‘There wasn’t even really a place called Scotland.’

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch was at Windsor Castle this morning to receive the Honour of Knighthood for services to Scholarship.
(Newscom TagID: ptsphotoshot750272) [Photo via Newscom]
BBC Complaint: Radio 4: The Invention of Britain: Like Quicksand for the Uninitiated

The complaints website is down but I’ll submit this later.

06:26 in, Dermot McCulloch, referring to England existing in the 10th or 11th Century says:

‘There wasn’t even really a place called Scotland.’

This is inaccurate:

This culminated in the rise of Cínaed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin) as “king of the Picts” in the 840s (traditionally dated to 843),[3] which brought to power the House of Alpin.[4] When he died as king of the combined kingdom in 900 one of his successors,Domnall II (Donald II), was the first man to be called rí Alban (King of Alba).[5] The term Scotia would increasingly be used to describe the heartland of these kings, north of the River Forth, and eventually the entire area controlled by its kings would be referred to as Scotland.[6]


  1. B. Webster, Medieval Scotland: the Making of an Identity(St. Martin’s Press, 1997), ISBN0333567617, p. 15.
  2. B. Yorke, The Conversion of Britain: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain c.600–800(Pearson Education, 2006), ISBN 0582772923, p. 54.
  3. A. O. Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, A.D. 500 to 1286(General Books LLC, 2010), vol. i, ISBN1152215728, p. 395.
  4. Webster, Medieval Scotland, p. 22.


Why was McCulloch, a non-historian, allowed to make such an error? Why was this statement not checked? Perhaps York and Anderson are too recent for him to be expected to have read? He has previous on Anglocentric views of history. His ridiculous BBC documentary on the Battle of Britain ignored the Clydebank Blitz. I complained about it and he was indignant in the manner of a pompous bishop.






10 thoughts on “‘There wasn’t even really a place called Scotland.’

  1. Tormod July 11, 2019 / 9:58 am

    Mr MacCulloch can go and take a flying fuck to himself.
    An ignorant man spouting lies in the guise of ‘knowledge’!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Bugger le Panda July 11, 2019 / 10:11 am

    That is how you get honoured.

    Conform to the Company code of thinking.

    Twas ever thus in the land of post I
    mperial largesse

    Liked by 3 people

  3. gavin July 11, 2019 / 12:43 pm

    10th, 11th century England was a warring hodge-podge of Germanic peoples (Angles, Saxons ,Jutes) fighting Danes, Vikings, Celts and Norwegians for hegemony over the land which would become England.
    Its arguable that England wasn’t really settled as a national entity until the Franco-Norse Normans conquered the country in 1066, imposing their language and customs on the people. and even then King William (descended from Vikings) had to fight against Edgar Aetheling and his supporters in the north of England. This led to the “Harrying of the North”, a late 11th century campaign described as genocide.

    Edgar Aetheling and others, fled to a “non existent” Scotland and the court of, presumably fictitious, King Malcolm III.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Ludo Thierry July 11, 2019 / 4:44 pm

    Freely confess I knew not of the existence of this geezer before reading John’s article. I noted a quote from him on wicki which is, perhaps, pertinent:

    “I was ordained Deacon. But, being a gay man, it was just impossible to proceed further, within the conditions of the Anglican set-up, because I was determined that I would make no bones about who I was; I was brought up to be truthful, and truth has always mattered to me. The Church couldn’t cope and so we parted company. It was a miserable experience.” Pity he has allowed his close and valued relationship with the truth to wane, somewhat, over the years (the very comfortable years).

    I note another strand of his ‘historical’ oeuvre was the 2012 ‘How God Made the English’, a three-part documentary series tracing the history of English identity from the Dark Ages to the present day. (Further confession – I managed to miss that particular bit of TV – probably because I gave up my TV years back when I started to gag on the diet of rich britnat tripe I was being force fed on a daily basis).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maria Conley July 11, 2019 / 8:01 pm

    The important issue is , there is a Scotland NOW and , was for hundreds of years , and we are NOW a fully sovereign people , completely distinct from the peoples of the southern area of this landmass , now called England ! We ( the peoples of Scotland ) have different mindsets , cultures , goals , priorities etc etc , for which we require to break away from the priorities of the peoples of the south ( THE English ) , as our goals are mutually incompatible ! Therefore we are exiting this UNION that does not fit with our betterment , and there is nothing the people of the south can do to prevent us !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Golfnut July 11, 2019 / 10:01 pm

    Scotland predates England by a hundred years, but it wasn’t called Scotland, it was of course Alba. Alba has come to be translated now as Scotland, but that’s false, Alba is Gaelic for Albion. Maybe the people of Sassan are having another identity crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bun July 12, 2019 / 12:36 am

    id fight for Scotland with every bone in my body and every breath

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christopher Mullin July 12, 2019 / 4:59 am

    This is why it is insufficient to look solely at the English [language] record in understanding the history of Scotland and the British Isles. It is necessary to understand the Gaelic (Irish, Scots and Manx) as well as the Welsh and other Brythonic language records to get a fuller picture.

    Anything else is like using single source intelligence, which is a cardinal sin.


  9. Brian Powell July 12, 2019 / 4:18 pm

    And apart from everything else,England is Anglo-Saxon, with some Norman, they came from, erm, Europe.


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