Tim's  Anglian helmet An Anglian Time Line

Anglians The Battle of Winwaed
Early Anglo-Saxon Settlement Mercia under Penda
The Christian Unconformity Early English Topographic Names
Anglian Grave Goods The origin of the Saxons, Angles and  Jutes according to Bede
Anglian  Boundaries Anglian Deities
The Saints bring Christianity to The North Anglian Year according to Bede
Northumbrian Kings Anglian Social Hierarchy
Middle Anglo-Saxon Settlements Anglian place-names

The term "Anglo-Saxon" is a misnomer used by the Normans for legal purposes and often as a term of derision. The Germanic migrants of Europe were distinct enough for Bede to refer to them as discrete groups, the Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes and the Frisians
There had been a small Christian community in Roman York in the late 100's ,their bishop attending the Council of Arles in 314, but until the arrival of Christian missionaries in England, the land was so-called pagan. However during this time of evangelism many of the Anglian, Saxon, Jutish and Frisian feast days were incorporated into the Christian calendar, not the least of which was Yuletide, now Christmas, formerly a mid-winter feast centred around the culling of excess breeding stock for food before winter.


410-411 AD  The Romans began to leave Britain as Rome's corruption and financial difficulties continued, a salutary lesson for today's politicians.
420 Britain was instructed by Rome to defend itself, the Anglian and Saxon raids increased as the Roman "Saxon Shore " forts fell to the invaders.
425 In the south the British king Vortigern requested two men from Angeln, Hengist and Horsa to help keep the invaders out of Britain. These two had been mercenaries in the Roman army and with their group of followers they entered Britain to fight against the Picts who were invading from the north. TIt is thought that during the 400's the Scotii of Antrim were beginning to displace the Picts as the greater force in what we now call Scotland.
450 Anglians from southern Denmark colonise land in the Yorkshire Wolds.
Rowena who was the pagan Hengist's second daughter after Octa, married Vortigern, a British Christian, their son was Vortimer.
457 Horsa travels to the north to assist the Britons against the Picts and was slain at Conisbrough, thereafter  lawlessness ranged for a period of 90 years in the North. The medieval castle here may lie over an Anglian earthwork. Horsa, the former Roman army mercenary from the continent may have been buried here.  Hengist  became king of Kent.

                                                                                                           Hiatus of Information 457-537



During the 500's The Pennines were in the control of the Britons.
537 A battle took place at the Roman Camboglanna (Either Birdoswald in Northumberland or Castlesteads in Cumbria) between the Britons and the Anglian invaders. This has been suggested as a site for 'Camelot' (Camlann).However 'Camelot' seems to be an invention of the medieval mind. See Arthurian Legends
547 Ida the Anglian landed in Northumberland, the nucleus was Bamburgh. Ida remained king of Northumbria (Bernicia) until 560. He was the first real English king.
Ida was succeeded by Gloppa or Ellapa.
560-588 Aelle (Ella) son of Yffa according to the A/S Chronicle gained Deira. He resided at Elloughton & York. Besides Elloughton (Ella's Town), places named after him are Kirk Ella, West Ella and Ellerker (Ella's Carr) which lie near Hull and north of the Humber estuary.
574-78 According to Bede retelling a tale in The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, when Benedict I was Pope (575-579), Gregory heard of the presence of some young strangers in Rome with light skin and fair hair. Gregory questioned them and found that they were Angels from the Kingdom of Deira then ruled by king Aelle. When told they were Angles, he described them as being like angels, 'Non Angli. sed Angeli'.


                                      'Non Angli, sed Angeli' 
A painting by William Midgley (1899) illustrating the allegedly apocryphal meeting between brother Gregory, later Pope Gregory (590-604) and child slaves from Deira. If true this may have occurred sometime between 575 and 579 when Benedict I was pope and Aelle was King of Deira. Later in 595-6 Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory to evangelise the people of Kent where he landed with forty monks in 597.

