31 March, 2011

The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey. Book review

First published 1951. Edition reviewed: Arrow, 2002, ISBN 0-09-943096-7. 220 pages.

The Daughter of Time is a historical mystery set in 1950s England. All the main characters are fictional but the mystery they are attempting to solve is a real one, the disappearance of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ during the reign of Richard III in 1483.

Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard is laid up in hospital with a broken leg. Bored by the predictable reading material proffered by well-meaning friends, he becomes interested in studying historical portraits. One in particular captures his imagination; he thinks the face should belong to a judge or a statesman, and is astonished to find that it is a portrait of Richard III, whom he vaguely remembers from history and Shakespeare as the archetypal wicked villain. Puzzled that the face in the portrait looks so different from his expectations, Grant enlists the aid of his friends and the hospital staff to investigate Richard’s career and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his young nephews, the ‘Princes in the Tower’. Did Richard III really have them murdered as Grant’s history lessons said, or can the evidence bear some other interpretation – and point to some other culprit?

This is an unusual and ingenious historical mystery, and I found it a delight from beginning to end. It would earn a place in my heart just for Grant’s splendidly dyspeptic opinion of production-line romances, thrillers and gloomy literary fiction:

The Sweat and the Furrow was Silas Weekley being earthy and spade-conscious all over seven hundred pages. […] The rain dripped from the thatch and the manure steamed in the midden. Silas never omitted the manure. It was not Silas’s fault that its steam provided the only up-rising element in the picture. If Silas could have discovered a brand of steam that steamed downwards, he would have used it.”
This passage appears on the second page and sold me straight away. The rest of the writing lives up to the initial promise, crisp, elegant and compact with not a word wasted. The contemporary characters are sketched in with a few bold brush-strokes that bring them vividly to life as individuals with their own quirks and foibles: the soppy nurse; the brisk nurse; flamboyant Marta, for whom the word ‘actressy’ could have been invented; the rather vague student who is suddenly galvanised when Grant’s investigation catches his interest.

Like The House on the Strand (reviewed earlier), although a very different novel, The Daughter of Time captures the thrill of pursuing an intellectual puzzle and the satisfaction that comes from tracking down an elusive fact. Grant becomes so absorbed in each new scrap of evidence that he quite forgets the discomforts of his injury and the frustrations of confinement. Don’t look for action – the entire novel takes place in Grant’s hospital room, with assorted friends bringing him books and snippets of information. This is a chase purely of the mind, but no less gripping for that. I would hazard a guess that anyone who has pursued a tricky question through obscure historical sources will recognise Grant’s quest.

The Daughter of Time uses Grant’s investigation of Richard III to explore the processes by which actual events get turned into simplified and widely accepted narratives of history, which then take on a life of their own and become highly resistant to question. Grant complains that people do not like having their preconceptions challenged, and then promptly proceeds to demonstrate it himself by taking comical personal offence at his discovery that Thomas More was not a contemporary biographer of Richard III as he had previously believed. For me, this is one of the key strengths of the novel. It reminds the reader, in dramatised form, that many of the things we think we know as ‘fact’ are probably nothing of the kind. Critical thinking and assessment of evidence are vital in history – as in many other fields of study – and while interpretation may be necessary to make sense of an incomplete set of evidence, one should always keep in mind the distinction and be prepared to consider alternative interpretations. The Daughter of Time can be read as an enjoyable case study of that principle.

Although Inspector Grant is convinced that he has solved the mystery and exonerated Richard III, I would suggest that readers who are interested in the history of Richard III’s reign exercise caution before swallowing the (fictional) Inspector’s conclusions whole. The reason that the mystery of the princes’ fate still qualifies as a Mystery is because the definitive answer is not known with certainty and the limited evidence can support more than one interpretation, all of which answer some questions and raise new ones. I agree with Grant that the case against Richard III is far from proven; I part company in that I don’t think Grant’s alternative solution is proven either.

Ingenious, stimulating historical mystery with a sharp point to make about the importance of critical thinking, told in lively and economical prose with a varied cast of characters. Deservedly a classic.

