Anglo Saxon Weapons and Weaponry

Anglo Saxons used many different types of weapons in warfare. The mode of Anglo Saxon warfare was primarily on foot with horseback combat a rare instance in Anglo Saxon battles.

Consequently, the type of weapons which were commonly used by the Anglo Saxon was mostly meant for effective on-foot combat.

Anglo Saxon Wars

Some of these weapons were hurled and meant as missiles to be used from a distance while others were used as primary weapons in close combat.


Anglo Saxon warriors typically used two different types of spears. One type of spear was used by the Anglo Saxon at the beginning of a battle when warriors from both sides would hurl this spear as missiles at each other.

Anglo Saxon Warrior Wearing Anglo Saxon Armour

This type of spear was typically small and most Anglo Saxon warriors carried more than one such spear.

Medieval Spears

The other type of spear used by the Anglo Saxons was longer, usually between 5 feet to 10 feet in length and made from ash, maple or oak wood.

Anglo Saxon Warfare

This type of spear was meant for close combat once the shield walls of the two armies came close. Anglo Saxons mostly used this second type of spear in an overhand motion for thrusting attacks against enemy warriors.

Anglo Saxon Armour

Anglo Saxon Spears and Armour


Much like the smaller variety of spears or javelins, the Anglo Saxons also used small axes with sharp blade heads meant as hurling missiles. The blades of such axes were typically curved, often in the shape of the letter “S”.

Anglo Saxon Axe

Given their small size, Anglo Saxons would throw these axes from a distance in an overhand motion so that they would rotate as they were hurled through the air.

When thrown with adequate power, the blade of such a throwing Axe would lodge itself into the shield of the attacker, often piercing through the shield as well as the Armour.

Early Wooden Medieval Knights Shield

Anglo Saxon Shield


Knives were a part of the weaponry used by the Anglo Saxons. Anglo Saxon warriors usually used a wide variety of knives, some of them meant as effective close-combat weapons while others intended for everyday practical use.

Most of the Anglo Saxon knives were single-edged and categorized as small or long.

The Anglo Saxon People

Smaller knives measured between 3 and 12 inches in length while longer knives measured nearly 30 inches in length.

Knives were also used to denote the independence of a person within Anglo Saxon society, thereby related to the social status of an individual.


Swords were considered highly valuable weapons among the Anglo Saxon nobles. They were usually owned by the leading noblemen and were mostly meant for decorative purposes.

The length of Anglo Saxon swords was 37 inches and they were heavy enough to serve as effective cutting and slashing weapons.

Anglo Saxon Warriors

The stroke of Anglo Saxon swords was mostly downwards which, when aided by a heavy and sharp blade, was effective in cutting through the shield and armour of an opponent.

However, the sword was rarely used by the Anglo Saxon as a primary weapon in close combat.

Baselard Sword Medieval Sword

It was rather reserved to deal a final stroke to an already wounded enemy.

Most Anglo Saxon swords were richly decorated and served as family heirlooms over subsequent generations.