habitable in the later part of the Devensian glacial, about 14,000 years ago, and partly from the people who brought knowledge of farming to these shores about 4500 BC. It is as yet not clear what the relative contributions of these two populations is to the gene pool of the native British population since then.
The indigenous British population, defined - somewhat arbitrarily - as those persons whose ancestry for at least the past 100 years has not included any persons known themselves to be of non-British ancestry, may be regarded scientifically as a partially panmictic Mendelian population at the level of a largely reproductively isolated deme, as defined for example in Theodosius Dobzhansky, Genetics of the Evolutionary Process, Columbia University Press, 1970, p.310. In other words, it is a population whose members interbreed with each other, but not entirely randomly, whilst tending much less frequently to interbreed with non-members. Panmixis - random interbreeding - is highest, especially unti recent times, among people of the same social class living in the same area, tailing off probably fairly continuously witr geographical distance, with a sharp discontinuous drop at the borders of the Britsh Isles, where geography has historically and prehistorically imposed a large degree of reproductive isolation. The proportion of the gene pool of that indigenous British population today which is derived by successive DNA strand replications from, and is therefore a copy, blurred slightly by continuous random mutation, of the gene pool of the British population six and a half thousand years ago has yet to be precisely quantified, in so far as that is possible. But it is now clear that that proportion must be the majority of the present indigenous British population gene pool, probably between sixty and eighty percent. This, in rigorous scientific terms, is what we mean when we say that the British are not a "nation of Immigrants". Moreover, the remaining percentage of "imported" genes are themselves derived from closely genetically related North-West European populations, containing a range of alleles little different from the indigenous one.
That is the picture for the population as a whole. However, because panmixis has been notably incomplete geographically across the population for most of this period - in other words people tended to interbreed more with people who lived near them than with people from remoter parts of these islands, and because those invading Immigrant elements tended to be concentrated in certain areas and not others, the proportion of indigenous and immigrant contributions to local gene pools varies from place to place across the country. For example, the gene pool of indigenous Yorkshire people (again defined arbitrarily as people all - or almost all - of whose ancestors over the last century were themselves of as far as is known Yorkshire origin) will'have a higher percentage of genes copied by successive DNA replications from those of Scandinavian populations in the ninth and tenth Centuries than the corresponding pool of, say, Hereford people. Some local populations may indeed derive most of their gene pools from Norse or Saxon or Norman Immigrants. The latter could possibly be the source of much if not most of the gene pool of the longer-established and more inbred peerage, for example. But that is not so for the British population as a whole. On the other hand, the phenotypically expressed gene frequencies for height and complexion and hair colour indicate a higher contribution of genes derived from very ancient Mesolithic populations in the gene pools of some populations from the far North and West of Britain.
However, such local gene pools are in any case much less isolated from one another, and hence represent far less well-defined Mendelian populations, than the pool of the British people as a whole. The populations of say, Yorkshire and Lancashire, England and Scotland, interbreed with each other, especially near mutual borders, far more than the population of Britain as a whole ever has with that of France, say, or Holland.
Therefore it is clear that, in speaking of the genetic identity of the people of the British Isles, the population as a whole is clearly a valid Mendelian population, and it is entirely meaningful to discuss the origins of the genes currently comprising that population's gene pool as we have done. And to conclude tha most of that origin lies in the population present in the same area about 6500 years ago. Of course, the frequencies of the alleles relative to each other may well have changed due to selection pressure and other effects, and new alleles may have arisen since then by mutation. Nonetheless, in strict, biologically rigorous terms it is true to say that the gene pool of today's indigenous British people has, for the most part, been handed down in millions of cell divisions over hundreds of generations from the gene pool of their fifth millennium BC ancestors. Part of it is older in Britain by a factor of two or more than that. Referring to such a population as being made up predominantly of Immigrants, by which is meant people arriving in the past sixty-five centuries, is simply scientifically - factually -untrue.
A Nation Once Again
Is Britain one nation? Or are England, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland separate nations, united in the case of the first four and part of the fifth in an artificial multinational state? This is a complex question, hinging on what nations actually are. A full discussion of that question, important as it is, lies outside the purview of this booklet.
