The Anglo-Saxons were fearsome warriors that were born to fight, they were naturally strong people from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. As soon as the Anglo-Saxons left their ships they were looking for a fight, they battled their way inland stealing, looting and taking any land they could on the way.
Anglo-Saxons usually settle down to become farmers once they had conquered territory and usually divided it into small parcels of land, each person would get a small plot that they could grow food on for their family, they also had to give a percentage of the food to the Anglo-Saxon King each year. An Anglo-Saxon man who owned a small plot of land was called a ceorl pronounced churl and his land was called a hide.
Anglo Saxon Life was structured into a clearly defined hierarchy of Freemen such as Nobility and Slaves, Religion was very important element of the Anglo Saxon society Read more about the Anglo Saxon Life >>
Anglo Saxons used mainly infantry during battles and the main bulk of the army were not professional Soldiers and were mainly peasants, mercenaries and Professional soldiers were also used. Read more about the Anglo Saxon Warriors >>
The Anglo Saxons had to fight many wars against the Britons and Welsh to hold onto and expand their territory, eventually being weakened and defeated by the Vikings, they finally lost out to the Norman armies Read more about the Anglo Saxon Wars >>
Anglo-Saxons had a different culture than British Christians, they were pagans who prayed to many different gods, they believed that there were gods of rocks, trees and the Sun etc.
The Anglo Saxons believed in a strong family unit and were very loyal to their relatives even distant relatives.
If an Anglo Saxons relative was killed this was not accepted by Anglo-Saxon families and they would either kill the person in revenge or demand some form of compensation for their loss.
This compensation was set in law and was structured whereas the rich got more and the lower classes of people got less compensation money.
Anglo Saxon settlements in England in early period of 400-500
Anglo Saxon social structure
There was a social order for Anglo Saxons that they had to follow, first there was the lower people in society who owned a small plots of land called churls, these formed the majority of Anglo-Saxon people.
Next in line was a thegn pronounced thane, these people own five plots of land (hides)
Next up the social ladder of importance was the Anglo Saxon church and above them was the Anglo-Saxon King.
Anglo Saxon kings dined with and looked after the strongest men in their tribes to win their loyalty.
Sometimes rival Anglo-Saxon kings from other areas would support each other if there was a common purpose, this meant that the King with less men and the weaker army would support a stronger King in battles and keep him happy with the giving of valuable gifts.
This could be one of the reasons that Anglo Saxons were always raiding and looting other people’s territory because of this social structure of giving gifts to one another to keep their loyalty.
Anglo Saxon King
The Anglo-Saxon King would collect food and goods from each Anglo-Saxon family, the wealthier Anglo-Saxon people with five plots of land would give more than the low-level Anglo-Saxons who only had small plots of land.
Anglo-Saxon Kings had administrators who decided how much food and gifts each family should give each year to the Anglo-Saxon King.
The Anglo-Saxon King had to be a very strong leader, he was basically the strongest and bravest warrior and regularly had to fight off challenges to his leadership by other strong Anglo-Saxon Warriors.
Anglo Saxon Housing
Considering it was the seventh century Anglo-Saxons lived in quite well built properties, Anglo-Saxon people tended to be strong and good with their hands, houses were built close to the fields where they grew their food and were made from solid wooden frames that were finished off with a combination of reeds mixed with mud.
The Anglo-Saxon King as you might expect had the best home, he lived in a giant ornate long hall, this large building was designed so that the Anglo-Saxon King could entertain and have large feasts with his most loyal warriors who were usually thegn’s.
These Anglo Saxon warriors were well looked after by the Anglo Saxon King, who did this to keep their loyalty to stop them challenging his authority.
The Kings hall usually had a cooking area in the middle of the room where the food for feasts would be cooked, and long wooden tables down both sides where the King and his loyal supporters would be brought food and ale as entertainers told stories set to music.
Anglo Saxon Food
The low-level Anglo-Saxon people with only small plots of land ate what they grew themselves this was mainly oats, wheat, barley beans and peas.
They ate meat from the animals they raised such as pigs, sheep, goats and cows.
The King also ate the same kind of foods, however there was properly a greater quantity and better quality of food available to him.
Anglo Saxon England
The Anglo-Saxons lived in England during the period around the seventh century however they came from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands and spoke a Germanic language, few of them were able to read or write anything.
This Germanic language was changed and adapted as time went on and was adopted across Anglo Saxon England, this led to it becoming the universal language spoken called “English” and is a language that is commonly used throughout the world today.
The clothes worn by Anglo Saxon people in different medieval periods.
Anglo Saxon Women and Slaves
Anglo Saxon women spent most that time spinning and weaving thread they also tended to jobs that would be classed as housewife duties today like cleaning, designing furnishings, making bed linen etc.
They also served drinks such as ale which was made from a fermenting of honey, in Anglo Saxon times called Mead and is similar to the ales we drink today.
Anglo-Saxon women lived like slaves and had few rights, they did all the dirty menial jobs in Anglo-Saxon society.
Anglo-Saxons also commonly had slaves who were captured in their conquest and others were born into slavery from previous generations of slaves.
Anglo Saxon men – Hunting and fighting
Anglo Saxon men were probably very strong because of their active lifestyles they spent most of the time farming or hunting for food, they were very good hunters who use dogs to track down animals such as deer and wild boars and they even trained hawks to hunt other birds for them.
They were very in tune with nature and knew how animals behaved and how best to use nature to their advantage.
Anglo-Saxon men were always battle ready they were armed with long spears that had sharp iron points, some Anglo-Saxon fighters had battleaxes and swords, they had to pay for their weapons and only the wealthier members of the Anglo-Saxon tribes had superior weapons.
Anglo Saxon Helmets
Only very wealthy Anglo-Saxons such as the King would have Anglo Saxon helmets, these were difficult to make and quite rare and were usually decorated with bronze, gold and silver and even jewels were attached to these helmets which sometimes doubled up as crowns for Anglo-Saxon Kings.
Anglo Saxon clothes and fashion
Anglo Saxons usually made their clothing from wool and linen, it was designed to be comfortable and practical, they also added decorations to make the clothing look superior and who use plant juices as a die to add color.
Anglo-Saxon people usually wore loose fitting tunics that were gathered at the waist by a belt they were either full length or stopped at the knee, with leggings worn underneath.
When it was cold thick cloaks were worn that were kept in place by metal brooches. The King wore similar clothes but they were usually of a better quality. Leather was also widely used by Anglo-Saxon people to make bags, shoes and other similar items.
Anglo Saxon Facts:
Anglo -Saxons were fearsome fighters of early medieval times
Anglo -Saxons invaded from the North Sea on ships
Anglo -Saxons would raid and pillage wealth and land
Anglo-Saxon people originated from Denmark, Germany and Holland
Anglo-Saxon King demanded a list of goods be collected from families each year
Anglo-Saxon people lived off the land and ate a basic diet
The King lived in a large ornate hall where he entertained his most loyal supporters
Anglo-Saxons drank liquid called Mead which is similar to the ale we drink today
Anglo-Saxons created the English-language which is known throughout the world today
Anglo-Saxons were pagans who believed in many gods
Anglo Saxon women had limited lives and were kept at home
Slaves in Anglo-Saxon times had no rights and we usually captured or born into slavery
Anglo-Saxon men were very active hunters and were always ready for battle
Anglo-Saxon people were very well clothed and even had leather shoes and bags
Only medieval Anglo-Saxon King’s had helmets and they were decorated in Silver, Gold and Jewels
Anglo-Saxons named days of the week after their gods
Thursday was Thor day – he was the god of war and thunder