577 At Deorham in Gloucestershire the Romano-Britons lost a battle against the Saxons. This was important because it separated the Welsh and Cornish British, the Saxons forcing a wedge between these two groups into what became Wessex.
Ca. 590, The Anglians (Englet  from Angeln of Southern Denmark) moved along the Roman Road and defeated the Britons and the Manau Goddodin at Catterick (Catraeth). This was a decisive battle which ended British resistance in the North and who had attempted to keep the Anglians out of the N.E., it was thus as decisive as Powys later in 616.9(p. 91) The Manau Goddodin came from the Fife area of eastern Scotland. On the Catterick by-pass road at SE 239973 a pagan Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery has been found. Pagan A/S cemeteries are found on either side of the Roman Road "The Saxty Way" (Saxon Way?).Here there are instances of cremation with the ashes being placed in funereal urns and buried.
Whitcliffe Scar to the west of Catterick was probably an old Brigantine stronghold in the 500's and could have been used by the Manau Goddodin (Britons). The Britons perhaps moved from Catterick to Whitcliffe Scar to await the Anglians. Between Catterick and Whitcliffe Scar lies the east facing "Scots Dyke" which is ascribed to the "Dark Age Celtic" on the Ordnance Survey and may represent a defensive line of this time. The Battle of Catterick may also represent another 'Arthurian' stand alongside Camlann (537), Arthuret (Armterid) in 573 and the Battle of Badon in 493 (Bede) the site of which has not been positively identified, but may be at Bath-Hill outside Bath. The Mt. Badon battle was a significant repulsion of the Anglians and Saxons and brought  peace for forty years for the Britons. It is said that Arthur carried the cross of Christ for three days at this battle . [Annales Cambriae]
588 Some say that Ethelric/Aethelric is supposed to have replaced Aelle as King of Deira at his death in 588  although little is known of Ethelric, his death year of 604 being questionable.
589 Aethelfrith (son of Ethelric who was the 4th son of Ida) succeeded to Deira, he married Acca daughter of Aelle.
593 Aethelfrith becomes queen of Bernicia and thus Northumbria.
595-6 The Frankish monk (St.) Augustine is sent by Pope Gregory to England, he lands in Kent from Rome in 597 and establishes a Roman Church at Canterbury.


600 Little progress was made by the Anglians as the British (Celtic,Welsh) repulsed the incursions.
Urien of Rheged (principality in S.W. Scotland) pushes the Anglians back to Lindisfarne on the east coast of Northumbria.
600 Paulinus arrives in Kent from Rome.
601 Augustine becomes the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
603 Aethelfrith fights against the Scottii.

In the early 600's Yeavering was built for King Edwin and his successors in the Kingdom of Bernicia.

Early Anglo-Saxon Settlement:(410-650)
The first  Anglian and Saxon settlements were on the coast, banks of rivers or at the foot of hills. Settlements were named after chiefs e.g. Haesta led the South Saxons (Haestas People). 'Ingas" = people e.g. Haestinasg (Hastings), Tootas people= Tootaingas= Tooting also Worthing, Reading etc.
Thus ING or INGS indicates an early Saxon settlement. LEAH (O.E.) means wood or woodland clearing.
The weft goes from weft to wight Archaeology since the 1960's shows us that buildings in this early period were  rectangular sunken huts  with wooden floors (Grubenhauser) grouped around large timber Halls, this was a Germanic pattern.1 The wooden floors appear to have been suspended over a sunken pit. Loom weights found in these pits suggest these buildings were used for weaving.

The Christian Unconformity:
Following the early period of settlement, the Christian religion had a greater effect than the ecclesiastical historic sources suggest. Edwin in order for him to marry into the Saxon family of Kent had to accept baptism from (St.) Paulinus to marry his Christian bride.
Anglo-Saxon deities, festivals & rites were incorporated into the Christian year, so that much of the original reason for these activities became obscured. The A/S goddess Freya became Mary and Balder became Christ. The ecclesiastics called them pagans or heathens just as today they are disparaged as humanists, evolutionists or laymen. The metal was remoulded and the history omitted. During this time the early villages were abandoned.
(About the year  600 Mohammed was born (d. 632) similar religious changes were to occur elsewhere)
See Anglians in West Yorkshire

                                                        The East Angles and the Northumbrians were united by the marriage of Aethelric and Hereswith

616 Aethelfrith calls upon  the King of East Anglia, Redwald, to hand over Edwin or kill him. King Raedwald may have had his capital at Rendlesham, Suffolk. Redwald refused and lead a battle against Aethelfrith near the River Idle8.  It may be the Sutton Hoo ship in East Anglia and its helmet that are Redwald's as no body was ever found in the ship. However phosphatic sand was found in the hull which could be skeletal remains.
616-617 Aethelfrith fights back against the British (Celtic, North Welsh), when he defeats the Welsh King Powys  at Chester in 616.  Aethelfrith utilised the Roman road from York to swiftly defeat the British at Chester15. This separated the Welsh Britons from the Strathclyde Britons and was thus a decisive victory. Anglians now pushed west through the Pennines into what is now Lancashire. The Midgley and Heptonsall areas could have been settled at this time. The British Kingdom of Elmete was still in existence until Edwin of Northumbria attacked it in 626  See Elmete location map

Thus the three decisive battles the Anglians and Saxons fought against  the British were:
                Dyrham 577
                Catterick ca 590
                Chester 616

