STRATHCLYDE, the name given in the gth and loth centuries to the British (Welsh) kingdom, which from the 7th century onwards was probably confined to the basin of the Clyde, together with the adjacent coast districts, Ayrshire, etc., on the west of Scotland. Its capital was Dumbarton (fortress of the Britons), then known as Alclyde. On the south this kingdom bordered on the territories of the Niduari Picts of Galloway, including the modern counties of Wigtown and Kirkcudbright, a region which from the middle of the 7th century seems to have been in the possession of the Northumbrians. Strathclyde is also sometimes called Cumbria, or Cumberland, and the survival of the latter name on the English side of the border preserves the memory of 'a period when the territories of the northern Welsh were of much greater extent, though it is perhaps not certain that the race possessed political unity at that time. Of the origin of the kingdom of the North Britons we have no information, but there seems little reason to doubt that they were the dominant people in southern Scotland before the Roman invasion.
After the withdrawal of the Romans in the 5th century the northern Britons seem to have shown greater determination in maintaining their independence than any of the southern kingdoms and, according to Welsh tradition, Cunedda, the ancestor of the kings of Gwynedd, had himself come from the north. In the Historia brittonum we read of several princes of the northern Britons. The chief of these appear to have been Urien, who is said to have fought against the Northumbrian king Theodoric, and Rhydderch Hen who is mentioned also in Adamnan's Life of S. Columba. Rhydderch Hen appears to havesecured the supremacy amongst these Welsh princes after the great battle of Ardderyd fought about the year 573, to which frequent reference is made in early Welsh poetry. His death seems to have taken place in 603. A late authority states that he was succeeded by his son Constantine, but the subsequent kings were descended from another branch of the same family.
Such notices as we have of the history of Strathclyde in the 7th and 8th centuries are preserved only in the chronicles of the surrounding nations and even these supply us with little more than an incomplete record of wars with the neighbouring Scots, Picts and Northumbrians. It is probable that the Britons were allied with the Scots when Aidan, the king of the latter, invaded Northumbria in A.D. 597. In 642, however, we find the two Celtic peoples at war with one another, for in that year the Britons under their king Owen defeated and slew the Scottish king Domnall Breac. In the same year they came into conflict with the Northumbrian king Oswio. In 649 there appears to have been a battle between the Britons and the Picts, but about this time the former must have become subject to the Northumbrian kingdom. They recovered their independence, however, after the defeat of Ecgfrith by the Picts in 685. In 711 and again in 717 we hear of further wars between the Britons and the Scots of Dalriada, the former being defeated in both years. Towards the middle of the 8th century Strathclyde was again threatened by an alliance between the Northumbrians and Picts, and in 750 the Northumbrian king Eadberht wrested from them a considerable part of their territories in the west including Kyle in Ayrshire. In 756 the North Britons are said to have been forced into submission and from this time onwards we hear very little of their history, though occasional references to the deaths of their kings show that the kingdom still continued to exist.
In 870 Dumbarton was attacked and destroyed after four months' siege by the Scandinavian king Ivarr, and for some time after this the country was exposed to ravages by the Norsemen. It is believed that the native dynasty came to an end early in the 1cth century and that the subsequent kings belonged to a branch of the Scottish royal family. At the end of the reign of Edward the Elder (925) the Britons of Strathclyde submitted to that king together with all the other princes of the north.
In the reign of his successor AEthelstan, however, they joined with the Scots and Norwegians in attempts to overthrow the English supremacy, attempts which were ended by their defeat at the battle of Brunanburh in 937. In 945-46 Strathclyde was ravaged by King Edmund and given over to the Scottish king Malcolm I. The fall of the kingdom was only temporary, for we hear of a defeat of the Scottish king Cuilean by the Britons in 971. In the 11th century Strathclyde appears to have been finally incorporated in the Scottish kingdom, and the last time we hear of one of its kings is at the battle of Carham in 1018 when the British king Owen fought in alliance with Malcolm II. The following is a list of kings whose names are mentioned in the chronicles :
Rhydderch Hen d. 603 Constantine son of Rhydderch (?)
ludruis (?) d. 633 Owain (Eugein) d. 642 Gwraid (Gureit) d. 658 Dyfnwal (Domhnall), son of Owain .... d. 694 Beli, son of Elphin . d. 722 Tewdwr (Teudubr), son of Beli .... d. 750 Dyfnwal (Dannagual), son of Tewdwr . d. 760 Cynan, son of Ruadrach . . . . . . . d. 816 Artgha d. 872 Run, son of Artgha d. before 878 (?)
Dyfnwal (Donevaldus) d. 908 Dyfnwal (Donevaldus) , son of Ede (Aedh) Owain d. 934 Dyfnwal (Domhnall), son of Eoghain (on pilgrimage) d. 975 Malcolm, son of Dyfnwal d. 997 Owain (Eugenius) 1018 See Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, edited by W. F. Skene (Edinburgh, 1867); W. F. Skene, Celtic Scotland (Edinburgh, 1876) ; and Sir John Rhys, Celtic Britain (London, 1904).
(F. G. M. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)