|Anglians||The Battle of Winwaed|
|Early Anglo-Saxon Settlement||Mercia under Penda|
|The Christian Unconformity||Early English Topographic Names|
|Anglian Grave Goods||The origin of the Saxons, Angles and Jutes according to Bede|
|Anglian Boundaries||Anglian Deities|
|The Saints bring Christianity to The North||Anglian Year according to Bede|
|Northumbrian Kings||Anglian Social Hierarchy|
|Middle Anglo-Saxon Settlements||Anglian place-names|
The term "Anglo-Saxon" is a misnomer, used by the Normans for legal purposes. The migrant groups were distinct enough for Bede to refer to them as discrete groups, the Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes and Frisians
There had been a small Christian community in Roman York in the late 100's their bishop attending the Council of Arles in 314.
410-411 AD Romans left Britain
420 Britain instructed by Rome to defend itself, the Anglian and Saxon raids increased, as the Roman "Saxon Shore " forts fell to the invaders.
425 In the south the British king Vortigern requested two men from Angeln, Hengist and Horsa to help keep the invaders out of Britain. These two had been mercenaries in the Roman army and with their group of followers they entered Britain to fight against the Picts who were invading from the north.
450 Anglians from southern Denmark colonise land in the Yorkshire Wolds.
Hengists second daughter after Octa, Rowena, who was pagan married Vortigern, a British Christian, their son was Vortimer.
457 Horsa travelled to the north to assist the Brigantes (British) against the Picts and was slain at Conisbrough, thereafter lawlessness ranged for a period of 90 years in the North. The medieval castle here may lie over an Anglo-Saxon earthwork. The former Roman army mercenary from the continent, Horsa may have been buried here. Hengist became king of Kent.
589 Aethelfrith (son of Ethelric who was the
4th son of Ida) succeeded to Deira, he married Acca daughter of Aelle.
593 Aethelfrith becomes king of Bernicia and thus Northumbria.
597 The Frankish monk (St.) Augustine is sent by Pope Gregory to England he lands in Kent from Rome and establishes a Roman Church at Canterbury.
600 Little progress made by the Anglians as the British (Celtic,Welsh) repulsed the incursions.
Urien of Rheged (principality in S.W. Scotland) pushes Anglians back to Lindisfarne on the east coast of Northumbria.
600 Paulinus arrives in Kent from Rome.
601 Augustine becomes the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
603 Aethelfrith fights against the Scottii.
During the 500's The Pennines were in the control
of the British.
In the early 600's Yeavering was built for King Edwin and his successors in the Kingdom of Bernicia.
616 Aethelfrith calls upon the King of East
Anglia, Redwald, to hand over Edwin or kill him. King Raedwald may
have had his capital at Rendlesham, Suffolk. Redwald refused and lead a battle
against Aethelfrith near the River Idle8. It may be the
Sutton Hoo ship in East Anglia and its helmet that are Redwald's as
no body was ever found in the ship.However phosphatic sand was found in the
hull which could be skeletal remains
616-617 Aethelfrith fights back against the British (Celtic, North Welsh), when he defeats the Welsh King Powys at Chester in 616. Aethelfrith utilised the Roman road from York to swiftly defeat the British at Chester15. This separated the Welsh Britons from the Strathclyde Britons and was thus a decisive victory. Anglians now pushed west through the Pennines into what is now Lancashire. The Midgley and Heptonsall areas could have been settled at this time. The British Kingdom of Elmete was still in existence until Edwin of Northumbria attacked it in 626 See Elmete location map
Thus the three decisive battles the Anglians and Saxons fought against the British were:
Catterick ca 590
617 Aethelfrith dies in battle slain by Eadwin
(Edwine). Edwin was Acca's brother.
Edwin of Deira, returns from exile in East Anglia with Redwald and seizes the Anglian Northumberland.
Edwin names Edinburgh ("Edwin's borough"). The Bernicean family Eanfrith seeks refuge in Dalriada. Edwin is thought to have resided at Yeavering Bell, N.W. of Earle.