24 March, 2011

The language of the Picts

The people living in what is now Northern Scotland in the Late Roman and early medieval period were known to their Latin-speaking neighbours (and, by extension, to us) as Picts. They spoke a distinct language, but unfortunately no examples of it survive except perhaps a few fragments in place names and personal names. What can we say about the lost language of the Picts?



Bede, writing in 731 AD in Northumbria, clearly recognised Pictish as a separate language:

At the present time there are in Britain, in harmony with the five books of the
divine law, five languages and four nations – English, British, Irish and
Picts. Each of these have their own language; but all are united in their
study of God’s truth by the fifth – Latin – which has become a common medium
through the study of the scriptures.
--Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book I Ch. 1

Life of Columba

WHEN the blessed man [St Columba] was staying for some days in the Scian island,
he struck a spot of ground near the sea with his staff, and said to his
companions: "Strange to say, my children, this day, an aged heathen, whose
natural goodness has been preserved through all his life, will receive baptism,
die, and be buried on this very spot." And lo! about an hour after, a boat came
into the harbour, on whose prow sat a decrepit old man, the chief of the Geona
cohort. Two young men took him out of the boat and laid him at the feet of the
blessed man. After being instructed in the word of God by the saint through an
interpreter, the old man believed …
--Life of Columba, Book I Ch. 27, available online

At the time when St. Columba was tarrying for some days in the province of the
Picts, a certain peasant who, with his whole family, had listened to and learned
through an interpreter the word of life preached by the holy man, believed …
--Life of Columba, Book I Ch. 33, available online

The Scian island is modern Skye. As Columba needed an interpreter to preach to Picts, it is a reasonable conclusion that the language was distinct from the Irish language spoken by Columba.

Both the Life of Columba and Bede confirm that Pictish was a distinct language, at least in the sixth century (when Columba was preaching) and the eighth century (when Bede was writing). However, neither source tells us much about the language itself. Very little is known of the lost language of the Picts (Laing & Laing 2001). There are two main sources of evidence: a small number of inscriptions (see earlier post on Inscriptions), and place names.

Place names

Bede mentions a single place name in Pictish, in his description of the Antonine Wall:

It begins about two miles west of the monastery at Aebbercurnig at a place which
the Picts call Peanfahel and the English Penneltun
-- Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book I Ch. 12

Aebbercurnig is modern Abercorn, in Lothian on the east coast of Scotland and the south shore of the Firth of Forth. Penneltun is modern Kinneil, near Bo’ness, a few miles further west up the firth.

‘Pen’ is a common British place-name element meaning ‘head’. It occurs in many modern Welsh hill names (e.g. Pen y Fan) and some in northern England (e.g. Pen y Ghent, and possibly in the name of the Pennine hill chain).

Other British place-name elements occur in modern place names in the territories associated with the Picts, such as Aber-, meaning ‘confluence’ (e.g. Aberdeen) and Lhan-, meaning ‘churchyard’ (e.g. Lhanbryde, near Elgin), spelled Llan- in modern Welsh place names. The name element Pit-, derived from ‘pett’, meaning a parcel of land, appears all over the Pictish territories. Its Welsh equivalent, ‘peth’, does not appear in modern Welsh place names, so the use of Pit- as a common place-name element may be distinctive to the Pictish area. (Caveat that modern place names have had centuries to change and evolve since the early medieval period, including the possibility of influence by later languages such as Norse or Norman French, so should be interpreted with caution).


The Celtic languages fall into two major groups, usually called P-Celtic (including Welsh, Breton, Cornish and their ancestors) and Q-Celtic (including Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and their ancestors). The labels reflect a diagnostic sound change between the two groups; the word for ‘head’ in P-Celtic languages is ‘Pen’ (found in many modern Welsh hill names, and very probably in the name of the Pennine hills in what is now northern England), and the equivalent in Q-Celtic is ‘Kin’ (found all over the Scottish Highlands in place names indicating the head of a loch).

The eighth-century Pictish name Peanfahel, as helpfully recorded by Bede, contains a variant of the ‘Pen’ element. Together with the other P-Celtic elements found in modern place names in the Pictish area, such as Aber-, Lhan- and Pit-, this suggests that Pictish was a P-Celtic language, or contained a sizeable component of P-Celtic.

