Thomas W. Hodgkinson

It’s thrilling to learn that the rebellious Urien actually existed

Most of the history of Dark Ages Britain is shrouded in legends – which sometimes turn out to be true

Carreg Cennen castle in Wales, thought to have been built on the site of Urien’s original stronghold. [Getty Images]

Once, when we shared the same history teacher in our teens, my older brother Dominic handed in an essay about the Dark Ages that deliberately parodied a sub-Tolkien mysticism of tone. ‘Little is known,’ his opening sentence ran, ‘about those shadowy twilit years twixt 400 and 600 AD.’ Our teacher was particularly enraged by the word ‘twixt’.

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