Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ida

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IDA (d. 559), the first Bernician king, the son of Eobba, began to reign in Northumbria in 547. Before his time the northeast coast appears to have been invaded and colonised by Angles under the leadership of ealdormen who fought with the Britons. The assertion that Ida was the leader of a new invading host which came with sixty ships and landed at Flamborough (De Primo Saxonum Adventu) is untrustworthy; his assumption of the kingship was a change which followed almost necessarily on the increase of the power of the invaders, and may have been the result either of general consent or of a victorious struggle (compare Bæda, Historia Ecclesiastica, v. c. 24, and William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, i. c. 44). Ida is said to have been in the prime of his life and vigour when he became king, and in common with all the founders of dynasties among the Teutonic invaders of Britain, he is given a descent from Woden. He built himself a fortress, called by the Britons Dinguardi or Dinguoaroy, and by the Angles Bebbanburch, the modern Bamborough, which was surrounded first by a hedge and later by a wall, and took its Anglic name from Bebbe, the wife of Æthelfrid, Ida's grandson, and one of his successors (d. 617?), Ida's immediate kingdom did not probably extend south of the Tees, though his power may have been felt beyond that river, for the kingship of Deira, between the Tees and the Humber, does not seem to have been founded until his death. It is quite possible that Ida's Bernicia did not extend as far as the Tees. He is said to have had six sons by queens and six by concubines (Florence) The consolidation and advance of the heathen power under him and his sons caused a widespread apostasy from Christianity among the Picts. He reigned twelve years, and died in 559. On his death Ælla (d. 588) [q.v.] became king in Deira, and is supposed to have extended his power over Bernicia (Skene). There, however, Ida's house retained the kingship, and six of his sons, Adda, Glappa, Hussa, Freodulf, Theodric, and Æthelric (d. 594?), reigned in succession over their father's kingdom. Ida is often said to have been called the 'Flame-bearer' by the Welsh poets (Green, Making of England, p. 72); for this there is no ground. The epithet (Flamddwyn), which is only to be found in two Bardic poems, is in both instances applied to his son Theodric (d. 587), famous for his conflicts with Urbgen or Urien and his sons (Skene).

[Bæda, Hist. Eccl. iii. cc. 6, 16, v. c. 24 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Anglo-Sax. Chron. an. 547; Nennius, pp. 49-53 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Symeon, Hist. Regum, c. 12 and De Primo Saxonum Adventu ap. Sym. Opp. i. 14, 374 (Rolls Ser.); Florence, i. 5 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Will. of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum, i. c. 44 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Hoveden, i. 3 (Rolls Ser.); Skene's Four Ancient Books of Wales, i. 6, 62, 265, 366, ii. 413, 418; Elton's Origins of Engl. Hist. pp. 380, 381, 2nd edit.; Guest's Origines Celticæ, ii. 273; Rhys's Celtic Britain, pp. 111, 145; Hinde's Hist. of Northumberland, i. 63-5.]

W. H.