Portal:Anglo-Saxon England

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Anglo-Saxon England

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Edward the Elder - MS Royal 14 B VI.jpg

Anglo-Saxon England lasted from the end of the Roman occupation of Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Norman conquest of England of October the 14th 1066. The Anglo-Saxons were Germanic tribes who settled in the southern half of Britain from continental Europe, and their descendants as well as indigenous people who adopted the Anglo-Saxon culture and language, in the 5th and 6th centuries. Their language, which is now called Old English, and the culture of the era, has long attracted popular and scholarly attention.

Until the 9th century, Anglo-Saxon England was dominated by the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Wessex. The Anglo-Saxons were initially pagans, but they converted to Christianity during the 7th century.

Facing the threat of Viking attacks that began in the 9th century, the kings of Wessex became dominant amongst the Anglo-Saxon rulers. During the 10th century, the individual kingdoms unified under the rule of Wessex to become the kingdom of England, which stood opposed to the Viking kingdoms established in the north and east of England. The Kingdom of England fell in the Viking invasion from Denmark in 1013 and again in 1016. England was ruled by the House of Denmark until 1042, when the Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex was restored. The last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold Godwinson, was killed in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings.

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The East Angles were initially ruled (from the 6th century until 749) by members of the Wuffingas dynasty, named after Wuffa, whose name means 'descendants of the wolf'. The last king was Guthrum II, who ruled in the 10th century.

After 749 East Anglia was ruled by kings whose genealogy is not known, or by sub-kings who were under the control of the kings of Mercia. East Anglia briefly recovered its independence after the death of Offa of Mercia in 796, but Mercian hegemony was soon restored by his successor, Coenwulf. Between 826 and 869, following an East Anglian revolt in which the Mercian king, Beornwulf, was killed, the East Angles again regained their independence. In 869 a Danish army defeated and killed the last native East Anglian king, Edmund the Martyr. The kingdom then fell into the hands of the Danes and eventually formed part of the Danelaw. In 918 the East Anglian Danes accepted the overlordship of Edward the Elder of Wessex. East Anglia then became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England. (more about the kings of East Anglia...)

Did you know?

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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The Devil's Dyke
Credit: Amitchell125

The Devil's Dyke (also called Reach Dyke or Devil's Ditch, once known as St Edmund's Ditch) is an earthwork near the village of Reach that is generally assumed to be an Anglo-Saxon earthwork. It is one of the largest and best surviving examples of its kind in England.

Selected biography

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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (/ˈtɒlkn/; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

After his death, Tolkien's son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings.

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