John Denton, the 16thcentury family historian of Cumberland, starts his Accompt of this territory of interest, to us, with this Beuth, a character who sounds somewhat larger than life.
Some sources suggest Bueth was a Saxon, others a mixed-race Norwegian/Gaelic warrior. So, without any basis, my imagination of Bueth conjures up something like this:
John Denton identified Beuth as the laird of this borderland territory at the time of the Norman Conquest. Bueth is a Gaelic term that means yellow-haired. Some sources suggest he was born in France, another that he arrived via Ireland, but many more suggest his parents were Sims and Ada. Certainly he died in what became Gilsland, Cumberland (or Northumberland).
Bueth had apparently re-tasked a Roman fortified-station along the Picts’ Wall. It was beside the River Eden and called Petriana (originally Uxelodunum). The Roman fort had changed its name to honour a cohort (the Ala Petriana) stationed there. Its men were given Roman citizenship for proven valour in battle and it is estimated that 1,000 men constituted its garrison.
At one stage this was the largest Roman fort along the wall. It overlooked the point where a Roman road, the ‘Maiden Way’, crossed Hadrian’s Wall. It became Bueth’s main stronghold and he called it Castlesteads, also known as Camboglanna meaning bent valley or crooked bank. It no longer exists and is said to have been sited where the village of Stanwix sits today, reputedly beneath its St Michael’s Church. It is also said that the materials at Castlesteads were re-used in the late 13thcentury to build the nearby Naworth Castle (more later).
Bueth is also said to have built the castle at Bewcastle, named after him – Bueth-castle. Bueth took over another Roman outpost of Hadrian’s Wall here and used material from the wall to create this stronghold which overlooked Kirk Beck, protecting one route south into England.
|Note on shorthand acronyms being used in the DFB:|
– GGF1 / GGM1 – means first great-grandfather /mother;
– GU11 / GA11 – means eleventh great-uncle / great-aunt;
– 1C3 – means first cousin three times removed