Some place names contain both P-Celtic and Q-Celtic elements. For example, Pittenweem in Fife contains the characteristic Pit- first element, combined with a second element derived from the Gaelic ‘na h-uamha’ meaning ‘of the cave’, so it means something like ‘portion of land with a cave’ in two languages (Room 1993). Hybrid place-names like this may indicate that there was some bilingualism in Pictland, with people speaking both Pictish (P-Celtic) and Irish Gaelic (Q-Celtic), and able to understand both elements of the name (Laing & Laing 2001).

The modern form of the name recorded by Bede as Peanfahel is Kinneil. Kinneil is Scots Gaelic and is recognisably a variant of Peanfahel with the Q-Celtic ‘Kin’ substituted for the P-Celtic equivalent ‘Pen’. (The second element means ‘wall’, so the whole name means ‘head or end of the wall’, a logical name for a place at the end of the Antonine Wall). This substitution is consistent with some degree of bilingualism in P- and Q-Celtic languages, since it suggests that the ‘Pen’ element was recognised as equivalent to ‘Kin’ and one was substituted for the other. In contrast, the eighth-century English name had evidently borrowed the Pictish name wholesale and appended the Old English element ‘-tun’ (homestead, enclosure) as a suffix to make Penneltun. If the Pictish name Peanfahel had been translated into English it would have become something like “Wallsend” (like the name of the settlement at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall, further south).

Some surviving Pictish inscriptions remain undeciphered (see post on Inscriptions), and this has led to suggestions that the Pictish language, or a sizeable component of it, was unrelated to any Celtic language or indeed any surviving language, with the further suggestion that Pictish, like Basque, could have been a survivor of a pre-Indo-European language dating back into the far distant past. This is not easy to reconcile with the recognisably P-Celtic elements in place names, which are consistent with Pictish being a member of the P-Celtic language family. One possibility is that the Picts spoke a P-Celtic language for everyday matters (like naming places), but retained an older unrelated language that was used for special purposes such as inscriptions. This scenario would be similar to the situation in England and the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages, with vernacular languages (English, French, German etc) used for day-to-day communication and Latin used by an educated, mainly religious, elite for formal written applications such as legal documents, international diplomatic correspondence and monuments. There may also be other possible explanations for the apparently incomprehensible inscriptions (see post on Inscriptions). I would be cautious about taking them as proof that Pictish was a unique non-Celtic non-Indo-European language, although this cannot be ruled out.


On the basis of the place-name evidence, slight though it is, I would conclude that Pictish was probably a P-Celtic language, or at least contained a sizeable component of P-Celtic. It may have been a form of the Brittonic language spoken further south – perhaps a very strong regional accent. However, Bede says Pictish was a distinct language in his time, and as Northumbria shared a border with the Pictish kingdom and was on reasonably friendly terms, he was in a position to have accurate information about the Pictish language. So I would take his word for it, and place Pictish as a distinct language within the P-Celtic language group.

Pictish may also have contained a sizeable component of Q-Celtic, given the existence of hybrid place names containing both P- and Q-Celtic elements. This would be consistent with the apparent ease of replacement of Pictish by Gaelic in later centuries. A language consisting of a mix of P- and Q-Celtic would be distinct from either.

Pictish may also have contained a component of some non-Celtic language. If so, this non-Celtic element might be a remnant of an ancient pre-Indo-European language spoken in what is now northern Scotland, but this is not proven. I have suggested elsewhere that the broch-builders of Caithness and the Northern and Western Isles may have been a distinct cultural group within the Picts, perhaps with cultural contacts with Scandinavia (a sort of forerunner of the historical contact between the same areas of Scotland and Scandinavia during the later Viking age). If so, distinct cultural groups may have had distinct local languages or dialects, which may have contributed distinctive features to Pictish and helped to differentiate it from the neighbouring British and Irish languages.

Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Translated by Leo Sherley-Price, Penguin Classics, 1968, ISBN 0-14-044565-X
Laing L, Laing J. The Picts and the Scots. Sutton, 2001, ISBN 0-7509-2873-5.
Life of Columba, Book I Ch. 27, available online
Room A. Dictionary of Place Names. Bloomsbury, 1993. ISBN 0-7475-1511-5.

