Letter: History lesson

It sets my birse up when people who know nothing of history except the phrase "Anglo-Norman" use it as if it were a club that could demolish all opposition.

Will John McTernan (Comment, 23 November) please try to understand that by the time of the Declaration of Arbroath, even the English nobility had nothing "Norman" about them; to apply the phrase "Anglo-Norman" to the Scottish nobility is simply wrong.

I suspect the mighty shadow of Sir Walter Scott lies behind this absurdity. Even those who have never read Ivanhoe have a conception of a Saxon-versus-Norman dichotomy formed by that wonderful novel. Yet all historians agree that Scott's presentation is fundamentally mistaken: the gulf between the Cedrics and the De Bracys of actual history was based on social status, not on any notion of ethnic or territorial origin.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Scott was writing of a period a century before the Declaration of Arbroath; and of England, where the relationships between the classes was unlike that of Scotland. A garbled misinterpretation of events of the 14th century does not strengthen a garbled misinterpretation of events of the 21st.

Derrick McClure

Rosehill Terrace