How British Are You?

How British are you may seem an odd question, as many of us take our Britishness for granted. However, over the centuries, Britain has greeted so many immigrants – not to mention been invaded so many times – that DNA from many other nations, and even races, has naturally entered our bloodlines.

In 2016, AncestryDNA mounted a survey into Britain’s genetic material, with some very interesting results. The most British place in Britain was found to be Yorkshire, where the locals registered as having 41 % Anglo-Saxon DNA, perhaps not so surprising for a region known for its brusque British wit and devotion to cricket. The study investigated 500 years of the country’s ethnic make-up, following 26 regions globally to the UK.

The test utilised data from members of the public who registered to test their own DNA, by submitting saliva samples, which were then tested to locate where their ancestors were from.

While the statistics were compiled anonymously, 15,000 member samples were analysed by region to find their histories. The average Briton was found to be 36.94 % Anglo-Saxon, 21.59 % Celtic and 19.91 % Western European, mainly hailing from France and Germany.

To that can be added a further 9.2 % from Scandinavia, 3.05 % from Spain or Portugal, and the final 1.98 % of the average Briton’s DNA originally from Italy and Greece. Obviously, proportions varied across the country, with London having the least Anglo-Saxon component and a larger mix.

English residents had higher levels of Scandinavian and Western European ancestry than their Welsh, Scottish and Irish neighbours, while Scots have the highest amount of Finnish and North-West Russian DNA, at 1.31 per cent.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Welsh were found to have the largest degree of ancestry from the Iberian peninsula, at 3 per cent, while, far less surprisingly, Scottish people had a much higher level of Irish ancestry than the English, at only 20 %.

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