Map links

23 March, 2011

March recipe: Dal

This is a warming lentil and vegetable curry, spicy without being too hot. It’s fairly quick to cook after a long day at work, and satisfying without being too heavy. You can vary the vegetables according to the season; in March I usually make it with cooking apples, leeks and celery. It happens to be a vegan dish. You can also vary the spices according to taste, or substitute the equivalent amount of curry powder if you don’t want to use separate spices.


Serves 2

4oz (approx 120g) split red lentils
8 fl. oz. (approx 200 ml) water
Half an onion
Half a green pepper
4 oz (approx 120g) chopped tomatoes, fresh or tinned
8 oz (approx 250g) any combination of: cooking apple, celery, courgette, leek, squash
1 clove garlic
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground ginger
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground cumin
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground coriander
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground turmeric

Put the red lentils and water in a saucepan, cover, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking, until the lentils have absorbed all the water and cooked to a soft yellow mass. If the lentils boil dry before they are cooked, add a little more water, but only add small amounts at a time.

While the lentils are cooking, peel and chop the onion, chop the green pepper, peel and crush the garlic.

Prepare the other vegetables. Wash and slice celery and leeks. Peel, core and dice the cooking apple. Wash and dice courgettes. Peel and dice squash.

Fry the onion in vegetable oil over a medium heat until soft and beginning to colour.

Add the garlic, green pepper, and other vegetables except the tomatoes. Fry a few more minutes until the other vegetables are beginning to colour.

Stir in the spices.

Add the chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and black pepper and mix well. Simmer 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the cooked lentils, mix well, and simmer a minute or two to heat through.

Serve with rice and mango chutney.

13 March, 2011

I Am the Chosen King, by Helen Hollick. Book review

First published under the title Harold the King, 2000.
Edition reviewed: Sourcebooks 2011, ISBN 978-1-4022-4066-9. 672 pages. Uncorrected advance review copy supplied by publisher.

Set in England and Normandy in 1043-1066, I Am the Chosen King tells the story of Harold Godwinesson and his handfast wife Edyth Swan-neck, and the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. All the main characters are historical figures.

Newly appointed as Earl of East Anglia, Harold, second son of the powerful Earl Godwine of Wessex, has a bright future ahead. When he falls in love with the sweet and beautiful Edyth Swannhaels (Edith Swan-neck) and takes her as his handfast wife, it seems he can look forward to personal happiness as well as power and wealth. But the weak king Edward dislikes Godwine, and Harold’s selfish and ill-disciplined siblings soon give Edward the opportunity to threaten the Godwine family with ruin. And across the Channel in Normandy, Edward’s adolescent kinsman William the Bastard is fast growing into a ruthless and battle-hardened warlord with a ruthless eye on England….

I have long had an interest in Harold Godwinesson, King Harold II, so was very pleased to see him as the central character in this densely detailed novel. Told in third person, I Am the Chosen King switches between England and Normandy, charting the build-up to the Battle of Hastings from both sides. Both Harold and William are fully developed characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Harold is the more likeable of the two, depicted here as kind, loving, considerate and competent, prepared to co-operate with others for the common good. William, emotionally scarred by a violent childhood, is harsh, ambitious, ruthless and not infrequently cruel, as he has had to be to survive and to win control of his duchy. William is used to making his own luck and achieving the impossible, and he has set his sights on a crown. Harold, by contrast, has greatness thrust upon him; he has no especial desire for a crown, but he is determined to do his best for the people of England. So the two men are set on a collision course that will culminate in a hard-fought battle on Senlac Ridge near Hastings in 1066 that will become the most memorable date in English history.

I Am the Chosen King is very long, and the political manoeuvring among the English nobility requires some concentration to follow. The first half of the book is rather slow, and is dominated by Harold’s older siblings and King Edward, all of whom make distinctly unappealing company. Edward takes after his incompetent father Aethelraed Unraed in all the wrong ways. Harold’s sister Edith is selfish and spiteful, his younger brother Tostig is self-righteous and grasping, and his eldest brother Swegn is an overgrown toddler who throws murderous temper tantrums. After a couple of hundred pages I was starting to feel that they all deserved each other, and possibly even deserved William. Harold and his sweet wife Edyth seem to be almost the only two pleasant, well-adjusted people in England, and their blossoming love story and happy family life stand in stark contrast to the rest of the family.

