Anglo-Saxons and The English - The Birth of a Nation

Time required – 60 minutes

Tomb of King Athelstan of Wessex
The effigy and tomb of King Athelstan of Wessex who is widely acknowledged as the first 'King of England' after AD937.

This popular, heart-warming presentation looks at the birth and growth of culture and language in 'Anglo-Saxon England' between the 5th and 11th centuries. It considers what existed before that period and comments on four centuries of Roman occupation.

The talk describes the invasion of 'England' by hordes of European tribes after the departure of Roman legions in AD410 and looks at the origins of 'Angles', 'Saxons', 'Jutes' and 'Frisians'. Time is spent considering Old English texts, which provide us with vital information about what happened next.

The move from pagan to Christian culture is explained and much of the material is devoted to descriptions of the early Kingdoms, particularly Kent, Mercia, 'East Angles' and the all-important Wessex. The talk moves on to a fascinating account of how and why the disparate kingdoms eventually submitted to one leader to form a united country. The vitally important roles played by Alfred the Great and his grandson Athelstan, are discussed.

The material includes information about contacts and marriage treaties between England and Normandy at the beginning of the 11th century. It concludes with a summary of the succession of Harold Godwinson and a description of the Norman invasion, which put an end to the Anglo-Saxons' tenure.

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