What were Anglo-Saxon villages like?
Saxons houses may have looked like as the one in West Stow (English Midlands). Here, an early Anglo-Saxon village (5th century-7th century) has been reconstructed where it was excavated. Using clues from what was found, archeologists have managed to reconstruct many houses as they may have looked about 1,5000 years ago.
In here, you can find a reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon house built over a pit:
Anglo Saxon villages were usually very small. The largest villages had no more than a few hundred people living there.
The villages were built close to natural resources. The villagers needed food, water, fuel for heating and materials for their clothes. The natural resources provided them with what they needed to survive.
The village also needed to protect itself. All round the village was a high fence to keep them safe at night from enemies and many wild animals of the forests, such as: wolves, foxes and boars.
The Anglo-Saxons grew crops, kept pigs, sheep and cattle, and hunted fish for food. They also made household goods and farm equipment from wood, metal and pottery, clothes from cloth they wove themselves. They traded goods and slaves for things they couldn’t make, like glass, with people from other countries.
What did they use to eat and drink?
They drank ale and mead (it was a pretty sweet beverage, basically made of honey).
They didn’t drink river water because it was often polluted. Wine was imported from the Mediterranean, but only the upper classes could afford to drink it.
What did they eat?
Anglo-Saxons ate what they grew.
- Cereals – Wheat and rye for bread, barley (for brewing) and oats (for animal food).
- Vegetables – carrots, parsnip, cabbages, peas, beans and onions.
- fruit – apples, cherries and plums
You can try and make some German bread, which is pretty similar to the one these people used to eat.
Most Anglo-Saxons were vegetarians because they couldn’t get meat very often (it was really expensive, indeed). Animals such as deer and wild boar were common, but only a few Anglo-Saxons were rich enough to pay for a slaughter of an animal.
The Anglo-Saxons ate fish caught in the rivers and the seas.
Did they follow any religion?
The Anglo-Saxons were pagans when they came to Britain, but, as time went by, they gradually converted to Christianity. Many of the customs we have in England today come from pagan festivals.
Pagans worshiped lots of different gods:
|GOD||GOD OF WHAT?|
|Balder||God of Immortality|
|Eostre||Goddess of Birth|
|Frigg||Goddess of Love|
|Hel||Goddess of Death|
|Loki||God of Cunning|
|Saxnot||God of the Family|
|Thunor||God of Thunder|
|Tiw||God of War|
|Wade||God of the Sea|
|Wayland||God of Metalworking|
Days of the Week
Certain days of the week are named after early Saxon Gods.
Monandæg ( Moon’s day – the day of the moon ),
Tiwesdæg ( Tiw’s-day – the day of the Scandinavian sky god Tiw,Tiu or Tig), Wodnesdæg ( Woden’s day – the day of the god Woden (Othin) ),
Ðunresdæg ( Thor’s Day – the day of the god Ðunor or Thunor ),
Frigedæg ( Freyja’s day – the day of the goddess Freyja or Frigg, wife to Woden),
Sæternesdæg ( Saturn’s day – the day of the Roman god Saturn, whose festival “Saturnalia,” with its exchange of gifts, has been incorporated into our celebration of Christmas.),
Sunnandæg ( Sun’s day – the day of the sun ).
What did they dress like?
Men wore tunics and trousers, whereas women wore woolen and linen dresses with a pinafore over it. Their clothes were fastened with belts.
Who invaded Britain after the three Germanic tribes?
In the 9th c, 400 hundred years after the Anglo-Saxons invation, the country came under attack from the Vikings ( raiders from Norway and northern Denmark).
Like the Anglo-Saxons, they made their home here and drove the Saxons out of a part of England in order to take the conquered land for themselves. Since then, the country became divided into two (some parts were ruled by the Vikings, whereas othes by the Saxons).