However, it is indisputable that, to a very large extent, nations exist if, and only if, most of their people believe them to exist. An important component of that belief is the "national myth". The people's conception, true, false or a bit of both, of who they are, where they come from, and how they are related to other peoples inside or outside the borders of what they conceive to be their nation. For "Celtic separatists", who describe themselves as Scottish, Welsh, Irish or Cornish Nationalists, an important part of that national myth is the idea that they are "Celts", separate from and older in the land than the "Anglo-Saxon" English.
True as this may to some degree be today culturally, ethnically, as we have seen, this idea is simply historically wholly untrue. The Scots, Welsh and Irish, with the exception of the peoples of parts of the south of both Scotland and Wales, are not and never were Celts. In the sense of being people, ordescendents primarily of people, among whom the Celtic culture was a native outgrowth of their Bronze and Iron Age historical development. That may well indeed be the case in England (and the southern parts of Scotland and Wales which at the time were culturally, as their peoples probably also then felt themselves to be, part of "England"). But Celtic culture was certainly imposed in late prehistoric times on most of Scotland and Wales, and all of Ireland, from outside by force. Just as the English-speaking culture was imposed on the Celticised culture of Scotland, Wales and Ireland in historic times.
The ancestors of today's Scots, Welsh and Irish Nationalists would then have rejected "Celticisation" as angrily as their modern descendants now reject "Anglicisation". The ancestors of today's English, in contrast, would have recognised in today's Welsh language and culture, at least, something recognisably akin to their own Celtic Iron Age culture. A Celtic culture upon which a conquering Anglo-Saxon minority imposed their language and culture 1500 years ago. The ordinary English people after this happened no more became? "Anglo-Saxons" than did the Irish when the same thing happened to them. The Gaelic culture imposed on Ireland, and later Scotland, appears to have been wholly alien to these islands, originating in the Celtiberian culture of Northern Spain in the mid-first-millennium BC. Again it was imposed by a conquering minority.
The only ethnic division there has been in the peoples of these islands is that between the larger, fairer Nordic element and a slighter, darker Mediterranid-looking element. As we shall see in our next chapter, this may represent two originally separate peoples, 6500 yeas ago. Or it may not. As we have seen, at the start of historic times there was a division between the Celtic culture of England and southern Scotland and Wales and a pre-Indo-European culture in Northern Scotland, the Welsh mountains, and Ulster. Areas where to this day the proportion of Mediterranid-like genes reflected in the population, not just in appearance but in for example blood-group distribution, is higher. Although it must be stressed that the peoples of these areas do not today, and did not even two or three thousand years ago, constitute an ethnically separate unit.
All Britons today have some genes from the darker, slighter, possibly older population element and some from the fairer taller one: the proportions simply vary in different parts of the country. The Picts, culturally certainly descended from the Mesolithic natives of Britain, although having a higher proportion probably of small, dark people than the Britons of the day, were still mostly taller and fairer than is popularly thought. In any case, this division, blurred as it is, does not and never did echo the division between England and Scotland and Wales, for example. Most Scots and many Welsh would share a lower proportion of Mediterranid genes with the English. Those communities with a high proportion of Mediteranid, presumably pre-Indo-European genes are a minority in today's "Celtic fringe". Moreoever "Celt" and "Saxon" are now genetically inextricably mixed: who amongst today's Britons has only one of English, Scots Welsh and Irish in their own family tree?
Nonetheless, however they originally acquired them, the peoples of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall are right to be proud of the Celtic language and culture they have preserved. In the case of the Welsh and Cornish, preserved on behalf of the English, whose language the ancestor of Welsh originally was. Indeed the English should be proud of the Anglo-Saxon and Norse languages and cultures which make up a bigger part of their cultural than their ethnic heritage. That multi-cultural society, deep rooted in our islands, and sprung from one race, is a unique heritage of the British people in which we should take pride. As opposed to the alien "multiculturalism"of the modern multiracialists. Indeed, the remaining British children in our inner cities would benefit from a "multicultural education" which taught them something of the Welsh and Old English Anglo-Saxon languages and cultures of their ancestors, rather than the Urdu and Gujarati of alien peoples forced upon them. For our cultural heritage is part of what we are.
So whatever the situation culturally, "Celtic separatism" and the Balkanisation of the British Isles cannot be justified on ethnic grounds. Ethnically, at root, the British are one people.
