John Beddoe

The Races of Britain

The Races of Britain: A Contribution to the Anthropology of Western Europe. A complete overview of the racial and sub-racial makeup of the British Isles written by Britain’s foremost anthropologist, using skull and hair/eye colour combinations as a primary means of measure.

Through cross-testing with the European continent, this work reveals that the original inhabitants of Britain had been dark-haired and dark-eyed, and that the “greater part of the blond population of modern Britain derive their ancestry from the Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians.”

Furthermore, the author found, the “proportion of English and Scotch blood in the present inhabitants of Ireland is probably not much less than a third.”

The author also found that dark-haired population was re-occupying Britain by a “reflux migration” and that their numbers would steadily increase over time.

His conclusions have since been verified by DNA testing, which serves as a testament to the thoroughness of his research.

This is a valuable work which serves as a testament to the original make-up of the British people, and will serve as beacon of the past pointing into the future as mass Third World immigration changes the racial make-up of Britain in the present-day.

Classic European anthropology at its best.


  1. ON METHODS. Uncertainty of casual observation and current opinion as to physical characteristics—Importance of colour in race-type—Difficulties connected with personal equation—Arrangement of colours finally adopted—Comparison thereof with that of Broca—Method of Working—Index of Nigrescence—Deficiency of observations of modern and mediaeval British skulls—Lamentable destruction of ossuaries—Measurement of the living head—Method of noting facial characters.
  2. PREHISTORIC RACES. Palaeolithic Races—Probable vestiges in modern population—Mongoloid type—Africanoid type—The Neolithic period—Long-barrow skulls—Perth-y-chwaren type: its mesocephaly—Northern and Southern long-heads—Influence of “media” on colour—Round-barrow or Bronze race—Its probable connexion with the Borreby and Sion types or races, and with the Walloons—Its presence in our modern population—Pear-shaped skull, the prevailing one among the pre-Roman population.

III. BRITAIN BEFORE CIESAR AND CLAUDIUS, ETC. Languages of the Britons—Ethnological position of the Belgae—The Monument of Jovinus—Vanderkindere’s statistics, and my own—Trèves and the Galatians—The Coranied and Coritavi—The Caledonians—The Firbolg—The Lloegrians and Iberians—Gaels in Great Britain—The Brythons—Summary.

  1. THE ROMAN PERIOD. Ethnological changes during this period—Magnitude and character of the Roman immigration—Subsequent revival of British nationality—The Roman Wall—The Gaels in Wales—Movements in Ireland—The Litus Saxonicum—Departure of the Romans.
  2. THE ANGLO-SAXON CONQUEST AND PERIOD. The Saxons, Angles, Jutes, and Frisians—Their local origin and relations—Frisian head-form—Gildemeister’s researches at Bremen—The Old Saxon forms—Theory of the English or Anglo-Saxon Conquest—Estimate of authorities—Formation of the new kingdoms, and successive extensions at the expense of the Britons—The Picts, Caledonians, and Scots—Ethnological character of the populations subsequently to these invasions—Evidence of proper names—The word Wealh—The Will of King Alfred—Legal systems—Roman, Celtic, or Teutonic Cavelkind—The Churls—The constitution of the Manor—The fate of the Romano-British towns—The Bridge and Burgh Rate—Extinction of Christianity—The Sixhyndman—How far did “the Lloegrians become Saxons”?—Theory of the early history of Mercia—Evidence of local names in England and Scotland—Evidence of current language—Vowel sounds—British derivatives—Spindle- and servile-words—The Rhyming-score—Reasoning from language of less import as one travels westward.
  3. GERMANIC CONQUESTS ELSEWHERE, ESPECIALLY IN SWITZERLAND. Modern ethnology of Flanders, Brabant, and Trèves—Points of agreement and of difference between the Saxon conquest of England, and the Alemannic of Switzerland—Brief notice of the Burgundians—Alemannic, Swabian, and Rhaetian types—Anthropological statistics of school-children in Switzerland—Kollmann and Studer thereupon—Guillaume on the darkening of hair with age, and Mayr on town populations—Dunant on stature of Swiss—Questions of method and mapping—Map of Index of Nigrescence &c., from official statistics—Map of the same from personal observation—Nidwalden Grisons—Decline of the blond long-headed type—Ranke’s observations on the Bavarians— Summary and conclusions—Table of personal observations.

VII. THE DANISH PERIOD. Classification of the Scandinavian settlements and operations—Numbers of the invaders—The Danelagh—Western settlements—Ethnological history of Southern Cambria and the Isle of Man—Infiltration elsewhere—Saxonization of the West of England—The “Dunsetas”—The Welsh Marches—The Scandinavian elements and history in Scotland and Ireland.

VIII. THE NORMANS. Racial character of the Norman immigration and of the populations which supplied it—Difference between the ruling and subordinate classes in Normandy—The Bretons, “French,” and Flemings.