617-619 Rheged & Loidis Regio (Elmete or Elmet) is taken by Edwin along with the Isle of Man.
Edwin defeated the King of Elmete, Ceretic who had employed British guerilla warfare.Ceretic was maintained as a client king.
Elmet was a Celtic/Romano British (Welsh) kingdom its capital was at Leeds (Loidus), Elmete now lost its independence. Selby and Elmet area history (Yorkshire) Some Anglian settlement may have occured after this time,when Midgley was established as a settlement site to the west of the region.
To the S.E. of Wentbridge are A/S inhumations at North Elmshall and Whitehart Farm (grid ref 477127). There are others at Womersley to the N.E. and Knottingley to the North. From the grave goods these are likely to be pagan burials (Christian burials did not have grave goods) and probably predate 650. See Saxon inhumations at Berinsfield, Oxon.
Pagan burials (cemetaries) were probably sited on boundaries of the communities land. Middle Field is at the centre of a triangle made by joining these three inhumation sites.
Inhumations were in distinct family groups, separately oriented and containing people of all ages and both sexes and all conditions of life. With primary internments barrows were thrown up at the time. The small number of pagan burials in the North compared with the South of England may be explained as Christianity probably arrived in the North sooner than thought, thus it is suggested that burials occurred in the settlement under existing cemetaries.
The marshes of the Humber restricted the N-S traffic
towards the west along the line of the Roman road from Doncaster to Tadcaster
& York. Dykes just south of Tadcaster (The Becca Banks which face south-Becca
was an Anglo-Saxon personage) may represent an interuption of this corridor
whilst one to the south between Doncaster and Sheffield may represent another.This
boundary could have been a frontier between Northumbria and Mercia and possibly
an earlier Celtic boundary.It may have protected Northumbria and Elmete
or perhaps the Anglian Hatfield Chase.
The Sheaf river runs east-west through Sheffield, sheaf means "boundary river" in Anglian and probably formed the boundary of the kingdom of Elmete in an earlier period. The Humber also formed a boundary for Northumberland as did the Mersey River.
Dore which lies on the boundary of Mercia and Northumbria ("Door") a Pennine pass may have been a meeting place between the kings of Mercia and Northumbria.
Running north from Doncaster may be another boundary called Roman Ridge, the line of a Roman road. East of present day Leeds lies "Roman Rig" passing through Penda's Crossing which may mark another boundary.Others have suggested That Penda's crossing is the site of Winwaed Field.
On the Ordnance Survey of Dark Age Britain Becca Banks are shown as being of Celtic Dark Age, that is British origin. They may therefore represent boundaries to the British Kingdom of Elmete.
The Saints who brought Christianity to Yorkshire & Northumberland:
|St. Paulinus from France||* The first great Archbishop of York
*Disciple of Pope St. Gregory the Great who sent him to assist St. Augustine
*He converted Edwin who was baptised Easter Day 627 at York.
*Edwin commenced Cathederal of York immediately.
|St. Paulinus 's Day: October the 10th|
|St. Wilfrid of York||*Wilfrid was a Saxon.
*He was the 3rd Archbishop of York & Northumbria.
*Founded Ripon monastery, now a Cathederal where he was buried in the crypt.
*Cathederal dedicated to God in the names of St. Peter & St. Wilfrid.
Wilfrid was followed by Thurstan who died in 1140
|St. Wilfrid's Day is commemorated on October 12th|
|St. William of York||*Son of King Stephen's sister Emma.
*May have died from a poisoned chalice
|St. William's Day commemorated on June
He died 1154
|St. John of Beverley (Beaver-lea)||*Archbishop of York in 705
*Born at Harpham near Driffield.
*Educated under St.Hilda, he taught and ordained The Venerable Bede.
*1st bishop of Hexham
*Built a cell at Beverley to retire from the office of Archbishop which later became a monastery (=Minster)
|St. Hilda (St. Hild of Streoneshalch)||*Princess Hild was related to king
Edwin (great neice) & embraced Christianity at the same time as the
*Later trained by St. Aidan
*Founded many monasteries
Abbess of Whitby
*Kings & princes sought her council as a pious woman
|born circa 614, died 12th November 680|
The Saxons had Shriving bells in their churches (Shrive=
confess), originally rung from 6 or 7am, noon and 7 or 8pm. Now it is rung
at 11 am on Shrove Tuesday ("The Pancake Bell").
