The Anglo Saxons

Around AD 450, Saxon raiders established a foothold in the southeast of Britain. Over the next half century more strongholds were established along the south and east coasts, forming a chain of Germanic settlements. These early Angles and Saxons were followed by new settlers, who helped expand the limits of this new culture, creating the new Anglo-Saxon nation of (England.

Right: Detail of decoration from a hanging bowl found among the Sutton Hoo ship-burial hoard. Sutton Hoo, Sussex, England.

Below: This beautiful purse lid from the ship-burial at Sutton Hoo has been dated as early 7th century.

he Angles, Saxons, and Jutes arrived in southeast Britain as raiders, then later as settlers. Their origins have been traced to northern Germany, between the Elbe and the Weser rivers for the Saxons, and from the Jutland peninsula for the Jutes. The Angles inhabited the land in between, encompassing the modern cities of Bremen and Hamburg. This development from raiders to settlers is generally assumed to have taken place about AD 450.

The Saxon chieftain 1 iengist was granted Kent by the sub-Roman high-king Vortigcrn in return for military help against the Jutes who were stationed in the region. Hengist promptly broke any further alliances with the Britons, and by the time he was succeeded by his son /Ere, Kent had become a secure bastion of Saxon power.

By about 480, the Saxon leader /Elle arrived

Saxon Shore Forts Map

at Selsey Bill on the Sussex coast (derived from the appellation "South Saxon"). He drove the opposing Celts into the forests of the Weald. /Elle even stormed and captured the Saxon shore fort of Anderida, massacring the garrison when they surrendered. While Sussex was consolidated into a Saxon settlement, other Saxon adventurers landed near the site of Southampton, and laid the foundations for the Saxon kingdom of Wessex ("West Saxon") in the process.

Below: This beautiful purse lid from the ship-burial at Sutton Hoo has been dated as early 7th century.

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