Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland

Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland

Series 1 - Episode 1



To make his argument here, Rory Stewart – the adventurer MP with a CV from another era – has to invent an awkward new term: the Middleland. By that he means today’s northern England and southern Scotland, lands that once formed the great kingdoms of Cumbria and Northumbria.

The latter once stretched from the Firth of Forth to the Humber, a great Christian civilisation that, like Cumbria, ended up being squeezed between the ambitions of English and Scots.

But what if Hadrian’s Wall had never divided Britain? Stewart celebrates the culture of the areas around it as central to our story and argues forcefully that dividing the two nations (via the upcoming Scottish referendum) would be a disaster.


For historian Rory Stewart, the building of Hadrian's Wall in the second century was the single most important event in Britain's history. In the first of a two-part documentary, the MP for Penrith and the Border explores the landscape, oral history and archaeology of the region the wall runs through, examines the impact of Rome's occupation and departure, and reveals how the kingdom of Northumbria was born.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Rory Stewart
Director Renny Bartlett
Executive Producer Chris Granlund
Producer Renny Bartlett
Series Producer Emma Whitlock