Anglo-Saxon England or Early Medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman conquest in 1066, consisted of various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 927, when it was united as the Kingdom of England by King Æthelstan (r. 927–939). It became part of the short-lived North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway in the 11th century.
The Anglo-Saxons were the members of Germanic-speaking groups who migrated to the southern half of the island of Great Britain from nearby northwestern Europe. Anglo-Saxon history thus begins during the period of sub-Roman Britain following the end of Roman control, and traces the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th and 6th centuries (conventionally identified as seven main kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex); their Christianisation during the 7th century; the threat of Viking invasions and Danish settlers; the gradual unification of England under the Wessex hegemony during the 9th and 10th centuries; and ending with the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.
Anglo-Saxon identity survived beyond the Norman conquest, came to be known as Englishry under Norman rule, and through social and cultural integration with Celts, Danes and Normans became the modern English people. (Full article...)
The Law of Æthelberht is a set of legal provisions written in Old English, probably dating to the early 7th century. It originates in the kingdom of Kent, and is the first Germanic-language law code. It is also thought to be the earliest example of a document written in English, though extant only in an early 12th-century manuscript, Textus Roffensis.
The code is concerned primarily with preserving social harmony, through compensation and punishment for personal injury. Compensations are arranged according to social rank, descending from king to slave. The initial provisions of the code offer protection to the church. Though the latter were probably innovations, much of the remainder of the code may be derived from earlier legal custom transmitted orally. (more...)
Did you know?
- ...that in Anglo-Saxon England, pregnant women were warned against eating food that was too salty or too sweet, or other fatty foods, and were also cautioned not to drink strong alcohol or travel on horseback?
- ...that the ship-burial at Snape is the only one in England that can be compared to the example at Sutton Hoo?
- ...that the name Taplow of the burial mound at Taplow, comes from Old English Tæppas hláw ('Tæppa's mound'), so that the name of the man buried in the mound would seem to have been Tæppa?
- ...that the Ordinance Concerning the Dunsaete, which gave procedures for dealing with disputes between the English and the Welsh of Archenfield, stated that the English should only cross into the Welsh side, and vice versa, in the presence of an appointed man who had to make sure that the foreigner was safely escorted back to the crossing point?
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Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England
Conflict in Anglo-Saxon England
Fiction set in Anglo-Saxon England
Peoples of Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon studies scholars
Viking Age in the British Isles
Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit from the Gospel of Matthew. The Lindisfarne Gospels (now kept in the British Library) is an illuminated manuscript gospel book produced around the year 700.
Saint Edith of Wilton (also known as Eadgyth, her name in Old English, or as Editha or Ediva, the Latin forms of her name) was an English nun, a daughter of the 10th century King Edgar of England, born at Kemsing, Kent, in 961. Following her death in 984, she became the patron saint of her community at Wilton Abbey and churches were dedicated to her in Wiltshire and in other parts of England. Her life was written by Goscelin, and her feast day is on 16 September. (more...)
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