Bassingthwaighte Village Bassenthwaite Village Name Plate

The Middle Ages
From Bassingthwaighte by Gerald Brodie Bassingthwaighte (December 1977)

After the exodus of the Romans, the Britons, living among the hills of Cumbria, probably had a more peaceful and happier time than those living in the lowlands, who were constantly being harrassed by the Angles from Northumbria. In the 9th and 10th centuries, however, first the Danes penetrated into the dales, and then, taking the sea route by the North of Scotland, there followed one horde after another of the ferocious Vikings. This influx of the Northmen had a great bearing on the future history of the Lake country, because they came, and unlike the Romans, stayed to people it. A number of words in local use to-day, and many place names owe their origin to them, as for example, Bassenthwaite (once Bastingthwaite) which is almost certainly derived from the name of the first Norse family who cleared a piece of the wooded land and settled here. (Thwaite is the old Norse word for a clearing in the forest.) Then not only did they bring themselves and their language, but they also brought, without any reasonable doubt, their hardy breed of northern sheep, the ancestors of the little Herdwicks we see trapesing about Skiddaw and the fells to-day.

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