Anglo Saxon

Anglo Saxon Period in Hampshire’s History

The Romans departed from the shores of England in about 410AD but so little is known about the manner of the cessation of Roman rule it is difficult to know a lot about what was happening in England. We do know that by about 500 AD every part of the Roman western empire was ruled by the barbarians, except Britain. It took a long time to defeat the Britons.

The Saxons may have been attacking in new strength but that is uncertain. The advance of the Germanic invaders took time and spread from east to west. Britain had become two distinct areas. The west was occupied by the Christian Britons, the east occupied by dynasties of Germanic origin and Pagan until the mission of St Augustine in 597 AD.

anglo saxon hampshire
Anglo Saxon font Hurstbourne Tarrant

The area Hampshire now occupies fell into the east.

Hampshire, of course did not exist in name at this time. It formed part of a kingdom called Wessex and much of what we surmise about this period comes from Bede’s accounts.

Herein lies a problem. The account by Bede was written in c.892 and the history of the early Anglo Saxon period may well be drawn from a fictional account but it is all there is.

Bede tells us that the Saxons came to Wessex via Portsmouth, with the landing of Cerdic and Cynric in 495 AD and again in 501 when ‘Port’ arrives and then in 514 AD an influx of west Saxons. The Meon Valley area was also home to the Jutes.

There is a strong and still visible connection between Hampshire and our Anglo Saxon heritage.

Anglo Saxon Hampshire
Saxon sundial Corhampton

 

 What we hope to do is give a flavour of Hampshire in the Anglo Saxon period and we are very fortunate to have so many ancient churches to help us understand what was going on. We will also try and link to as many projects as possible including the Saxons of the Meon Valley Project, an excellent project to connect to.

Royal Forest of Woolmer

Royal Forest of Woolmer

The Royal Forest of Woolmer A little known area of Hampshire that was once a Medieval royal hunting forest. It lies near Liphook and the Sussex border and like all the hunting forests, would once have been a mainly open and treeless landscape. The open heath land would have been home to a herds of…

Hamble Le Rice

Hamble Le Rice

Hamble Le Rice is bursting with history and delightful scenery. The settlement on the River Hamble estuary is ancient and intriguing and perfect for exploration.

Portchester Castle

Portchester Castle

Portchester Castle is breathtakingly beautiful, sitting on the northern shore of Portsmouth Harbour. It’s Roman walls and bastions are as imposing today as they must have appeared seventeen hundred years ago.

Quarley Church

Quarley Church

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Andover Area Churches

Quarley church,the ancient church of St Michaels in Quarley Hampshire is surrounded by a flower filled graveyard and has it’s origins in Saxon England.

Yew Tree Newton Valance Church Yard

Yew Tree Newton Valance Church Yard

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Hampshire Yew Trees

The yew tree in Newton Valance church yard is probably a thousand years old, before the Normans set foot here.

St Boniface and Nursling

St Boniface and Nursling

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Hampshire People

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Hampshire PeopleA man named Winfrith and born in Devon became known as the ‘Apostle of Germany’. The humble Winfrith became St Boniface and his story started to take root in Nursling Hampshire. At Nursling (Bede refered to it as Nhutscelle), where the River Test winds…

Saxons in the Meon Valley

Saxons in the Meon Valley

The Saxons in the Meon Valley Project is a superb heritage lottery funded community history project, which is producing an aerial film of the Meon Valley.

The Yew at West Tisted

The Yew at West Tisted

The yew at West Tisted is an ancient tree standing alongside the equally ancient building of St Mary Magdalene church, with it’s traces of Anglo Saxon architecture.

All Saints Church Little Somborne

All Saints Church Little Somborne

All Saints Church Little Somborne is an Anglo Saxon church that sits close to Somborne Park in Hampshire and has remained largely untouched for seven hundred years. It is a looked after by the Church Conservation Trust.

Secrets of Winchester’s Mortuary Chests

Secrets of Winchester’s Mortuary Chests

The Winchester Cathedral mortuary boxes containing the remains of our earliest Saxon kings are being examined to see if the bones can be connected to King Cnut.