Seasons Greetings! Here's to the end of 2014 and an even better 2015!
Today, Southampton is a modern port city of a quarter of a million inhabitants. Before the mid 9th century however, Southampton did not exist. Originally, a Roman fort often called Clausentum lay on the east side of the Itchen. After the Roman period in England however, a separate settlement moved to the opposite bank of… Continue reading Hamwic, Anglo-Saxon predecessor of Southampton
This week I am involved in another blog tour, this time looking at the main character of my novel. I was invited to join by Edoardo Albert, author of many fiction and non-fiction books including "Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom" which was co-written with Paul Gething, "Professor Tolkien of Oxford", "Call to Prayer: The Story of… Continue reading Blog Hop: Meet my main character
After the initial migration period of Angles and Saxons in the 5th and 6th centuries there was a shift from chieftainships and petty kingships with small territories to larger kingdoms (such as the kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia which themselves joined to make the larger Kingdom of Northumbria). The larger the kingdom became the more… Continue reading Anglo-Saxon palace complexes
So what did the Anglo-saxons and Vikings fight with? That all depended on what you could afford. If you were a poor ceorl, you fought with whatever you could find: hoes, rakes, sling shots, knives, axes. If you were a little richer you could afford to buy yourself protective body armour, shields and swords. Swords… Continue reading You call that a knife?
Most of the Anglo-saxon battles took place on land and contrary to many Hollywood movies (which nonetheless can be very entertaining) they fought mostly on foot, not on horseback. Frankish texts are fairly unanimous on this point saying that horses were primarily the mode of transportation to and from the field of war. However there… Continue reading How to fight in Anglo-saxon England
The fyrd was the Anglo-saxon fighting force. From the beginning of the Anglo-saxon period around 410AD right through to 1066, the structure of the fyrd evolved but it’s main task was always the same, to fight wars and battles for their chieftain or king when needed. The best evidence for the structure of a fyrd… Continue reading The Anglo-saxon fyrd
Year The early anglo Saxons based their year on the lunar calendar, when a month was marked by the phases of the moon (hence the name monath from the word mona meaning moon). As a result a year was made of 354 days. This obviously resulted in an accumulation of days at the end of… Continue reading Seasons and festivals: Time in Anglo Saxon and Viking England
Right up until the industrial revolution at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, Britain’s (and really the world’s) economy was largely based around agriculture. Settlements were mostly rural and even large centres such as monasteries, royal estates and palaces, and trading centres called wics would have been very rural by… Continue reading Country living: Buildings in early medieval rural communities
There are three ways in which we can find out about the architecture of the Anglo-saxons and Vikings: surviving examples, archaeological excavations, and early descriptions in chronicles, sagas, poems and letters. The best of these would of course be to go and see surviving structures for ourselves. Unfortunately such examples are extremely rare. As I… Continue reading Anglo-saxon buildings.