Angles and Scots

In the 4th and 5th centuries AD Europe saw the large scale movement of barbarian peoples, such as Vandals, Goths and Huns, which contributed to the collapse of the Roman Empire. In Roman Britain the withdrawal of the military government in c.AD410 led to the fragmentation of society and the emergence of a series of petty kingdoms. Beyond the Empire’s northern frontier on Hadrian’s Wall society had traditionally consisted of separate kingdoms, and it was pressure, particularly from the Picts (from beyond the Forth), apparently in league with migrant Scots (from lreland) and Anglo-Saxons (from Denmark and Germany), which accelerated the collapse of Roman Britain and saw the establishment of new dynasties.
In the 5th and 6th centuries AD the British population of Southern Scotland came under increasing pressure from Gaelic-speaking Scots of Dalriada (Argyll) in the west and from English-speaking Angles of Deira and Bernicia (Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland) in the south. Advances by these neighbours were resisted, notably by warriors of the Gododdin (Votadini) who followed the former Roman road Dere Street from Din Eiddyn (Edinburgh) to their defeat at Catraeth (Catterick). Place names suggest that in the Borders the uplands of the west remained British, probably part of the kingdom of Strathclyde, and the arable lowlands of the east became part of Anglian Northumbria.
Although other peoples were to influence the history and population of the Borders, by the end of the 7th century the main ethnic changes had taken place, the landscape had been largely opened up, and the basis of medieval and later rural settlement had been established.