By Jan Harper Whale
Editor’s introduction: Jan Harper Whale has extensively researched the history of the Wihtwara people of the Isle of Wight, which lies off the south coast of England. The first of her trilogy of books was published in 2017 – see links further below. Here, the evidence for the Wihtwara is set out…
The Wihtwara [are…] an entirely forgotten race of people, our Ancestors who lived on this sacred island over 2,700 years ago. They lived, grew and were dedicated caretakers of the land, who were slaughtered in 686 by Cædwalla of Wessex who sought kingship, Bretwalda, to become a king of kings. The genocide was almost total, and in its wake, Cædwalla brought Christian people from the mainland to replace a now extinct Pagan population. Aided and abetted by Wilfred, the ethnic cleansing was brutal and devastating. The Longstone witnessed the worst battle and the echoes remain in the ancient stone for those who are empathetic and adept.
Above: The Isle of Wight (NASA image) and the Longstone (photo by Mypix)
The origins of the Wihtwara
The Wihtwara people were from the Cimbric peninsular, and they arrived on our shores earlier than is stated. It is now accepted that they came to integrate, adapt and farm the land. They mixed peacefully with the Durotrige, native Britons and the very last priests of the Druids, who lived on the east and west islands of Wihtland. Its meaning is “Isle of Spirits”.
My years of research has opened a door to a clearer and verified history of migration from the Cimbric peninsula. The Cimbric peninsula has several countries, Denmark, Jutland, Gotland and several outlying islands. Those ancient people who lived there were gathered in several tribes. But over time, and as our modern usage of language tends to label most things in the easiest descriptive, this land became known as Jutland.
Above: Map showing the Isle of Wight and the Cimbric Peninsula, or Jutland
Tacitus, the renowned Roman chronicler gives an accurate picture of these people. He describes them as a confederacy of seven tribes, of which the Jutes (real name Eudose) are prominent. He names them: Reudignians, Aviones, Anglii, Warinni, Eudose, Suacones, Niuthones. They lived in an advanced society, both culturally and religiously. Their near cousins, the Geats and the Goths held similar laws and upon migration over a much longer time-frame than has been put forward, these people settled in Kent, the Meon valley and the Isle of Wight. The Meonwara are mentioned in the Doomsday book, as are the Cantwara in Kent. Of the Wihtwara there is no history because they were wiped out by fundamentalist Christians.
The Pagan way of the Wihtwara
The Wihtwara were a high spiritual caste of people, and the island also housed the Royal household, the true bloodline to Woden as Bede writes in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. He took the unusual step of veering away from Christian dogma to describe the bloodline to Woden; and this is sharply illustrated in the major work by Stephen Oppenheimer, The Origins of the British…
We still honour Woden’s name in variants of the word-stem Wednes- in English place names and one of the days of our week. So we read in Book 1 of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: “From this Woden arose all our royal kindred”. This text, from one of the oldest surviving English histories, was no routine description of an accident of descent, but a deliberate statement. The gape between each of the main English founders and Woden was but a few generations. For instance, the Jutish leader Wihtgils, whose name is attached to the Isle of Wight, was claimed to be Woden’s great-grandson, through Wecta and then Witta. Wihtgils was also claimed as the father of the fifth century and earliest legendary invaders, Hengist and Horsa, which would make him already resident in the British Isles when they invaded!”
Who were the Wihtwara?
These noble people came from a migration of northern Europe, a confederacy of seven tribes. We now know that the migration also included the Frisian people. These people were the most advanced civilization of the nations in the Cimbric peninsula. Their love of liberty was paramount amongst their achievements and still honoured today in our democracy. If we trace it to its ultimate source, England is Gothic by nature, and Kent and the Isle of Wight pre-eminently so. The Kentish man’s liberty was his main characteristic in early medieval times. A characteristic that has come from the earliest Kentish settlers.
The people of Kent and Isle of Wight preserved through the ages of Anglo-Saxon period and the feudalism, their free institutions, which have survived to this day. There is perhaps no survival the length and breadth of England that is more remarkable than this.
Under the laws of Æthelbert, the Kentish ceorl was a freeman and not bound by villain service elsewhere.
The island Jutish (Eudose) were royals or part of the royal household. They were deeply spiritual people, devoted to their Gods and Goddesses. Pagan to a man. Because they were descendents of Hengist and Woden they were of the true royal line, as Bede states.
They had good reason to populate this beautiful island. Security, peace and much more…. the island itself is a powerful place. So, their adepts would have come here, the priestesses and priests of the clans.
They were eloquent and gifted craftsmen who excelled in trading their goods and developed links as far as Byzantium. Archaeological finds have supported this with Byzantine relics found on the Isle of Wight.
The Wihtwara honoured Nerthus, the Earth Mother
It is recorded in the writings of Tacitus that the confederacy of seven tribes honoured Nerthus in their rites and ceremonies. In fact, they “put down their iron in honour for Her”. It is noted that she loved her human family and appeared every year, from her secluded grove on an island in the big sea (possibly Britannia?) to travel in an ox-driven cart to meet with the people.
There has been so much subjugation and repression of the divine feminine principle by an over-bearing church doctrine, that we, in our ignorance, celebrate Nerthus every year at May Day with our May queen processions and do not even have an inkling of Her, our earth mother. I am deeply indebted to Tylluan Penry who uncovered so much feminine magick from layers of doctrine designed to suppress. Her book, The Magical World of the Anglo-Saxons, is a pure joy to read!
Above: Depiction of the processional wagon of Germanic goddess Nerthus
Genocide creates a vacuum
The Pagan people were brutally murdered in a wave of killing which destroyed their life, their culture and their spirituality. It has created a vacuum in the history of the island. Nature abhors a vacuum and fills the empty space. So, to fill this blank space with imaginings, theories and sheer fantasy disrespects our Ancestors.
To create a myth out of an act of brutal genocide of Pagan people, by Christian fundamentalists, and Wilfred (erstwhile Bishop of Northumbria) was certainly that: (he was excommunicated several times), is wholly disrespectful to our Ancestors and hurtful to their memory. King Arwald died in battle, a Pagan. His brothers (or sons) escaped to Ytene Forest (New Forest) only to be caught, most probably tortured and made to convert, then killed. For King Arwald to then be made a saint is the most scurrilous act of all.
But then the victor always writes the history, so, King Arwald was canonized in a flurry of religious dominance, thus hiding the brutal facts from the world. It has succeeded in whitewashing the truth.
This article was originally published in the Waking the Dragon website, and is reproduced in ASLAN Hub with the author’s permission.
The Wihtwara (book 1) by Jan Harper Whale is available here:
Map of SE Britain c.575AD indicating areas of Jutish settlement, with the Isle of Wight and the bottom, and the Isle of Thanet on the far right (map by James Frankcom)…