Hwaet! The Anglo-Saxons
In the 5th century, Britain was invaded by Saxons, Angles, and Jutes from northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. These Anglo-Saxons displaced the native Celts, and established their kingdoms across what is now modern-day England - the word ''Welsh' is from the Saxon for foreigner. The Anglo-Saxons in turn had to deal with Viking incursions into the north and east of England from the 8th century onwards. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms finally succumbed to conquest by Norman invaders from France in 1066. The Anglo-Saxon language, or Old English, survived as the vernacular forms of speech, and continued to develop into modern English.
This month we highlight the papers of archaeologists, historians, linguists and literary scholars, as well as collections of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and artefacts. We also include links to websites of heritage sites, museums, and other resources. This month's title is from the opening line of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, and means "Lo!".
Above right: Detail of Anglo-Saxon cross, re-used by the Normans in the foundations of York Minster. Photograph copyright of Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, University of Durham. Photographer: Tom Middlemass.
- Canterbury Cathedral Dean and Chapter: the first Anglo-Saxon cathedral, founded by St Augustine in the 8th century; this collection includes material from the early Middle Ages.
- Anglo-Saxon bookbindings: X-rays of Anglo-Saxon and 12th-century English bookbindings.
- Francis Junius (1589-1677): antiquary and philologist, with a particular interest in northern European languages.
- Christopher Hatton (1605-1670): collector of medieval manuscripts, including many written in Old English.
- Thorney Abbey: a history of the Benedectine abbey founded in the 10th century, and confiscated in the 16th century.
- Robert Waller (fl. 1777): author of a history of Ripon from Saxon times, including the life of the 7th century St Wilfrid, and the 10th century charter of King Athelstan.
- Samuel Weller Singer (1783-1858): literary scholar; worked on a dictionary of Old English.
- George Ormerod (1785-1873): historian; author of Remarks on a line of earth-works in Tidenham, known as Offa's Dyke, 1859.
- Joseph Bosworth (1787/8-1876): Old English scholar; author of Elements of Anglo-Saxon Grammar, 1823, and his Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, 1838.
- John Richard Walbran (1817-1869): twice mayor of Ripon; author of A guide to Ripon, and Fountains Abbey, 1871.
- Arthur Sampson Napier (1853-1916): Professor of Anglo-Saxon.
- Louis Cobbett (1862-1947): surgeon, pathologist,and antiquary; researched Anglo-Saxon churches.
- Charles Edward Gough (1875-1957): Professor of German, with an interest in Old English phonology (the language's sound system)
- Thomas Charles Lethbridge (1901-1971): archaeologist and Honorary Keeper of the Anglo-Saxon Collections at the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, University of Cambridge.
- James Smith (1904-1972): Professor of English, with an interest in Anglo-Saxon and Beowulf.
right: detail of cross, Auckland Saint Andrew, Durham, with figures thought to be apostles. Photograph copyright of Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, University of Durham. Photographer: Tom Middlemass.
- Domesday Book: 11th century survey by the Normans of their newly-acquired territory, including details prior to the Conquest (The National Archives website)
- Beowulf: the only surviving medieval manuscript of the epic saga (British Library, London)
- Canterbury Cathedral: originally Anglo-Saxon, replaced by a Norman building, now in need of major funding for conservation (Canterbury, Kent)
- Ripon Cathedral: rebuilt in the 12th century, the cathedral's Anglo-Saxon crypt survives (North Yorkshire)
- York Minster: originally Anglo-Saxon, destroyed by the Vikings, and rebuilt by the Normans (North Yorkshire)
- Sutton Hoo: the burial ground, in Suffolk, of the Anglo-Saxon kings of East Anglia (National Trust website)
- Offa's Dyke: 8th century linear earthwork which runs along the English-Welsh border (Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust website)
- Bede's World: 7th century monastery, Anglo-Saxon herb garden, and museum (Jarrow, South Tyneside)
- Aldeburgh Museum: includes objects from the Snape Ship Burial (Aldebugh, Suffolk)
- Anglo-Saxon Highlights: 6th-7th century artefacts excavated in Kent in the 18th century (World Museum Liverpool, Merseyside)
- Norwich Castle Museum: a major collection of Anglo-Saxon material (Norwich, Norfolk)
- Peterborough Museum: the Peterborough area lay on the boundary of two Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Mercia and East Anglia (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire)
- Early Medieval Gallery: Anglo-Saxon artefacts from the 5th-11th century (British Museum, London)
- Anglo-Saxon Buckets: an enigmatic and rare type of object found in 5th-7th-century Anglo-Saxon graves (Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, website)
- Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture: project to identify and record English sculpture dating from the 7th-11th centuries (Durham University website)
- Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies: research into all aspects of the life and culture of England before the Norman Conquest (The University of Manchester)
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