617 Aethelfrith dies in battle slain by Eadwin (Edwine). Edwin was Acca's brother.
Edwin of Deira, returns from exile in East Anglia with Redwald and seizes the Anglian Northumberland.
Edwin names Edinburgh ("Edwin's borough"). The Bernicean family Eanfrith seeks refuge in Dalriada. Edwin is thought to have resided at Yeavering Bell, N.W. of Earle.
617-619 Rheged & Loidis Regio (Elmete or Elmet) is taken by Edwin along with the Isle of Man.
Edwin defeated the King of Elmete, Ceretic who had employed British guerrilla warfare. Ceretic was maintained as a client king.
Elmet was a Celtic/Romano British (Proto-Welsh) kingdom its capital was at Leeds (Loidus), Elmete now  lost its independence. Selby and Elmet area history (Yorkshire)  Some Anglian settlement may have occurred after this time when Midgley and other vills ending in -ley were established as a settlement sites to the west of the region.
To the S.E. of Wentbridge are A/S inhumations at North Elmshall and Whitehart Farm (grid ref 477127). There are others at Womersley to the N.E. and Knottingley to the North. From the evidence supplied by grave goods these are likely to be pagan burials (Christian burials did not have grave goods) and probably predate 650. See Saxon inhumations at Berinsfield, Oxon.
Pagan burials (cemeteries) were probably sited on boundary of the community land. Middle Field near Campsall is at the centre of a triangle made by joining these three inhumation sites.
Inhumations were in distinct family groups, separately oriented and containing people of all ages and both sexes and all conditions of life. With primary internments barrows were thrown up at the time. The small number of pagan burials in the North compared with the South of England may be explained as Christianity probably arrived in the North sooner than thought, thus it is suggested that burials occurred in the settlement under existing cemeteries.

Grave Goods13
 Christian graves(20)  from the 400's have been found at Walesby near Market Rasen (Lincolnshire)4 this appears early for  Anglian Christian burials.
Anglian females used cruciform brooches and wore wrist clamps for their long open slit sleeves whereas Saxon females used "Saucer brooches", they did not have wrist clamps and thus probably wore short sleeves. See Anglo-Saxon brooches in grave goods
These Anglian goods are also found in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Cremation rather than inhumation was preferred by Anglians in the North of England. The Angles and Jutes in Denmark used cremation pots (funerary urns). The Saxons in northern Germany (Lower Saxony) cremated some and buried others, this may be due to the close proximity of the Roman world and its influences. The  continental Saxons were buried with their weapons which were Roman thus they were probably mercenaries in the Roman army. This is similar to the Lakenheath burial.
The style of pottery indicates that the Anglians came from distinct parts of what is now Denmark, some found in England are made by the same potter as in Denmark. Archaeology indicates that Anglian pottery appears in England in perhaps the fourth century but more likely the 5th century. This does not agree with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which says Anglian and Saxon settlement occurred in the 6th century.

Obviously the region near the Humber was a contentious area of land and could be seen as "THE MARCHES" between Mercia (= march) and Northumberland.This may be why it was not settled permanently until after the Battle of Winwaed Field in 655 when Northumbria won a decisive victory. However it is likely that Anglian settlement had occurred along the tributaries of the Humber after about 620 when the Kingdom of Elmete was annexed by  Anglian Northumbria. Bede wrote that "The Humber estuary and the boundaries adjacent thereto" represented a frontier of great importance in the 600's. The northern boundary of Mercia is usually seen as Watling Street. C.T. Pratt says it is the old boundary of the Lichfield Diocese5

The marshes of the Humber restricted the N-S traffic towards the west along the line of the Roman road from Doncaster to Tadcaster & York. Dykes just south of Tadcaster (The Becca Banks which face south-Becca was an Anglo-Saxon personage) may represent an interuption of this corridor whilst one to the south between Doncaster and Sheffield may represent another.This boundary could have been a frontier between Northumbria and Mercia and possibly an earlier Celtic boundary.It may have protected  Northumbria and Elmete or perhaps the Anglian Hatfield Chase.
The Sheaf river runs east-west through Sheffield, sheaf means "boundary river" in Anglian and probably formed the boundary of the kingdom of Elmete in an earlier period. The Humber also formed a boundary for Northumberland as did the Mersey River.
Dore which lies on the boundary of Mercia and Northumbria ("Door") a Pennine pass may have been a meeting place between the kings of Mercia and Northumbria.
Running north from Doncaster may be another boundary called Roman Ridge, the line of a Roman road. East of present day Leeds  lies "Roman Rig"  passing through Penda's Crossing which may mark another boundary.Others have suggested That Penda's crossing is the site of Winwaed Field.
On the Ordnance Survey of Dark Age Britain Becca Banks are shown as being of Celtic Dark Age, that is British origin. They may therefore represent boundaries to the British Kingdom of Elmete.

626  Edwin expelled the client king Ceretic from Elmete and  captured the Celtic Meicen (Hatfield) and the Anglian Lindsey.
627 (St.) Paulinus known to be at Yeavering Bell (Weaveringham), Northumberland.
St. Paulinus travelled  to Yeavering with Princess Ethelburga of Kent, the daughter of Aethelbert of Kent (both Christians) to marry them and baptise Edwin. Edwin was baptised on Easter Day 627  in a specially built wooden church in York and  was thus converted to Christianity by (St.) Paulinus. At the same time princess Hild, Edwin's great niece was also baptised by Paulinus. This set the stage for the entry of Christianity into the North and united the southern Saxons with the northern Anglians. A letter was sent from Pope Boniface to Edwin to desist from image worship. Paulinus was created archbishop of the See of York by Pope Gregory. York then became a centre of learning with a Saxon equivalent of a University.
627-634 St. Paulinus the Roman missionary proselytising in Northumberland. (St.) Paulinus preached to and converted the Northern English. Stone crosses were erected wherever Christian worship took place.
627 Coifi desecrated heathen temples at Godmundham, this is the start of Christianity in Yorkshire under Edwin.