It became necessary for the people to give "tithes" to the church (one tenth of their wealth).
632 Edwin and his Christian son Osfrid(Osric)
are slain by the heathens Penda & Cadwallon at Hatfield Chase,
near Doncaster as a result Mercia took Elmet. Northumbria fell
back to its constituent parts. Eadfrid (Eadfrith) surrendered to
Penda and fled to Mercia (his grand-daughter, Hild became Abbess
of Whitby or Streoneshalch).
But in 632 the Christian Oswald of Bernicia returned from exile with Irish monks on Iona, ascended the throne & retook Elmet in 633 at Haethfelth near Doncaster. It is believed that Northumbrian kings may have established a palace at Doncaster which was later destroyed by the Danes.The Roman roads were still used for the movement of armies, here the road from Lincoln to York was utilised near Doncaster.
Oswald is believed to have resided at Milfield (Yeavering Bell), Nothumberland.
633 Oswald the Celtic Christian defeats the pagans, Penda of Mercia & the Cymric king Cadwallon of North Wales near Hexham (Hefenfelth or Heavenfield) and retakes the North. These two battles reasserted Northumbria's power. The Northern part was Bernicia (Beornice) and the southern part Deira (Dere or Deur), Deira had been the Roman name for York City. Deira was taken over by Germanic mercenaries.
633 Osiric ruled Deira until 634 and Eanfrid the same year.
634 Paulinus had returned to the Roman Christian Church in Kent so Oswald asked the Irish monks to send Aidan who founded the Celtic Christian Church at Lindisfarne.As a result the Celtic Christians established monasteries throughout the North. Cuthbert was bishop of Lindisfarne until his death in 687.
635 (St). Aidan the Celtic Christian missionary proselytising in N. England.
642 According to Bede (St.) Oswald king of Northumbria is killed in battle at Masserfeld (Masserfelth) near Wigan, Lancashire, he is beheaded by the pagan Penda of Mercia. In this year a stone cross is erected at Staincross, South Yorkshire. Stone crosses were erected wherever Christian worship took place.
642 At Winwidfield near Leeds Penda and Ethelbert were slain, Oswy was victorious12.
(but see Winwaed field 655 below)
643 Penda of Mercia seizes Lindsey, Elmet and a large part of Deira (Yorkshire) from Northumbria. This area is placed under the rule of Edwin's grandson Osric
647 Hild took the veil from the Celtic Bishop Aidan of Lindisfarne.
652 Penda attacks northern Northumbria as far as Bamburgh with the assistance of Ethelwald, king of Deira.
Paeda the son of Penda is baptised and married to the daughter of King Oswy of Northumbria near the Roman Wall (Hexham?).
|King||Reign||Duration of Reign||Comments|
|Aelle||551-592||41||Ruled Deira, fought against Cerdic the British King who died 616|
|Aethelfrith||593-616||28||Ruled Bernicia, united & ruled Northumbria,
killed by Edwin in battle.
|Edwin||616-633||12||Ruled Deira. killed by Oswald in battle. Paulinus baptised Edwin Easter day 627|
|Eanfrith||Son of Aethelfrith, Ruled Bernicia. In exile in Edwin's reign in Dalriada, returned after Edwin's death. Converted to Christianity.|
Defeated Edwin. Killed in battle against Penda of Mercia
|Osywy (Osuiu)||642-670||28||He combined Deira & Bernicia.
Son or brother? of St.Oswald, converted to Christianity.
