The First Inhabitants of Britain
By Mary Anne Yarde
Who were the first inhabitants of Britain...?
Today we are going to look at Albion, and the best way to do that is through storytelling. So come with me, if you will, and travel back in time for a few minutes...
The City of Troy has been sacked. The once glorious kingdom is on fire, and those who survived the massacre now find themselves in bondage. Their fate? They are to be taken to Greece and sold at the slave markets.
|The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy by Domenico Tiepolo (1773).
Time takes care of everything, and as the years rolled by, people died, children were born, and they began to forget their Trojan heritage.
They all forgot. All bar one…
Some things cannot be swept away and forgotten. Brutus felt his Trojan heritage running through his veins. He was not content to spend the rest of his days a slave. He reminded his comrades who they were. Brutus encouraged rebellion against their Greek masters. The rebellion was a success and the Trojans, determined to keep hold of their freedom, ran away.
Brutus was granted an audience with the goddess Diana, and she told Brutus…
“Brutus! there lies beyond the Gallic bounds
An island which the western sea surrounds,
By giants once possessed, now few remain
To bar thy entrance, or obstruct thy reign.
To reach that happy shore thy sails employ
Their fate decrees to raise a second Troy
And found an empire in thy royal line,
Which time shall ne’er destroy, nor bounds confine…”
Geoffrey of Monmouth
The History Of The Kings of Britain
Brutus had led his fellow countryman to freedom, and because of that, these men would follow wherever Brutus led.
They crossed the sea and looked upon the mighty white cliffs of a country known as Albion. And they knew, deep down in their hearts, that this island was destined to be theirs.
“The island was then called Albion, and inhabited by none but a few giants. Notwithstanding this, the pleasant situation of the places, the plenty of rivers abounding with fish, and the engaging prospect of its woods, made Brutus and his company very desirous to fix their habitation in it…”
All they had to do was rid the island of the Giants. Something easier said than done. But these Trojans had rediscovered the warrior blood that ran in the veins. They were not going to be defeated by a few Giants. The Trojans rounded up the Giants and herded them to Cornwall. The Giants had nowhere left to run. It was time to fight if they wanted to keep their kingdom. The largest and most fearsome of giants was Gogmagog, and he had had enough. He was so angry with these Trojan invaders that he stamped his feet until the rocks shattered and turned to tin.
There was a Trojan’s general, who was a brave and fierce warrior. Gogmagog did not scare him. It was decided that Corineus and Gogmagog would fight in single combat. Whoever won, kept the kingdom.
Gogmagog and Corineus battled it out all day. Gogmagog had the advantage of height and strength, but Corineus was quick, and he picked up that giant and flung him over the edge of a cliff. Gogmagog was dashed “into a thousand fragments.”
|Combat between Brutus's troops and the giants led by Gogmagog.
As a reward, Brutus gifted Cornwall to Corineus. The Trojans divided the rest of the island up amongst themselves… Brutus named their newly conquered kingdom after himself. He called it Britain. And the rest, as they say, is history.
You may be wondering where the name “Albion” came from in the first place. You may not, but I am going to tell you anyway...!
It is said that a great Greek King married his thirty daughters into noble houses, but the princesses did not want to be married. Their husbands would not rule them. So, they plotted against them. The youngest sister did not want to be a part of this uprising, so she betrayed them. The sisters were punished. They were confined to a rudderless ship and set adrift. Three days later they found themselves in England. Albina was the first sister to set foot on English soil, so she named the country after herself. She called it Albion.
|Albina and other daughters of Diodicias.
Two giants of Albion are in the background, encountered by a ship carrying Brutus and his men.
Unfortunately for Albina and her sisters, there were no men on Albion, and after a time, the women became lonely. Whether they were tricked, we will never know, but these women lay with Incubus — demons that take on the forms of man. The sisters birthed a race of giants. And they would have lived happily ever after if the Trojans hadn’t landed on their shores! Monty Python famously said, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition," But then, no one expects the Trojan army either!
Mary Anne Yarde
Mary Anne Yarde is the multi award-winning author of the International Bestselling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Britain and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.
Mary Anne is the founder of The Coffee Pot Book Club. She has been a professional reader since 2016 and in this time Mary Anne has reviewed many books for the big and small publishing houses, as well as books penned by her fellow indie authors. Mary Anne is also an editorial reviewer for The Coffee Pot Book Club. Mary Anne has been a judge for a prestigious Historical Fiction Book Award for the last three years, as well as being a Top Reviewer on Netgalley.
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.