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The Anglo-Saxons were not one distinct group of people but rather a number of peoples who shared a common background and similar cultures. The Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes, the Franks, and the Frisians were originally living in northern Europe along the coast to the east of England in regions that today we recognise as Belgium, Holland, northern Germany, and Denmark.

They first came to Britain in the 4th century, raiding Roman settlements but the raids turned to mass emigrations in the 5th to 6th centuries as the Roman Empire withdrew from Britain and left the province unguarded. By the 7th century these new peoples had firmly established themselves driving the previous Roman citizens into the west of the country. The 9th century saw Britain divided into 4 rival kingdoms; Northumbria, which was predominantly inhabited by the Angles, Mercia, East Anglia, and a strong presence of Saxons in Wessex.

Christianity came to Britain in the 6th century with the arrival of St. Augustine on a papal mission from Rome to convert the heathens. He became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

Power shifted between the kingdoms with first Northumbria and then Mercia became the dominant force. This infighting was halted with the Viking invasions, however. They conquered all the British kingdoms except Wessex, which survived under the leadership of King Alfred the Great. The conquered lands were known as ‘Dane-Law’ and survived until 954 when a Saxon army from Wessex defeated and killed the Viking King of Jorvik, Eric Bloodaxe. This event saw all 4 regions united into a single kingdom under the rule of King Edred. Anglo-Saxon England was born.

England was a rich country and the Saxons wore their gold with both pride and vanity. The Staffordshire gold hoard, discovered in 2009 gives a tantalising glimpse into the wealth of the Saxon world. It was in fact this very gold that originally brought the Vikings and it was still abundant when the Duke of Normandy set his eyes on the English crown.

Throughout The Sorrow Song Trilogy original Saxon words are used in both the dialogue and the body of the text. For a full list of the Saxon and Norse words please left click here

The Sorrow Song Trilogy © 2013 Peter C. Whitaker. All Rights Reserved.