The Saints who brought Christianity to Yorkshire & Northumberland:
St. Paulinus from France * The first great Archbishop of York 
*Disciple of  Pope St. Gregory the Great who sent him to assist St. Augustine 
*He converted Edwin who was baptised Easter Day 627 at York. 
*Edwin commenced Cathederal of York immediately.
St. Paulinus 's Day: October the 10th
St. Wilfrid of York *Wilfrid was a Saxon. 
*He was the 3rd Archbishop of York & Northumbria. 
*Founded Ripon monastery, now a Cathederal where he was buried in the crypt. 
*Cathederal dedicated to God in the names of St. Peter & St. Wilfrid. 
Wilfrid was followed by Thurstan who died in 1140 
St. Wilfrid's Day is commemorated on October 12th
St. William of York *Son of King Stephen's sister Emma
*May have died from a poisoned chalice
St. William's Day commemorated  on June the 8th 
He died 1154
St. John of Beverley (Beaver-lea) *Archbishop of York in 705 
*Born at Harpham near Driffield. 
*Educated under St.Hilda, he taught and ordained The Venerable Bede. 
*1st bishop of Hexham 
*Built a cell at Beverley to retire from the office of Archbishop which later became a monastery (=Minster)

St. Hilda (St. Hild of Streoneshalch) *Princess Hild  was related to king Edwin (great neice) & embraced Christianity at the same time as the king. 
*Later trained by St. Aidan 
*Founded many monasteries 
Abbess of Whitby 
*Kings & princes sought her council as a pious woman
born circa 614, died 12th November 680

The Saxons had Shriving bells in their churches (Shrive= confess), originally rung from 6 or 7am, noon and 7 or 8pm. Now it is rung at 11 am on Shrove Tuesday ("The Pancake Bell").
It became necessary for the people to give "tithes" to the church (one tenth of their wealth).

632  Edwin and his Christian son Osfrid(Osric) are slain by the heathens Penda & Cadwallon at Hatfield Chase, near Doncaster as a result  Mercia took Elmet. Northumbria fell back to its constituent parts. Eadfrid (Eadfrith) surrendered to Penda and fled to Mercia (his grand-daughter, Hild became Abbess of Whitby  or Streoneshalch).
But in 632 the Christian Oswald of Bernicia returned from exile with Irish monks on Iona, ascended the throne & retook Elmet in 633 at Haethfelth near Doncaster. It is believed that Northumbrian kings may have established a palace at Doncaster which was later destroyed by the Danes. The Roman roads were still used for the movement of armies, here the road from Lincoln to York was utilised near Doncaster.
Oswald is believed to have resided at Milfield (Yeavering Bell), Nothumberland.
633 Oswald the Celtic Christian defeats the pagans, Penda of Mercia &  the Cymric king Cadwallon of North Wales near Hexham (Hefenfelth or Heavenfield) and retakes the North. These two battles reasserted Northumbria's power. The Northern part was Bernicia (Beornice) and the southern part Deira (Dere or Deur), Deira had been the Roman name for York City. Deira was taken over by Germanic mercenaries.
633 Osiric ruled Deira until 634 and Eanfrid the same year.
634 Paulinus had returned to the Roman Christian Church in Kent so Oswald asked the Irish monks to send Aidan who founded the Celtic Christian Church at Lindisfarne.As a result the Celtic Christians established monasteries throughout the North. Cuthbert was bishop of Lindisfarne until his death in 687.
635 (St). Aidan the Celtic Christian missionary proselytising in N. England.
642 According to Bede (St.) Oswald king of Northumbria is killed in battle at Masserfeld (Masserfelth) near Wigan, Lancashire, he is beheaded by the pagan Penda of Mercia. In this year a stone cross is erected at Staincross, South Yorkshire. Stone crosses were erected wherever Christian worship took place.
642 At Winwidfield near Leeds Penda and Ethelbert were slain, Oswy was victorious12.
       (but see Winwaed field  655 below)
643 Penda of Mercia seizes Lindsey, Elmet and a large part of Deira (Yorkshire) from Northumbria. This area is placed under the rule of Edwin's grandson Osric
 647  Hild took the veil from  the Celtic Bishop Aidan of Lindisfarne.
652 Penda attacks northern Northumbria as far as Bamburgh with the assistance of Ethelwald, king of Deira.
Paeda the son of Penda is baptised and married to the daughter of King Oswy of Northumbria near the Roman Wall (Hexham?).

