The Saxons

The Anglo-Saxon period in English History starts as the Roman occupation of the British Isles comes to an end. Saxon Rule gradually emerged and a variety of Saxon Kingdoms emerged. These united into England under one Saxon King. Saxon rule came to an end when the Normans successfully invaded England in 1066. The Anglo-Saxons left behind a wealth of literature about the period, most notably the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the work of Bede and the Lindisfarne Gospels. The epic poem Beowulf also dates from this period and is included within this unit of Source Material on Anglo-Saxon England.

Reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo Helmet
Reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo Helmet

Source material on The Saxons

Our posts and pages relating to Anglo-Saxon England.

Source: Animated Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. A series of animations that combine text from the Chronicle with maps, images from the chronicle and other visual aids to make the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle accessible.

Source: Charlemagne’s letter to Offa of Mercia. Explore the oldest example of diplomatic correspondence in English History. Sent by the Emperor of the Franks, to Offa, King of Mercia.

Source: The Venerable Bede, The Life of St. Cuthbert. Bede’s Life of St. Cuthbert provides us with an insight into the beliefs of the day, the workings of the monastic system and the miracles performed by St. Cuthbert.

Sources and Resource: Venerable Bede: Ecclesiastical History of England. Bede’s Ecclesiastical history of England is one of the earliest recorded histories of England and the British Isles. Though its primary focus is on the conversion from paganism to Christianity, it also covers Roman Britain.

Source: Asser, The Life of King Alfred. Asser was commissioned to write this biography of Alfred the Great by the King himself. As such it paints Alfred in a rather positive light! It is, however, an incredibly useful source for the period, covering a wide range of issues.

Source: The Life of St. Boniface. Boniface was an English priest who rose to become highly influential across Charlemagne’s Frankish Empire. He was also a significant figure in the English Church.

Source: King Athelwulf’s Grant of One Tenth of the Land. The grant of land to the Church increased the power and wealth of he Church in Wessex. It shows the importance of the Church at the time and establishes a base of authority for the church that had consequences for centuries to come.

Source: King Alfred the Great and Guthram’s Peace Treaty. A hugely significant treaty between the Kingdom of Wessex and Guthram, who controlled East Anglia. This treaty defined a boundary between the Saxons and Danes, sometimes seen as the establishment of Danelaw. It also set out rules for trade and the penalties for manslaughter should the peace be broken.

Source: Beowulf. The oldest epic in British History. Dating from the early Saxon era, Beowulf is a well-known tale of a Scandinavian Warrior.

Source: Cnut’s law on Intestacy. Though Cnut was not a Saxon, this law had relevancy in later Saxon England and into the Norman era. We have also listed this source in our index of Viking Sources.

Link: Women in Anglo-Saxon England. The British Library host an excellent unit on the Role of Women in Anglo-Saxon England. It contains a variety of image galleries and covers Women not only of high birth and rank, such as Queen Æthelflæd or Queen Emma, but also those in religious service such as Hilda right down to the experience of female Slaves in the period. Wonderful resource, packed with visual sources.

Do you want to find other Primary Sources for use in your lessons, or for research purposes? Visit our Primary Sources page to see which areas we currently have a range of sources for.

Primary History

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The Celts

The Saxons

The Vikings