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The Battle of Brunanburh: The Yorkshire Hypothesis

Cavill, Paul

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Paul Cavill


Disputes about where the battle of Brunanburh in 937 was fought continue, but in recent years one particular area, Yorkshire, has been proposed by Michael Wood. This article re-examines some of the strategic detail underlying assumptions about York as the goal of the invading forces and the Humber as their place of arrival and departure. It is demonstrated that lines of Castleford’s Chronicle suggested by Wood to refer to the Brunanburh campaign refer to Athelstan’s expedition of 934. The lack of interest of northern sources in the battle suggests that it was not fought in the north-east. The paper then analyses the evidence proposed to support the identifications of Burghwallis as Brunanburh and Went Hill as We(o)ndun and demonstrates that these identifications are implausible. It is concluded that the “Yorkshire context” of the battle argued for by Wood is not supported by the evidence he deploys.


Cavill, P. (2023). The Battle of Brunanburh: The Yorkshire Hypothesis. English Studies, 104(1), 19-38.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 29, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 13, 2022
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 14, 2022
Journal English Studies
Print ISSN 0013-838X
Electronic ISSN 1744-4217
Publisher Informa UK Limited
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 104
Issue 1
Pages 19-38
Public URL
Publisher URL


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