                                                         Northumbrian Kings
                                                                                 Pedigree of the Anglian kings of Northumbria
King Reign Duration of Reign Comments

Aelle  551-592 41 Ruled Deira, fought against Cerdic the British King who died 616
Aethelfrith 593-616  28 Ruled Bernicia, united & ruled Northumbria, 
killed by Edwin in battle. 
Edwin 616-633 12 Ruled Deira. killed by Oswald in battle. Paulinus baptised Edwin Easter day 627

Son of Aethelfrith, Ruled Bernicia. In exile in Edwin's reign in Dalriada, returned after Edwin's death. Converted to Christianity.
(St.)Oswald 633-642 9 Ruled Bernicia
Defeated Edwin. Killed in battle against Penda of Mercia
Osywy (Osuiu) 642-670 28 He combined Deira & Bernicia.
Son or brother? of  St.Oswald,  converted to Christianity. 
655-Battle of Winwaed* 
650 -LEY names appear in the countryside.

Ruled Deira, murdered by Osywy in 651 at Gulling.
Ecgfrith 670-685 15 Wilfrid expelled by Ecgfrith.Defeated at Nechtansmere by Southern Picts.
Aldfrith 685-
Son of Ecgfrith 
Ruled Northumbria. 
Celtic Christian

After 700 Northumberland declines.

Middle Anglo-Saxon  settlement:(650-800)
Most medieval villages date from this time.1 Anglians and Saxons had an aversion for living inside the walled Roman towns, York (Eoforwich) was one of them. (wich, Latin : vicus = settlement), populations only fleeing back when the Vikings attacked. The Vikings or Norse are often depicted with horns on their helmets but no evidence of this has ever been found, it is probably a figment of the modern cartoonists imagination. That the Vikings drank from horn vessels is probably closer to the truth.

Here at York the Anglo-Saxon settlement lies to the N.E. of the Roman city (under the present Gilbertine monastery AD 750-850), after the Vikings settled in 910 they established their town  to the N.W.  at Coppergate.
Towns with the name ending in -wich may have been trading towns, distinct from political centres. Other towns grew up around palaces as "Villa regalis".

650 "Beowulf" an epic Anglian poem which was probably being composed in Northern England or East Anglia at  bout this time (some say  as late as 720 though). It was written before christianisation of England was complete. The characters are European pagan (Denmark & Southern Scandinavian historical). God is mentioned about every sixty lines.

Reconstructed  East Anglian warrior from Lakenheath. 655 The Battle of Winwaed*
Possibly sited near Wentbridge (Walker, 1947) at the Roman road crossing of the River Went (Weneth) or perhaps at Penda's crossing, Winn Moor near Leeds or less likely at Wombwell on the River Dove. There is a family estate at Nostell Priory near Wintersett and Wentbridge owned by the Winns.(although this family is supposed to have come much later from Wales in Elizabeth I's reign)
After the Battle of Winwaed Field in 655 it seems the second or later Anglian settlements appeared. This is when place names ending in LEY and FIELD began to appear in West and South Yorkshire, during Osywy's (Osiui's) reign.
By 655 Penda and his allies (East Anglia & Wales) had gathered 30 legions (this could be 90,000 to 180,000 men) against the Northumbrian King Osywy. Osywy could only muster about three legions (about 9,000 to 18,000). They met on the bank of a river called Winwaed. This river is unidentified but it was probably one of the many which drain into the Humber. The Anglian Northumbrians won a decisive victory8. Aethelhere the king of East Anglia and Penda of Mercia were both killed along with thirty chieftains. Aethelhere is recorded as being drowned at the battle of Winwaed on the 15th November 655. (Aethelhere was the father of Aldwulf who remembered as a boy seeing the East Anglian king Redwald's pagan shrine.)
It was common for armies to ambush others at fords, river crossings, especially one in flood. Odds favour a cavalry attack on floundering foot soldiers splashing through a stream, but  it is known that Anglians and Saxons fought on foot whereas Welsh British favoured horseback. The Army of Penda out-numbered the Northumbrians ten to one! As a result of the victory  against all odds and the fortuitous flood, Osywy's belief that God and Christ were on his side led to widespread Christianisation in the North of England. The Pagans and British were routed.
The Sutton Hoo ship (no body was ever found) may have been a memorial or cenotaph to a king lost at sea or in battle, possibly Aethelhere but more likely King Raedwald (died 625 or 626)
The Merovingian coins found in the hoard puts the Sutton Hoo ship burial date not later than 6306
After the Battle of Winwaed Osywy gave a thank offering to the church of  12 estates  containing 10  Ceorl households each for the endowment of monasteries2.

Mercia under Penda and his family:

Penda was a pagan but all his children were converted to Christianity.
King Penda's children were-
1. Merewalh who married Princess Eormenburg of Kent.He ruled Magon Saetan which bordered Mercia. He founded Thanet minster (monastery) in Kent about 670. He may be buried in St. Wynstan's crypt in Repton. They had 3 children, St. Mildrith (2nd Abbess of Thanet), St. Mildburg (Abbess of Wenlock) and St. Mildgyth (female) buried in Northumbria.
2. St. Cyneburga (female), founded the monastery at Castor near Peterborough.
3. Wulfhere the first Christian king of Mercia who married St. Werburg
4. St. Cyneswith, she founded along with her sister St.Cyneburga the Castor monastery.
5. Aethelred, he retired to a monastery at Bardney.