655-Battle of Winwaed*
650 -LEY names appear in the countryside.
|Oswine||Ruled Deira, murdered by Osywy in 651 at Gulling.|
|Ecgfrith||670-685||15||Wilfrid expelled by Ecgfrith.Defeated at Nechtansmere by Southern Picts.|
|Aldfrith||685-||Son of Ecgfrith
|After 700 Northumberland declines.|
Most medieval villages date from this time.1 Anglians and Saxons had an aversion for living inside the walled Roman towns, York (Eoforwich) was one of them. (wich [Latin : vicus]=settlement), populations only fleeing back when the Vikings attacked. The Vikings or Norse are often depicted with horns on their helments but no evidence of this has ever been found.
Here at York the Anglo-Saxon settlement lies to the
N.E. of the Roman city (under the present Gilbertine monastery AD 750-850),
after the Vikings settled in 910 they established their town to the
N.W. at Coppergate.
Towns with the name ending in -wich may have been trading towns, distinct from political centres. Other towns grew up around palaces as "Villa regalis".
650 "Beowulf" an epic Anglian poem which was probably being composed in Northern England or East Anglia at about this time (some say as late as 720 though). It was written before christianisation of England was complete. The characters are European pagan (Denmark & Southern Scandinavian historical).God is mentioned about every sixty lines.
|Osmotherley||Yorks. & Westmorland.|
|Staveley||Two in Westmorland and a third in Yorkshire.|
|Midgley||Near Halifax and S.W. of Wakefield|
|Middleton||N.of Ilkley & S.of Leeds.|
|Hebdenbridge/Hebden||Hebdenbridge and Hebden near Grassington.|
|Crofton||Near Heptonstall & near Wakefield.|
|Slack||Heptonstall Slack near Huddersfield.|
|Stansfeld/Stanley||nr. Heptonstall and Stanley near Wakefield.|
|Cawthorn(e)||S. Yorks. & N. Yorks.|
|Newsholme||Near Howden Humberside and nr. Keighley|
|First Settlements (AD 410-650)||Second Settlements (AD 650-800)|
|ING, INGS, INGTON,INGHAM, HAM, TON, HAMTON.
In Yorks. & Lincs. these are represented east of Doncaster.
|LEY, LEA, FIELD, FOLD, HURST, HIRST, HOUGH,
DON, FORD, DENN, SEY, NEY.
In West & South Yorkshire most of these are represented by old forested.
664 The Synod of Whitby was convened. There
were two parties:
1. The Celtic Party
2. The Roman Party
The Celtic Party was composed of Osywy (Earl of Northumberland), Cedd the Bishop of the East Saxons who came from Northumbria, Hild (Abbess of Whitby), and Colmar (Bishop of Lindisfarne)
The Roman Party consisted of Alchfrith (son of Osywy), Agilberht (a bishop of the West Saxons, James The Deacon and (St.) Wilfrid of Ripon Monastery.
Wilfrid supported the Roman date for Easter, Hild did not, Osywy's daughter, Aelffled did.
They discussed where to place Easter. Easter was placed according to the Roman Church rather than the Celtic Churches wishes. King Osywy decided in favour of the Papal Party probably because he was influenced by the claim of Pope Gregory that he had been trusted with the keys of heaven & hell. By this time most of England was Christian6.
Circa 671 the Celtic kingdom of Rheged (Cumbria and Dumfies) are captured by Northumbria.
672/3 Bede is born (later wrote the Ecclesiastical History)
674 Ecgfrith is defeated by the Mercians on the Trent. In the same year a monastery is built at Monkwearmouth near the mouth of the Wear by Benedict Biscop, the land being granted by Ecgfrith.
677 Ecgfrith king of Northumbria expels Wilfrid from Northumbria. Wilfrid had induced Ecgfriths wife, Aethelthryth (Audrey) to become a Christian, she became a nun. Audrey was the daughter of King Anna of East Anglia. There was no issue. Previously Audrey had been married to Tondberct who had died in battle. Audrey founded the monastery of Ely.
681 or 684 Jarrow established by Benedict Biscop,
again the land was granted by Ecgfrith.
685 Ecgfrith is defeated by the Picts at Nechtansmere and dies. Wilfrid returned to Ripon on Ecgfriths death. From here there is a decline in the power of Northumbria.
