Many will have read with interest Judith Keeling’s account of the Oxford DNA project (What makes the British?) which can offer new answers to the question of “what happened to the Romano-British population when the Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded following the fall of the Roman Empire in Britain?”

Those interested in this question can profitably re-read the books and articles of AW Wade-Evans (Jesus College, 1893), and especially his conclusions in The Emergence of England and Wales (2nd. ed., Cambridge, 1959). Over many years Wade-Evans had maintained that the Brythonic population of what became England was neither extinguished nor driven westwards. He might well feel vindicated if he could read about the “substantial amount of ‘ancient British’ DNA” in the modern population of England.

Wade-Evans wrote as a nationalist who wanted his fellow-Welshmen to see themselves as essentially a political or civic community and not, as the age-old tradition had maintained, a racial group that had been displaced. That tradition has shaped the relationships of the peoples of Britain, and of all its outcomes the most decisive was the Battle of Bosworth.

Reading Wade-Evans we may, at certain important junctures, wish he would present more concrete evidence for what must have been, to him, certainties. But he deserves respect for his independent approach to some fundamental issues.