Place names:
Places named as "ham" or "ton" meaning hamlet or village, e.g. Preston = Town of the priests, Dagenham= Daeccas village, Horsham = Horse village.
Sometimes Ham ton and ing occur together e.g. Birmingham was Beornmund ingas ham,
Bridlington was Beorhtel ingas ton and Gillingham was Gyllas people or Gyllaingas ham.
Later settlers had to travel further to find suitable sites:
LEY or FIELD means cleared forest land for villages, e.g. Beorn's ley = Barnsley, Wacasfield= Wakefield, Huddersfield= Huder's field.
A forested area lay to the east of The Pennines (Sherwood etc.) this area was used until Elizabethan times for Sheffields timber supply to provide a raw material for iron making.
It was a place of REFUGE and later Engle and Saxon  settlements were cleared as leys.
Some were named after hills e.g. DON, Islands such as SEY and NEY or fords FORD e.g. Wimbledon = WINEBEALD'S HILL, Selsey= seals island, Oxford= Oxensford, Swansea = Sweyn's Sey.
There is some DUPLICATION of names e.g.
             DUPLICATE PLACE-NAMES                                 LOCATIONS
Osmotherley  Yorks. & Westmorland.
Staveley  Two in Westmorland and a third in Yorkshire.
Midgley Near Halifax and S.W. of Wakefield
Middleton  N.of Ilkley & S.of Leeds.
Hebdenbridge/Hebden  Hebdenbridge and Hebden near Grassington.
Crofton  Near Heptonstall & near Wakefield.
Slack  Heptonstall Slack near Huddersfield.
Stansfeld/Stanley nr. Heptonstall and Stanley near Wakefield.
Cawthorn(e)  S. Yorks. &  N. Yorks.
Newsholme Near Howden Humberside and nr. Keighley
Duplication of place-names may indicate:
1. A westward migration of Anglian/Norse families.
2. Later branches of families re-establishing the place-name elsewhere.
1. Locations with similar landscape elements attracting similar place-names
2. Locations with settlers having similar personal names attracting similar place-names
3. Place-name duplication may be due a combination of many of these variables, each one would have to be investigated to determine its specific origin.

653 Paeda (Penda's son) married into the Northumbrian royal family and was baptised by Finian (Aidan's successor at Lindisfarne).
The system of 'Burghal hidage' was founded in the late A/S period, this structure remains with us today1.
First Settlements (AD 410-650) Second Settlements (AD 650-800)
In Yorks. & Lincs. these are represented east of Doncaster. 
In  West & South Yorkshire most of these are represented by old forested.

664 The Synod of Whitby was convened. There were two parties:
1. The Celtic Party
2. The Roman Party
The Celtic Party was composed of Osywy (Earl of Northumberland), Cedd the Bishop of the East Saxons who came from Northumbria, Hild (Abbess of Whitby), and Colmar (Bishop of Lindisfarne)
The Roman Party consisted of Alchfrith (son of Osywy), Agilberht (a bishop of the West Saxons, James The Deacon and (St.) Wilfrid of Ripon Monastery.
Wilfrid supported the Roman date for Easter, Hild did not, Osywy's daughter, Aelffled did.
They discussed where to place Easter in the Christian calendar.  Easter was set according to the Roman Church rather than the wishes of the Celtic Church. King Osywy decided in favour of the Papal Party probably because he was influenced by the claim of Pope Gregory that he had been trusted with the keys of heaven & hell. By this time most of England was Christian6.
Circa 671 the Celtic kingdom of Rheged (Cumbria and Dumfies) are captured by Northumbria.
672/3 Bede is born (later wrote the Ecclesiastical History)
674 Ecgfrith is defeated by the Mercians on the Trent. In the same year a monastery is built at Monkwearmouth near the mouth of the Wear by Benedict Biscop, the land being granted by Ecgfrith.
677 Ecgfrith  king of Northumbria expels Wilfrid from Northumbria. Wilfrid had induced Ecgfriths wife, Aethelthryth (Audrey) to become a Christian, she became a nun. Audrey was the daughter of King Anna of East Anglia. There was no issue. Previously Audrey had been married to Tondberct who had died in battle. Audrey founded the monastery of Ely.

681 or 684 Jarrow established by Benedict Biscop, again the land was granted by Ecgfrith.
685 Ecgfrith is defeated by the Picts at Nechtansmere and dies. Wilfrid returned to Ripon on Ecgfriths death. From here there is a decline in the power of Northumbria.
691  Wilfrid expelled from Northumbria for the second time by Aldfrith who is more Celtic Christian.


