In this enquiry we will be finding out all about who the Anglo-Saxons were, why they came to Britain and how they lived. Use the links and information below to find out for yourself all about the life of the Anglo-Saxons.

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Who were the Saxons?

The Saxons were a people from north Germany who migrated to the island of Britain around the 5th century. There were actually three main peoples: the Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes. After these people moved to Britain they became known as the Anglo-Saxons. Eventually the name “Angles” became the “English” and their land became known as England.

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Click the picture to the left to visit the BBC Anglo-Saxons page to do some research and play some games to find out what life was like.

To read some more facts about life as an Anglo Saxons click here.





  • The Saxons were named after a type of sword they used called a ‘Sax’.
  • The Saxons originally lived in Europe. Some of them came to live in Britain during the Dark Ages.
  • The word ‘Saxon’ refers to several groups of people from Northern Germany and Southern Denmark. They were a type of Germanic people.
  • They are sometimes called ‘Anglo-Saxons’. This refers to two groups: the Angles and the Saxons. It can also mean the ‘English Saxons’.
  • The part of Britain which the Anglo-Saxons took over was named ‘England’ after them. It means ‘Land of the Angles’.
  • They all spoke a language similar to English. It is usually called ‘Old English’. They used a type of writing called Runes for name tags and gravestones.
  • Strictly speaking, the Saxons came from North-West Germany. Some of them moved south to set up Upper Saxony. The Angles came from Angeln in South-West Denmark. A third group, called the Jutes, came from Jutland in Central Denmark.
  • Tradition says that the Saxons settled in Southern England; the Angles settled in East Anglia, the Midlands and Northern England; the Jutes settled in Kent, Hampshire & on the Isle of Wight.
  • Other groups who settled in Britain can also be called ‘Saxons’. These include the Frisians, the Franks and the Swabians.

(The above is from

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What were Anglo-Saxon homes like?

  • Some Anglo-Saxons built their houses inside the walls of Roman towns.
  • Others cleared spaces in the forest to build villages and make new fields.
  • Many villages were built near rivers because the Anglo-Saxons were good sailors.
  • A high wooden fence would be built around a village to protect it from wild animals like: wolves, foxes and boars.
  • Anglo-Saxon houses were rectangular huts made of wood with roofs thatched with straw. Each family house had one room, with a hearth with a fire for: cooking, heating and light. The houses were built facing the sun to get as much heat and light as possible.
  • The biggest house in the village was the hall where the chief lived with his warriors. 
  • Other huts were used as workshops for things like weaving or pottery.
  • Each village would have an area of common land for everyone to use to graze their cattle.


Click the British Museum picture below to examine some artefacts.

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Interesting Facts about the Anglo-Saxons

  • The Saxons got their name from their short sword called the scramasax.
  • Alfred the Great is the only English king known as “the Great”.
  • Saxon lands were divided into Shires which were further divided into “hundreds”.
  • A peace officer of a Shire was called the Shire Reeve. This later became known as the “sheriff”.
  • A lot of what we know about the early Saxons was recorded by a monk named Venerable Bede. He is sometimes called the “Father of English History”.


Click the picture above to visit the Ashmolean Museum to examine Anglo- Saxon Life.


To look around an Anglo-Saxon village click the picture below.

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What can you find out about the Anglo-Saxons from watching the clip below?




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