Britons still live in Anglo-Saxon tribal kingdoms, Oxford University finds

“Britons are still living in the same ‘tribes’ that they did in the 7th Century, Oxford University has found after an astonishing study into our genetic make-up.

…The most striking genetic split can be seen between people living in Cornwall and Devon, where the division lies exactly along the county border. It means that people living on either side of the River Tamar, which separates the two counties, have different DNA.”

Read the whole thing.

This stuff is probably of limited interest to most BCF readers. Sorry about that. I’m sure most of you will feel free to skip.

So: these results don’t surprise me in the least. To my mind they’re confirmed by the fact that Britain is (still) so very regional. The large number of extremely strong and sometimes nearly mutually unintelligible accents all across the island attest to the fairly obvious fact that britons haven’t for the most part moved around much, at all, for centuries. London is obviously the exception. It certainly would have been even before the Empire kicked off – that’s what metropolises are for. However, what is usually described in North America as an “English” or even “British” accent is actually what the brits call “standard received”, (or just “posh”), that is, middle-to-upper class and a-regional.

My father was from Yorkshire. I actually – I don’t think it amounts to a theory – but I have a notion that men from Yorkshire tend often to have large and rather squarish heads. I realize this sounds endearingly eccentric vaguely psychotic, but if some large-square-headed-guy with a large-square-headed-family became the Big Man in the West Riding 1,000 years ago I don’t see why it necessarily has to be wrong.

Anyway, I think the whole subject is kind of neat.