Before 700 Caedmon dies. He was a lay brother in charge of animals at Whitby Abbey, he became a monk late in life. He wrote  what has come to be known as 'Caedmon's Hymn' an A/S poem of the creation. Possibly written in the last part of the 600's. Caedmon had been born into a pagan world and so knew both aspects.
By 700  Northumbria had passed its political power  and was taken over by the Northmen. Mercia was in ascendancy.
709 Wilfrid dies at Oundle monastery after being restored to his monasteries of Ripon & Hexham.
731 Bede completes the first history of England. ( Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People.)
735, 25th May The Venerable Bede dies at Jarrow. He spent his ecclesiastical life on Holy Island, Northumbria and recorded much of  the history,  but archaeology has shown the picture of migration and settlement discussed to be more complex than he ever indicated.
Bede mentions three stronger peoples in Germany, one group the Angles from Angeln he records as living between the the lands of the Saxons and that of the Jutes.
In England the Anglians formed the East Anglians, Middle Anglians, Mercians, Northumbrians (North of the Humber) with other Anglian tribes.
In the 600's Northumbria was strongest under King Edwin, by the 700's Mercia was ascendant under Egbert & Offa.
Ca. 780 an iron and brass Anglian helmet from this time has been found at Coppergate, York.
793 Vikings invading Lindisfarne Island.
794 They attacked Jarrow.
795 The Vikings reach and attack Iona.

                                                          EARLY  ENGLISH TOPOGRAPHICAL NAMES AND THEIR MEANINGS:
Early English Meaning  Comment
hlaw, hloew, beorh barrow or mound both natural and artificial
bury fortress
denu valley
feld, field plain, open space
lea clearing
leah  wood or clearing in wood
folc people
hearh hill sanctuary
weoh idol or shrine
ealh temple
frogga frog Norse: froskr, Old High German: Forsk

The Saxons:
The Saxons were mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd Century A.D. as settled in S. Jutland around the mouth of the River Elbe and nearby islands. They spread across the Wesser. They were ruled by chieftains (princes). By the 3rd-4th centuries they were raiding the North Sea coast (Litora Saxonica) into S.E. Britain and  from the Loire to Sheldt.
By 450 A.D. they were starting to settle Britain, they were, like the Angles established by the end of the 500's
These groups originated from Holstein on both sides of the River Elbe as far south as the rivers Ems, Rhine, Sieg and Unstrut6. The Old Saxons moved East and conquered Thuringia and occupied N.W. Germany. They colonised S.E. England (Kent, Essex & Sussex)
According to Bede these formed the East Saxons (Essex), West Saxons (Wessex) & the South Saxons (Sussex)
The Angles (Englet):
Originated from a district still called Angeln between Schleswig and Flensburg6 north of  the Eider. They colonised Humber, Lincoln, north East Anglia (Norfolk) and south East Anglia(Suffolk). Regions such as Deira, Bernicia, Lindsey formed in the North.
According to Bede the Angles formed the East Anglians, Middle Anglians, Mercians & Northumbrians.
The Jutes:
Originated from the banks of the lower Rhine 6
According to Bede these formed the folk of Kent, Isle of Wight & the coast opposite the Isle of Wight.
There was mixing of the Angles, Saxons & Jutes before migration.


Reference:Legends of the Northmen" by K.M. Midgley published by A. Wheaton & Co. Paternoster Press Exeter.
These names are all found as prefixes to Saxon, Angle and Jutish place names
                        DEITY                     COMMENT             DAY OF THE WEEK
Woden (in Norse: Odin husband to Freya) wind god, nickname: Grim, hence Woden's Dyke (Wansdyke) and Grim's Dyke Wednesday 
(Roman: Mercury's Day)
Thunor (Norse:Thor) Thunder god, red hair, beard, thunderbolt, hammer. Thursdsay 
(Roman: Jupiter's or Jove's Day)
Frigg Mother goddess of Earth. Goddess of love & fecundity, wife to Frey. 
(Norse: Freya wife of Odin), in Norse mythology she was a fertility goddess with exaggerated sexual organs. @
Christians made Frigg, Mary.
In Norse mythology there is also Frea-Ing, a God who is the brother of Fija/Freja18
(Roman: Venus's Day)
Tiw Chief god, sky father, god of death. The upright Runic arrow (letter T) was often marked on swords. Tuesday 
(Roman: Mar's Day)
Balder (Phol or Pule)# Son of Odin & Frigg. The God of dying vegetation who afterwards returns to his lover-Earth. Brother to the blind Hod(ur). Nanna was Balders wife. 
Balder was killed by a bough of mistletoe thrown by Hod who was  misled by the malicious Loki. 
The Christians made Balder Christ. Nanna had a sister Senna the Moon Maiden.
There is no derived week name but many place names have Balder as their origin e.g. Pule Hill- at least 3 places in Yorkshire, Bolsterstone, Baldersley, Polesleah.
Loki (Loke) Husband of Hag 
Loki misled Hod to kill Balder. Mallerstang, Cumbria
 The Parish church is built on the site of a Saxon church which contains relics including the "Loki Stone" from the 700's. Loki was the Norse god representing a bound devil, this is one of only two known in Europe. 
Loki or Luck was seen as evil10.

