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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 makes it difficult to know exactly what was happening in England at this time. 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 eastern divide.

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 from this document can be subject to a number of different interpretations, including that we might be reading a somewhat fictional account.

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, we can see it in our churches, examples of a time when the first flourish of Christianity settled on our shores.

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.

Merdon Castle

Merdon Castle

Between Standon and Hursley just off the A3090 sits Merdon Castle This little known ancient monument is now in private hands and so getting sight of it is tricky. If you drive along Castle Merdon Lane you can stop and take a look over the wall and you will see the earthworks on which this…

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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…

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