A strength of I Am the Chosen King is that it shows the Norman side of the story as well as the English side. Indeed, in the first half of the book William’s determined struggle to gain control of Normandy and then expand its power and gain independence from France makes a more compelling narrative than the bickering in England. One may not like William very much – as portrayed here, he would be a hard man to like, though his wife Mathilda manages it – but it would be difficult not to admire him.

The pace steps up a gear about halfway through the novel as we reach 1064 and events start to rush towards a confrontation. Harold’s ill-fated trip to Normandy in 1064 brings him into direct contact with William, and the two are already weighing each other up as potential rivals. Helen Hollick’s explanation for the mysterious event of Harold swearing an oath on holy relics is plausible, and explains William’s subsequent fury. From here, events crowd thick and fast. The Battle of Stamford Bridge is over in a few pages, possibly so as not to detract from the grand climax of the Battle of Hastings. The novel manages the remarkable feat of making the outcome seem genuinely in doubt right until the last moment – as of course it was to the people at the time, however well known to the reader.

The author helpfully uses variant spellings to distinguish between people with the same name, e.g. the three Ediths are Edith (Harold’s sister), Edyth (Swan-neck) and Alditha (daughter of Aelfgar of Mercia and Harold’s official wife). Family trees for the Norman and English aristocracies at the start of the book also help to keep track of characters, and the two maps will be useful to readers unfamiliar with the geography. A helpful Author’s Note at the end outlines the underlying history, explains how the author filled in gaps – more of them than you might think; 1066 may be a famous date but that doesn’t mean it was fully documented – and explains what happened to the major characters after the end of the novel.

Detailed recreation of the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066, with Harold Godwinesson and his handfast wife Edyth Swan-neck as the central characters.

03 March, 2011

Pictish language: Inscriptions

The people living in what is now Northern Scotland in the Late Roman and early medieval period were known to their Latin-speaking neighbours (and, by extension, to us) as Picts. They spoke a distinct language, but little if any of it survives. A small number of Pictish inscriptions using the Irish script called ogham are known. What can these tell us about the lost language of the Picts?



Most of the surviving Pictish inscriptions use the Ogham script, which was invented in Ireland perhaps around the fourth century and introduced to what is now mainland Scotland via Dal Riada (an Irish-speaking early medieval kingdom in roughly the area of modern Argyll, see map). Ogham is written by making straight strokes across, sloping from or perpendicular to a guideline, originally the edge of a stone.

Twenty-nine Pictish ogham inscriptions have been found, mostly on stones, with three on knife handles (Bac Mhic Connain, Hebrides; Aikerness, Orkney; Weeting, Norfolk) and one on a spindle whorl (Buckquoy, Orkney). Pictish ogham started out closely following the Irish, but later developed more ornate forms and began to be carved on a guideline on the face of the stone instead of along its edge. Most Pictish ogham inscriptions are believed to date from the seventh to tenth centuries (Laing & Laing 2001).

Where they have been deciphered the ogham inscriptions appear to record names, some P-Celtic (Brittonic), some Q-Celtic (Gaelic). Sometimes words of apparently Irish derivation appear, e.g. “meqq” which is thought to be related to Irish “maqq” meaning “son of”. One from Bressay, Shetland, contains “crroscc” thought to be the Irish word for “cross” and “dattr” which is thought to be the Norse for “daughter”.

Some have not been deciphered, for example the baffling inscription on the Lunnasting stone in Shetland, which reads:

ettocuhetts ahehhttann hccvvevv nehhtons

The last word looks recognisably like the Pictish personal name Nechtan, recorded in the Pictish king-list and by Bede. The rest of the inscription has defied all attempts at interpretation so far.