  1. THE NORMAN CONQUEST. Main facts of its history, and of the so-called “Saxon Conquest” in Scotland, and the Anglo-Norman one in Wales—Effect of the Conquest on proportion and distribution of race—Evidence of Domesday—Imperfections therein—Proportional numbers of the several castes: their status—Position of the native English in Kent, as deduced from Dugdale—The same in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, &c.—Evidence from names of witnesses to charters—Status of the race-elements in Northumbria, exclusive of Yorkshire.
  2. THE NORMANS IN YORKSHIRE. Destruction of the Anglo-Danish population by sword, pestilence, and famine—Local exceptions—Criteria of the actual loss—Map and details of Richmondshire—Return home of the Bretons—French colony in York—Survival of some native Nobles as tenants, unnoticed in Domesday—Meaux Abbey—General conclusions—Analytical Table of population mentioned in Domesday Book for Yorkshire and other counties.
  3. NORMAN-FRENCH IMMIGRATION. Immigration subsequent to the Conquest—The Norman People—Systems of Personal Nomenclature—Intermarriage—Settlement of Englishmen in Normandy—List of house-owners in Winchester—List of names in the Boldon Book and in the Liber Vita of Durham—Evidence of the Hundred Rolls—Analytical Tables of Personal Names in the 12th and 13th centuries—Analytical Table of Modern English Surnames—Examination of the Hundred Rolls: their great value—Camden on changes of surnames—Errors of the author of The Norman People—Examination of my own methods—Inferences as to proportion of “Norman” blood in England.

XII. SUBSEQUENT MIGRATIONS. Decline of the Scandinavians in Ireland—Anglo-Norman and English invasions and colonizations therein—Evidence of surnames as to proportion of “Celtic” and ” Saxon” blood—Remains of the Norsemen in the Hebrides, &c.—The modern Irish immigration into Scotland—The Huguenots and Palatines—Immigration of Scotch-men, Irishmen, and Welshmen into England its amount and distribution.

XIII. PREFACE TO THE TABLES AND MAPS, CONSIDERATIONS ON METHODS OF COMPUTATION, AND OF DIVISION OF TYPES Military Statistics, and Schedules of Eye and Hair-colour—Comparison and contrast thereof with those of the Anthropometric Committee—General correspondence of the former with those of the Author—Characteristics of the descendants of Irish immigrants into Great Britain—Brief notices of other Tables.

XIV. GENERAL COMMENTARY ON THE TABLES. Natives of the different Scotch islands, description and origin of—Highlanders, difficulty of classifying, owing to their being a heterogeneous race ; description of their central type; the dolicephalous and brachycephalous Celt—The red-haired Gael and the Iberian—The Angles and Anglo-Danes in Scotland—Mental and moral attributes of the Southern Scots—Northumberland and Berwick strongly Anglian—Durham, old race Anglian and Danish—Yorkshire: North and East Ridings, Anglo-Danish—A clear and distinct moral type found in Yorkshire: description of—Ethnology of North Lancashire, Northumberland and Cumberland—Nottingham-shire and Lincolnshire Anglo-Danish Counties: description of Danish type by Macintosh—Derbyshire, physical type Anglian—East Staffordshire Anglian, but not Danish—Leicestershire colonized by Danes, but retains many of the dark pre-Anglian stock—Ethnology of Midland and South-midland Counties of Essex, Middlesex, Kent and Surrey—Isle of Wight, type Jutic—New Forest, primitive population remaining—Devonshire, ethnology of; singular beauty of the women—Cornwall, description of natives—West of England, including Bristol, population of—Wales, description of physical and moral characteristics of natives ; not a homogeneous race—Ireland has one distinct type, easy of description—Physiognomy dependent on form of skull—Description of local sub-types and their probable origin —A numerical expression of the complexions or colour of the skin in several parts of the British Islands.

FINAL. CONCLUSIONS AND INCONCLUSIONS. Value of the index of nigrescence—General estimate of the result of great ethnological movements—The tendency of the darker races to swamp the blond Teutons of England by a reflux migration—A short enumeration of ethnological points of great interest which still remain unsettled—Aim in writing, and conclusion.

About the author: John Beddoe (1826–1911) was a medical doctor, anthropologist and international scholar. He was a foundation member (1857) of the Ethnological Society, president of the Anthropological Society, 1869–70, and of the (Royal) Anthropological Institute, 1889–91. Beddoe was made Officier (Ire classe) de I’lnstruction Publique, France, in 1890, and he was a member of the chief continental anthropological societies. In 1908 the University of Bristol elected him honorary professor of anthropology.

317 pages. Paperback. Exact reproduction of the original.


Additional information

Weight 15 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.66 × 9 in

John Beddoe

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