Monday- Moon Day

Sunday- Sun Day

(Roman: Saturn's Day)

# Balder would bleed to death(Winter) he was immune from injury except from mistletoe, kissing under the mistletoe may derive from this (loved one is not immune from its effects)

@ In Ireland Freya or Frigg was called Sighle-na-gcioch, in Scotland, Sile-nagaioc, in England Sheela-na-gig. There are 70 known Sheelas in Ireland 23 in Gt. Britain,18 in England, 17 in Christian churches and one in Royston, Hertfordshire, which is the only one not in a church6(p. 154)
The Norse legends give Odin as the chief God. The Gods lived in Asgard where Valhalla or Gladsheim Palace lay. The giants lived in a place called Hel. Below Asgard was a place called Midgard and below this, caverns where skilled dwarves (elves & pixies) lived. These were originally friends of the Gods.
Bede describes how a pagan Temple at Godmanham in the East Riding was destroyed. Coifu the high priest destroyed the idols & altars.
The church suppressed heathen references in their ecclesiastical writings.

Oak Trees:
The Saxons connected gods with trees especially the oak tree because of its susceptibility to lightning strikes and hence its association with the god Thor.("The blasted oak" of Shakespeare).
Elder Trees however were held never to be struck by lightning. The Anglian and Saxon communities  used it in their folklore referring to it as Eldrun which was later corrupted to Hyldor and Hyllan. Danish legend connected this tree with magic, believing that in the branches dwelt a dryad, Hylde-Moer, the Elder-tree Mother, and that if one stood under the tree on Mid-summer eve, one would see the king of Fairyland and all his train ride by. They also believed that a child's cradle should not be made of elder wood, for Hylde-Moer would come and pull the child's legs, giving it no peace until it was lifted out!
Elder is described as the "medicine chest of the country folk All parts of the plant can be used.17
There are numerous mentions of apples in Anglo-Saxon texts which would be the crabapple.

The Anglo-Saxon Year according to Bede:
25 December: Heathen Year begins
26 December : "Mothers Night" (now "Boxing Night")
First month: Modern Yule (Giuli)
Second month: Solmonath (cakes offered to Gods-ploughing of loaves into the first furrow)
Third: Hretha (Goddess)
Fourth: Eostre (Easter) named after the Goddess
Fifth: Thrimilci -cows milked three times a day
Sixth & seventh: Litha (moon)
Eighth: Weodmonath weed month
Ninth: Halegmonath (holy month) month of offerings (Harvest Festival)
Tenth :Wintirfyllith (winter full moon) first full moon of winter
Eleventh: Blotmonath (blood month) sacrifice & killing of animals for winter.
Twelth: Also called Giuli (O.E. Geol= Yule)

Social Hierarchy:

1. King
2. Eorl (Earl)
3.Thegn (Thane).A freeman up to 5 hides* of land. He could own slaves.
4. Ceorl (churl).  A freeman
5a) Farmer 1 hide of land. 5b) Craftsmen
6. Blacksmith. A freeman
[* a hide of land provided enough food for 1 family]

  1. History Today  (magazine) September 1986.
  2. Ecclesiastical History - Bede.
  3. History Today (magazine) 1988.
  4. Newspaper cutting 10th June 1990.
  5. Pratt Charles Tiplady History of Cawthorne, Barnsley 1882.
  6. Branston B., The Lost Gods of England, Thames & Hudson.
  7. Bygone Kent Vol 5  #4 April 1984.
  8. Blair Peter Hunter, Anglo-Saxon England  C.U.P.
  9. Miller H.H., The Realms of Arthur, Fletcher & Sons.
10. "In Britain" August 1994, p.13.
11. Anglo-Saxon Chronicles*
12. History of  Bingley, 1822.
13.Brown David, Anglo-Saxon England, The Bodley Head, 1978.
14 Annual publication: Anglo Saxon England, Cambridge Univ. Press.-a classified bibliography of written, historical, literary and archaeological works.
15.  Richmond  I.A., Huddersfield in Roman Times,1925.
16. Richards Julian, Meet The Ancestors, BBC Worldwide Ltd., 1999.
17. Hemphill Rosemary, Herbs for all Seasons, Pengui,1975.
* The "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" which resides at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge was compiled in the 800's from many sources. It gives a year by year account of all the major happenings starting with Hengist and Horsa in 449 A.D. There is no account of  Anglian settlement elsewhere so the the earliest years are incomplete.
18. As indicated by Antero Runokivi  a student of Anglo-Saxon & Norse mythology email



Other useful links:

Sutton Hoo
Sutton Hoo II
Sutton Hoo III
Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries

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Copyright © Tim Midgley, 1999,  revised 12th January 2018.