Arbeia/Tinamutha (?)

I’ve got myself into a bit of a muddle, a plot hole involving time and geography: I need to get a warband from Galloway to Bebbanburg lickety-split. If they were only a few people, I’d put them on a boat to Solway Firth, then send them galloping along the Roman road to Arbeia-that-was, then taking ship up the coast to Bebbanburg. It looks good on paper, but I simply don’t know enough about wind and tide and current, etc., to know if it makes sense. (Or how long it would take.) Also, for plot reasons, I need a small group to get diverted south, down the east coast, and end up in Streanæshealh.

Let me add that this is around 623, and it’s Edwin’s band, out on its usual summer ramble: looking threatening, picking up the usual tribute. (I imagine a big, very well-equipped band which prefers to offer overwhelming superiority in order to get the booty without fighting. But they’re perfectly happy to fight if necessary. It’s just that few groups at this time would be willing or able to even think of matching them, so they’d smile in public, chew their mustaches in private, and dig up the hoard.)

But then Edwin finds out something scary and has to hot-foot to Bebbanburg to protect it. (I’m on very thin ground here, historically. I read once, somewhere, that one of the Irish annals mentions Bebbanburg being beseiged by Fiachnae mac Baetain as a result of his on-going dispute with Edwin over Vannin/Mann — but I haven’t been able to remember where I read that, or which annals. All I’ve found is a very vague reference in Wikipedia.)

And then when I started thinking of Arbeia/Tinamutha, I remembered Osric. Given that Oswine was supposedly born there, it might be reasonable to suppose that Osric was living there at this time. But what would his relationship with Edwin have been? Would he be living quietly under the radar? Would he be part of Edwin’s warband? Would he be a kind of coastal Ealdorman?

I’m feeling muddled. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

4 thoughts on “Arbeia/Tinamutha (?)

  1. Why not look at the modern hiking trail “St Oswald’s Way” that goes from Heavenfield (near Hexham) to Bamburgh? As I think I mentioned in a previous post, I think Osric was probably holding the Deiran border against those nasty Bernicians up north. But, I feel uneasy about the association of Oswine with Arbeia. What is its source? Could it be a guess based on the claim that his body was found at Tynemouth? I don’t know why Osric and Edwin wouldn’t have been on good terms, they were first cousins. He should have been a high ranking ealdorman.

  2. I’d never heard of St Oswald’s Way but I’ll definitely check it out. It might be just the thing. Thank you.As for Arbeia, I’m going on Ian Wood’s article, “Bede’s Jarrow,” in <>A Place to Believe In<> ed. Lees and Overing (Penn State Press, 2006) where, following some antiquarian I’ve never heard of, called John Leland, Wood suggests Arbeia/Urfa was a high-status Anglo-Saxon site and a place where a ‘king might have been born’. (Leland states it was Oswine, but I sense a certain lack of credence…) So given Tynemouth is where Oswine is buried it just made sense.I have no rationale whatsoever to offer regarding my hesitation over Osric’s status during Edwin’s reign except a vague itch in my back brain. No one in power seemed to like or trust anyone, especially relatives, during Edwin’s tenure. I just want to see where the notion might take me. (It wouldn’t be the first time I had to delete many thousands of words. Sigh.)Now I’m off to look up St Oswald’s Way.

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