Lords of the Rings
Across our land the stones stand silent witness down the centuries. Stonehenge, Durringon Walls, the Rings of Stenness and Brodgar and Castlerigg, Avebury. From Southern England to the Orkneys, from Wessex to the West of Ireland stand the stone circles. And other great monuments raised long ago: Newgrange in the Boyne Valley of Ireland, Maes Howe on Orkney, Silbury Hill in Wiltshire. Over 900 stone circles are known in the British Isles, and many more have been destroyed over the centuries. When were they raised? Why? and by whom?
The great stone monuments that cover the British Isles are very ancient. The oldest have been dated by radiocarbon techniques to before 4000 BC. The great passage graves such as Maes Howe on Orkney and Newgrange in Ireland were built a little later - Maes Howe around 3800 BC and Newgrange around 3200. Around 3100 the first structures were built at Stonehenge. The Pyramids were still hundreds of years in the future, as was the first of the Pharaohs and the rise of Sumer and Ur. Some time between 2900 and 2500 BC over 18 million man-hours of labour, the work of 500 men over 15 years, was devoted to raising the largest man-made mound in Europe, the 125-foot-high Silbury Hill in Wiltshire. The main Stonehenge structure was raised around 2150 BC. All these mighty works wrought in our land when the Greeks and Romans were savages, among the oldest works of Man anywhere in the World. Ancient indeed is our heritage.
As to their purpose, we can perhaps never fully know. Some, such as Stonehenge and the older Maes Howe and Newgrange "passage graves" are aligned with mathematical precision to enable the dates of the summer or winter solstices to be determined precisely. At Newgrange, only on the morning of the winter solstice does the rising sun shine, through a special roof box "window", down the passage to the chamber at its end. A chamber in which it is an eerie and moving experience to stand, reflecting that since it was built all of recorded history has taken place, every human being whose name we know has been born, and lived, and died, as have entire nations and civilizations, outside that place of silence deep within the mounded earth. A chamber, like that of Maes Howe, skillfully wrought by master masons out of carefully corbelled stone, wrought to stand as they have for thousands of years. How many of today's buildings will stand so long? Outside stands a stone carved with a triple spiral, whose significance we no longer know but which recalls the ancient tryfoss. A symbol occurring down the millennia from Ancient Greece to the modern insignia of the Isle of Man. It seems likely that, like Westminster Abbey, these "passage graves" were only secondarily burial sites. Their primary purpose, even more so in the case of Stonehenge, presumably both place of worship and - vital to an agricultural people - means of accurately fixing the calendar and hence timing ploughing and seed-time. In many places these ancient structures occur near to each other. Sometimes, as in the thirty or so satellites around Newgrange, they seem to obey a central plan of some sort, forming what Cambridge archaeology lecturer Dr. Catherine Hills in her classic Blood of the British (Channel 4 Books, 1986, p.69) terms "a ritual landscape". In the end, we must admit a mystery. We do not know why they were built, save that those who built them were clearly wise in the lore which enabled them to build astronomically aligned structures with such precision
Who built them? That we can answer with some confidence. As Dr. Hills points out "Outside the British Isles there are very few stone circles, so that must be one idea we thought of for ourselves" (ibid, p.64) Even so long ago - sixty centuries in the past - our land was home to a separate nation with its own common culture, separate from that of the Continent. It was also a very long-lived, stable culture. As Dr. Hills remarks "All these monuments, tombs and circles and perhaps the causewayed camps and henges as well, could be seen as part of one long evolving tradition, from before 4000 BC when the first tombs were build, to around 1100 BC, when it was still worthwhile for people to extend the avenue of stones which leads to, or from, Stonehenge" (ibid. p.65) By which time Stonehenge was already two thousand years old. As Dr Hill concludes "The important thing is that there does seem to have been, to some extent, both continuity of use and in attitudes to ritual and its place in society and the landscape, which lasted for thousands of years" (ibid, p.69). All of which points to the same people dwelling continuously in the land, as indeed does the rest of the archaeological evidence. Since we know that since then those people have not been displaced, we can conclude that they are here still. They are us. Our ancestors, our fellow Britons long ago, built Stonehenge and Newgrange and Maes Howe, and raised the Stones to stand at Brodgar.
We may take pride in their works; few if any nations on the face of the Earth can boast a heritage so old, the visible sign of our roots in the land, thousands of years deep. We are their heirs. Let us be worthy of them. Let us remain as they were, one with the land, our land. Then and forever.