691 Wilfrid expelled from Northumbria for the second time by Aldfrith who is more Celtic Christian.
Before 700 Caedmon dies. He was a lay brother in charge of animals at Whitby Abbey, he became a monk late in life. He wrote "Caedmon's Hymn" an A/S poem of the creation. Possibly written in the last part of the 600's. Caedmon had been born into a pagan world and so knew both aspects.
By 700 Northumbria had passed its political power and was taken over by Northmen. Mercia was in ascendancy.
709 Wilfrid dies at Oundle monastery after being restored to his monasteries of Ripon & Hexham.
731 Bede completes the first history of England. ( Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People.)
735, 25th May The Venerable Bede dies at Jarrow. He spent his ecclesiastical life on Holy
Island, Northumbria and recorded much of the history, but archaeology has shown the picture of migration and settlement discussed to be more complex than he ever indicated.
Bede mentions three stronger peoples in Germany, one group the Angles from Angeln he recrds as living between the the lands of the Saxons and that of the Jutes.
In Englansd the Anglians formed the East Anglians, Middle Anglians, Mercians, Northumbrians (North of the Humber) with other Anglian tribes.
In the 600's Northumbria was strongest under King Edwin, by the 700's Mercia was ascendant under Egbert & Offa.
780 circa- an iron and brass Anglian helmet from this period has been found at Coppergate, York.
793 Vikings invading Lindisfarne Island
794 They attacked Jarrow.
795 attacked Iona.
EARLY ENGLISH TOPOGRAPHICAL NAMES AND THEIR MEANINGS:
|hlaw, hloew, beorh||barrow or mound||both natural and artificial|
|feld, field||plain, open space|
|leah||wood or clearing in wood|
|weoh||idol or shrine|
|frogga||frog||Norse: froskr, Old High German: Forsk|
The Saxons were mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd Century A.D. as settled in S. Jutland around the mouth of the River Elbe and nearby islands. They spread across the Wesser. They were ruled by chieftains (princes). By the 3rd-4th centuries they were raiding the North Sea coast (Litora Saxonica) into S.E. Britain and from the Loire to Sheldt.
By 450 A.D. they were starting to settle Britain, they were, like the Angles established by the end of the 500's
These groups originated from Holstein on both sides of the River Elbe as far south as the rivers Ems, Rhine, Sieg and Unstrut6. The Old Saxons moved East and conquered Thuringia and occupied N.W. Germany. They colonised S.E. England (Kent, Essex & Sussex)
According to Bede these formed the East Saxons (Essex), West Saxons (Wessex) & the South Saxons (Sussex)
The Angles (Englet):
Originated from a district still called Angeln between Schleswig and Flensburg6 north of the Eider. They colonised Humber, Lincoln, north East Anglia (Norfolk) and south East Anglia(Suffolk). Regions such as Deira, Bernicia, Lindsey formed in the North.
According to Bede the Angles formed the East Anglians, Middle Anglians, Mercians & Northumbrians.
Originated from the banks of the lower Rhine 6
According to Bede these formed the folk of Kent, Isle of Wight & the coast opposite the Isle of Wight.
There was mixing of the Angles, Saxons & Jutes before migration.
Pre Christian ANGLO-SAXON DEITIES:
Reference: “Legends of the Northmen"
by K.M. Midgley published by A. Wheaton & Co. Paternoster Press Exeter.
These names are all found as prefixes to Saxon, Angle and Jutish place names
|DEITY||COMMENT||DAY OF THE WEEK|
|Woden||(in Norse: Odin husband to Freya) wind god, nickname: Grim, hence Woden's Dyke (Wansdyke) and Grim's Dyke||Wednesday
(Roman: Mercury's Day)
|Thunor||(Norse:Thor) Thunder god, red hair, beard, thunderbolt, hammer.||Thursdsay
(Roman: Jupiter's or Jove's Day)
|Frigg||Mother goddess of Earth. Goddess of love &
fecundity, wife to Frey.
(Norse: Freya wife of Odin), in Norse mythology she was a fertility goddess with exaggerated sexual organs. @
Christians made Frigg, Mary.
