Copyright © 2007 Jud Evans. Permission granted to distribute in any medium, commercial
or non - commercial, provided author attribution and this copyright notice remains intact


Copyright © 1999 Jud Evans. Permission granted to distribute in any medium, commercial
or non -commercial, provided author attribution and copyright notices remain intact.

Jud Evans

As a Lancastrian, I'm having a great time time digging up my old Brigantian ancestors. (metaphorically speaking, of course!) My tale is part of British history, and when I say British I mean British. This story deals with a period long before that alien German tribe the English set foot in our fair and pleasant landóGod bless their cotton Saxon socks! Perhaps you'd like to hear about my tribe, or rather confederation of tribes?

Let me tell you of our Quisling Queen, (Shining Pony), granddaughter of King Bellnorix. She traitorously deceived us by making a pact of non-aggression with the Romans as they advanced North.

History knows her as Cartimandua. Our land of Brigantia and the Brythonic cause was cruelly undermined by this she-adder. This treacherous vixen delivered over to our Roman enemies our great British war-leader, Caractacus, in chains. She not only betrayed our country and our tribal council, but her husband too - our mighty Prince Venutius, preferring, instead, the smelly, moth-eaten couch of his servant and shield-bearer, that sly wolf-cur Volocatus.

It was she and she alone who manipulated the events that led to the defeat of our nation and the ignominy of Roman vassalage. Cursed by the Chief Druid, I, too, add my own vehement curse on the life of this female Judas! May the holy goddess Briganta cause their false lips to turn black and hang from their faces in a seething offal of foul wriggling maggots!

At the time of Julius Caesarís second invasion of Britain in 54 B.C., the leaders of all the British kingdoms had elected the renowned Cassivellaunus, Caractacusís great grandfather, as their generalissimo. 97 years later, it was he, Caractacus, who was the British supremo. It was he, our brave leader, who was handed over to the Roman centurions by our royal witch!

>Exactly which bits of me are Brigantian and which have their origins in other Brythonic and Gaelic gene-banks I'm not quite sure.

Maybe it's my nose or perhaps my brown eyes that give away my Brigantian heritage? Judging by the shape of my skull, and the colour of my skin, the dark-skinned henge-makers, the Beaker Folk, who crept around the coast from Spain, are alive and well and living in my double-helix! Just how much of me came across the land bridge, which then existed with continental Europe, I'll never know. These drifts of population brought genes of very early British ancestry, which have survived to this day, especially among the mountains and moorlands of my homeland.

The genealogists among us will know that if all the ancestors of any one of us had been separate living people, then each one of us would be represented by 32,768 persons only 15 generations ago, say about the time of the first Elizabethan age. If we went back to the time of the Norman Conquest, it would be by this number squared, or well over one-thousand-million persons. The first figure is considerably greater than the total population of many an area, within which territorial intermarriage usually occurred in former times, while the second figure is greater than that of the population of the whole world in the 11th century. The fact is that the threads of descent intertwine in a complex fashion and the same helical thread has wound itself round repeatedly into our physical inheritance.

If we step back further down the wrong-way-round telescopic corridors of the generations, we would find that we're all Persians, all Chinese, all Indians or Jews. It thus happens that, in any rate in rural areas like where I live in Lancashire, and particularly in the moorlands and uplands of the Lake District, the same gene must have often appeared several times in the ancestry of an individual. it's quite likely that similar genes will have been inherited from both sides of a person's ancestry. In this way, a particular item of physical inheritance, or a bundle of physical characteristics, may come down in whole or in parts along myriad ancestral lines and thus be re-strengthened, in spite of hybridization with other persons carrying different features. So maybe my nose is genuinely Brigantian? Perhaps my son Connorís dimple is a gift from the Beaker folk?

Alas, the time came when the last brave Brigantian fell to the thrust of a Roman broadsword at the last redoubt at the battle of Stanwick.

Our boarís-head standard and the hopes of freedom for the Brigantian nation from the Roman yoke were trampled into the steaming, blood-soaked mud of the fighting-ground. While her kinsmen perished, the vixen Cartimandua fled to the newly-built fort of Chester, under Roman protection. As her husband, the great and valiant Venutius went down in a welter of jabbing broadswords, the she-wolf and her lover languished in the heated, perfumed waters of a Roman hypercaustómay they both rot in hell!

I have often wondered why Hollywood has never taken up the dramatic story of our renegade Queen, for the story contains all the elements which are thought essential for a filmic blockbuster. Power, sex, betrayal, historical authenticity and, above all, plenty of action. She vies in sensational scandal with Cleopatra herself! Furthermore, a great expenditure on false-location-shots wouldn't be necessary, for the actual backdrops to the drama are little changed from when these epoch-making events of heroism and infamy took place. Maybe it's time I wrote her story at greater length?

Often I have stood on the crest of the site of the Ingleborough hill-fort with R.G Collingwood's wonderful, Roman Britain (1923) in hand, gazing over the panorama of gently rolling hills and sudden grey escarpments. The fort was known to the Romans as the Kings fort. It is thought to have been a base for Venutius after his divorce from

Archaeologists have discovered that the fort was used all year, which was unusual for such a location, but at the time the climate was much milder. The countryside can be little different from when her false eyes last looked down and watched the departing back of her unsuspecting husband, who accompanied by his life-guards, was off once more for an inspection of a distant garrison. Our land was the largest tribal territory in Britain. Our meandering unguarded borders stretched from the banks of the great River Mersey in the west, to the flat bogs of the eastern shores of the North Sea. No painted Ordovice or posturing shaven Cornovii brave would dare place an unauthorised foot on the hallowed soil of the Brigantian motherland and live to tell the tale! We did allow a lesser tribeóthe Parisiióa small enclave in the southeastern corner of our territory, but only because their King had sworn allegiance to our Queen. Our vast territory stretched up to the land of the fierce Pictish warriors. Lesser tribes stood in fear of our Great Shining Pony.

The strange parallels to the North American Indian tribal structures and socio-political groupings have often struck me.

They too, were victims of invasion by a technically superior force. Internal power-struggles and inter-tribal jealousies also weakened their united defence against outside invaders.

The account of the Brigantian defeat can be read in Tacitus. No British schoolchild is taught about our hero Venutius. Boudicca from the south and her two daughters, yes, but nobody has heard of our northern Quisling Queen and her horse-trader consort. Perhaps it's just as well. Perhaps the shame of our defeat and the agony of our betrayal are best left undisturbed under the hard-baked earth of Stanwick with our glorious dead.

But wait! What do I see on yonder darkling hill? Three
dauntless tribesmen silhouetted against the violet sky.

Behold that fearsome object held aloft?
A shaken wizened scarecrow in the sky!
No! - Hold! Hold fast! Impatient braves.
My rheumy eyes can almost not descry.

Aye, warrior phantoms, now hear my cry,
Spy a boarís-head standard held on high.
Prince Venutius is arisen! Come let's fly!
If Briganta wills, perchance it's time to die!

Jud Evans