Incomprehensible inscriptions such as the one on the Lunnasting stone have led to suggestions that the Pictish language, or a sizeable component of it, was unrelated to any Celtic language or indeed any surviving language, with the further suggestion that Pictish, like Basque, could have been a survivor of a pre-Indo-European language dating back into the far distant past. However, some of the inscriptions may be incomprehensible only because we have not yet figured out how to read them. For example, the inscription on the Buckquoy spindle whorl was initially thought to be written in an unknown non-Celtic language, but can be interpreted as an intelligible inscription in Old Irish meaning “a blessing on the soul of L” (Forsyth 1995), presumably a good-luck charm of some sort for a person whose name began with L. Some of the other apparently incomprehensible Pictish inscriptions may be similar.

Another possibility may be that the undeciphered inscriptions are written in some condensed form, perhaps abbreviations or shortened forms of words that were readily understood at the time. Modern British coins carry the inscription “ELIZABETH II D G REG F D”. This is a shortened form of a Latin inscription, “ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSOR”, meaning “Elizabeth the second, by the grace of god, queen and defender of the faith”. The personal name is fairly readily recognisable, but trying to reconstruct the full Latin inscription from the abbreviated version could be a challenge if the abbreviation conventions and the Latin language had been lost.

Another possibility is that the incomprehensible inscriptions were not intended to be read as a written script. There is a Pictish inscribed stone at Newton, Aberdeenshire, with an inscription carved in an otherwise unknown (and indecipherable) script, together with an ogham inscription along its edge. The ogham has been dated to the seventh or eighth century, and the main inscription is believed to be contemporary on the basis of the weathering. The main inscription resembles Irish majuscule script, and may have been carved by someone who was illiterate in that script (Laing & Laing 2001). Perhaps the carver, or the patron who commissioned the stone, thought the Irish symbols were beautiful or powerful or both, and carved them as an image rather than as written symbols with meaning. There are other examples of letters used in a way that does not convey a written message; for example, a seax (short sword) blade recovered from the River Thames was inscribed with the full 28-letter Old English runic alphabet. Presumably the runes were there for some purpose other than conveying a written message. Possibly the indecipherable Pictish ogham inscriptions were also using the ogham letters for some purpose other than writing a message.

The inscription on the Lunnasting stone contains many doubled letters. This may be consistent with the letters being used for some purpose other than writing a message. However, doubled letters are not unique to Pictish inscriptions, as English runic inscriptions sometimes contain doubled letters. For example, the Ruthwell Cross inscription contains several examples of words with doubled letters: almeittig; riicnae; gistoddu (Page 2003).

The reason for the presence of doubled letters in runic inscriptions is unknown (Page 2003, p.148). It may be pure chance, or it may reflect some tradition among the carvers of monument inscriptions, or some prosaic reason such as a simple mistake. If you find yourself mistakenly carving the letter you have just carved, you can’t rub out the mistake and correct it, and you can hardly go and make another stone monument and start all over again. It would be simpler just to finish carving the mistaken letter and then carry on with the rest of the inscription. Mistakes would be expected to be more common if the carver was working in an unfamiliar script, as may have been the case for Pictish carvers as the ogham script originated in Ireland. My thanks to Doug Tankard for providing a modern example of an incomprehensible inscription with doubled letters:

Copyright: Doug Tankard.

This is a towel manufactured in China and displaying the motto and crest of the English football team Arsenal. The motto should read ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’, which is Latin and translates as ‘Victory comes from harmony’. The Chinese manufacturer, presumably (and quite reasonably) unfamiliar with both Latin and Arsenal Football Club, has written it as ‘Victory Contoral Crrhtty’, which contains a recognisable word (Victory) and two words that make no sense. Just imagine trying to reconstruct the language in use in 21st century England if this was the only surviving piece of evidence.

On the basis of the inscriptions, I would be cautious about concluding that Pictish was a unique non-Celtic language, although it may well have contained a non-Celtic component that distinguished Pictish from the Irish and Brittonic languages spoken elsewhere in Britain. Place names also provide a few snippets of evidence about the Pictish language; more on this in another post.

Forsyth K. The ogham-inscribed spindle-whorl from Buckquoy: evidence for the Irish language in pre-Viking Orkney? Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1995;125:677-696. Available online
Laing L, Laing J. The Picts and the Scots. Sutton, 2001, ISBN 0-7509-2873-5.
Page RI. An introduction to English runes. Boydell, 2003, ISBN 0-85115-946-X