LETTER: History gave us great ethnicity

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Aethelred Ronaldson has a fine Anglo-Saxon name of which he must be proud, but that does not give him the right to distort history.

The Angles and Saxons were themselves immigrants, who took advantage of the fact that the Romans abandoned Britain in the early fifth century to invade Britain and push the indigenous Britons westwards.

The Anglo-Saxons themselves were forced to share great swathes of territory with the Danes from the 9th to the early 11th centuries. Seizing territory was considered normal in the Early Middle Ages.

Once Edward the Confessor died without an heir, it was only natural for others to consider a takeover.

One must admire Harold for his skill in fighting off the Norwegians under Harald Hardrada – it was just tough on him that the Norman attack followed on so closely.

Of course, one can easily understand that the Anglo-Saxons wanted one of their own to run the country, rather than a foreign duke, whatever vague claims the foreigner might have, based on alleged oaths and promises.

But surely it is time to give up whinging that ‘we, the people of England’ were enslaved by the Normans.

True, the takeover was brutal, but from the perspective of history the Normans were just one more wave of immigrants, to be followed by Huguenots, Jews, Irish, West Indians, Asians, etc, down the centuries.

It is this patchwork of ethnicity that has made the British such an interesting and effective bunch.

Not least among the benefits of the Norman Conquest is the English language as it eventually evolved. At least 30 of the words in Mr Ronaldson’s short letter are of French origin, and he would have found it difficult to manage without them.

Robin Gray

Rock Lane


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