In Norse mythology there is also Frea-Ing, a God who is the brother of Fija/Freja18
(Roman: Venus's Day)
|Tiw||Chief god, sky father, god of death. The upright Runic arrow (letter T) was often marked on swords.||Tuesday
(Roman: Mar's Day)
|Balder (Phol or Pule)#||Son of Odin & Frigg. The God of dying vegetation
who afterwards returns to his lover-Earth. Brother to the blind Hod(ur).
Nanna was Balders wife.
Balder was killed by a bough of mistletoe thrown by Hod who was misled by the malicious Loki.
The Christians made Balder Christ. Nanna had a sister Senna the Moon Maiden.
|There is no derived week name but many place names have Balder as their origin e.g. Pule Hill- at least 3 places in Yorkshire, Bolsterstone, Baldersley, Polesleah.|
|Loki (Loke)||Husband of Hag
Loki misled Hod to kill Balder. Mallerstang, Cumbria:
The Parish church is built on the site of a Saxon church which contains relics including the "Loki Stone" from the 700's. Loki was the Norse god representing a bound devil, this is one of only two known in Europe.
Loki or Luck was seen as evil10.
|Monday- Moon Day|
|Sunday- Sun Day|
(Roman: Saturn's Day)
# Balder would bleed to death(Winter) he was immune from injury except from mistletoe, kissing under the mistletoe may derive from this (loved one is not immune from its effects)
@ In Ireland Freya or Frigg was called Sighle-na-gcioch,
in Scotland, Sile-nagaioc, in England Sheela-na-gig. There are 70 known Sheelas
in Ireland 23 in Gt. Britain,18 in England, 17 in Christian churches and
one in Royston, Hertfordshire, which is the only one not in a church6(p.
The Norse legends give Odin as the chief God. The Gods lived in Asgard where Valhalla or Gladsheim Palace lay. The giants lived in a place called Hel. Below Asgard was a place called Midgard and below this, caverns where skilled dwarves (elves & pixies) lived. These were originally friends of the Gods.
Bede describes how a pagan Temple at Godmanham in the East Riding was destroyed. Coifu the high priest destroyed the idols & altars.
The church suppressed heathen references in their ecclesiastical writings.
The Saxons connected gods with trees especially the oak tree because of its susceptibility to lightning strikes and hence its association with the god Thor.("The blasted oak" of Shakespeare).
Elder Trees however were held never to be struck by lightning. The Anglian and Saxon communities used it in their folklore referring to it as Eldrun which was later corrupted to Hyldor and Hyllan. Danish legend connected this tree with magic, believing that in the branches dwelt a dryad, Hylde-Moer, the Elder-tree Mother, and that if one stood under the tree on Mid-summer eve, one would see the king of Fairyland and all his train ride by. They also believed that a child's cradle should not be made of elder wood, for Hylde-Moer would come and pull the child's legs, giving it no peace until it was lifted out!
Elder is described as the "medicine chest of the country folk All parts of the plant can be used.17
There are numerous mentions of apples in Anglo-Saxon texts which would be the crabapple.
The Anglo-Saxon Year according
25 December: Heathen Year begins
26 December : "Mothers Night" (now "Boxing Night")
First month: Modern Yule (Giuli)
Second month: Solmonath (cakes offered to Gods-ploughing of loaves into the first furrow)
Third: Hretha (Goddess)
Fourth: Eostre (Easter) named after the Goddess
Fifth: Thrimilci -cows milked three times a day
Sixth & seventh: Litha (moon)
Eighth: Weodmonath weed month
Ninth: Halegmonath (holy month) month of offerings (Harvest Festival)
Tenth :Wintirfyllith (winter full moon) first full moon of winter
Eleventh: Blotmonath (blood month) sacrifice & killing of animals for winter.
Twelth: Also called Giuli (O.E. Geol= Yule)
2. Eorl (Earl)
3.Thegn (Thane).A freeman up to 5 hides* of land. He could own slaves.
4. Ceorl (churl). A freeman
5a) Farmer 1 hide of land. 5b) Craftsmen
6. Blacksmith. A freeman
[* a hide of land provided enough food for 1 family]