If, as we have supposed, the difference in V2 syntax between Benet and our southern texts is due to contact with Scandinavian in the North, the language of the North must have acquired its properties much earlier than 1400. Indeed, we would expect such a contact effect to date to the 10th century or earlier, the time of the mixing of the Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon populations. Unfortunately, there are no Old English texts from Northumbria, the area of contact at the appropriate time, except for two glosses of the Latin Vulgate Bible. These texts, the Lindisfarne and Rushworth glosses, do, however, turn out to be informative. They consist of interlinear Old English glosses added above a previously written Latin text. The Lindisfarne gloss is in Northumbrian dialect spelling and was added to the Latin manuscript around 950 by the priest Aldred, probably in Durham. The Rushworth gloss is in two (contemporary) hands. All of Matthew and up to Mark 2:16, as well as John 18:1--3, are written by a priest named Farman in a spelling which differs little from the West Saxon standard and is probably Mercian, while the rest is written by Owun in the Northumbrian dialect. The Rushworth gloss depends on the Lindisfarne to some extent and dates from the latter half of the same century.
The first interesting fact about these glosses is that they exhibit variability in the verbal agreement endings. Alongside the expected Old English endings are found the later Northern Middle English ones (Brunner 1938). In the admittedly fragmentary Northumbrian texts which predate the arrival of the Scandinavians, on the other hand, no such deviations from the expected Old English forms are found (Whitelock 1967). These facts point clearly to the the period between the 8th and the 10th centuries as the time of origin of the northern Middle English endings and thus support the postulation of Scandinavian contact as a causal factor in their development.
As for the dating of the northern V2 grammar itself, the glosses are also helpful. Although we might not expect word-for-word glosses to yield evidence on word order, there was one particular context in which the glossers of the Vulgate had to make word order choices; and in this context we see a pattern that gives evidence for the existence of CP-V2 in the North at an early date. The relevant context is the tensed sentence with a preposed sentence-initial constituent and a pronoun subject. Because Latin is a pro-drop language and Old English is not, the glossers routinely added subject pronouns in the gloss which were absent in the original. While most added pronouns occur in the canonical position before the verb, there are a significant number of cases where the Latin word order places a constituent in sentence-initial position, with the verb immediately following, thereby suggesting to a Germanic speaker an interpretation of the sentence as a topicalization with V2. In such cases, the northern glossers sometimes wrote the subject pronoun after the verb. By contrast, in the Early West Saxon translation of the gospels, the standard Old English pattern with the pronoun in preverbal position always obtains. Below are some examples from Skeat (1881--1887) with the relevant verbs indicated in boldface and their pronoun subjects in italics. For comparison we give the corresponding sentences in the Early West Saxon full translation:
The following table summarizes our findings on the inversion of pronouns in the Lindisfarne and Rushworth glosses and compares them to the Early West Saxon translation:
Table 4: Pronoun subject inversions in the Northumbrian glosses and West Saxon gospels.
We see from the table that in 10--20 of the cases where the Latin text can be interpreted as having a preposed topic, the pronoun subject inverts with the verb in the Northumbrian glosses. In contrast, the West Saxon text follows the standard Old English pattern, and so inversion of pronoun subjects never occurs following a topic. As the glosses date from late in the period of Scandinavian settlement, it appears that the CP-V2 grammar of the North is old enough to have arisen out of contact with Scandinavian. Of course, an early date for the North's CP-V2 grammar does not guarantee that contact brought it into being. It might, for one thing, actually antedate the arrival of the Scandinavians. Unfortunately, the fragmentary pre-contact Northumbrian texts contain no contexts relevant to the CP/IP-V2 contrast, so this possibility cannot be directly ruled out. Thus, in its present state, the syntactic evidence by itself supports the possibility that contact with Scandinavian was responsible for the northern CP-V2 grammar but is consistent with an earlier date as well. This latter possibility is, however, extremely unlikely in light of the evidence from the verbal endings outlined above. We feel confident, therefore, in claiming, on grounds of dating as well as of grammatical analysis, that the characteristic features of the V2 syntax of northern Middle English arose out of contact with Scandinavian. More specifically, the trigger for the change was the reduction of the relatively rich Old English agreement system to one with almost no person distinctions, due to imperfect learning of Old English by the large number of Scandinavian invaders and immigrants of the 9th century and later.