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anglo saxon

The Anglo Saxon period commonly referred to as "The Dark Ages" fell between the departure of the Roman Army from Britain in AD 411 at the request of Constantine the third, the call taken up to defend the empire at home by Emperor Honorius, to the Viking invasions of the 9th century AD.


Britain was left alone to defend itself, and in the 5th century reverted back to its pre-Roman Celtic warrior society, and at this time the Welsh language was more widely spoken than Latin. During the 5th century stone Roman towns were dismantled and replaced with wooden buildings by tyrants such as Vortigern. The Celts continued to control the west and also the highlands. However by the mid 5th century Britain was occupied by the Germanic tribes of the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes having themselves being driven out of mainland Europe by the war like Huns. The legend of King Arthur centres around the time. Indeed, it is now thought that the name Arthur could have been derived from the Roman name Arturious, and that Arthur could have been a Roman descendant who led the Britons to success using Roman methods and tactics against the Anglo-Saxons in the battle of Mons Budonicus in 500 AD.


During the mid 5th to 6th century, paganism replaced Christianity and at this time people were buried with jewellery and weapons for use in the afterlife. The main writings of the 5th century were by St. Patrick in Ireland, which at this time was still strongly Celtic. During the 6th century the writings were by the Welsh monk Gildas, and we understand that during this time Britain was run by Kings or war lords with separate kingdoms, of which there were approximately twelve. The Jutes occupied Kent and the Isle of Wight, the Saxons occupied Wessex Sussex and Essex, the Angles occupied East Anglia, the Hwicce occupied Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and the Deira and Bernicar occupied the North East.


The 7th century saw the reintroduction of Christianity by St. Augustine and the Benedictine monks who had arrived in Kent from mainland Europe in AD 597. In AD 600 St. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and in AD 634 Oswald became King of Northumbria which paved the way for the whole kingdom to be converted back to Christianity by the end of the 7th century which was accepted by all the Kings.


The 8th century saw the power and wealth of the church grow with churches and monasteries being constructed throughout the country. People that supported the Christian religion made donations of money and land to the monasteries and churches which saw their wealth grow even more substantially. Monasteries, especially in Northumbria, became centres of learning, teaching Latin in schools and producing beautiful illuminated manuscripts such as the Lindisfarne Gospels which were written around AD 698.


The famous Ecclesiastical History of the English people was written by the monk Bede, in Northumbria during the year AD 731. Unfortunately many manuscripts were destroyed by the Viking raids which started at the Island monastery of Lindisfarne in AD 793. This resulted in further raids, and eventually the occupation of the Vikings in the 9th century bringing to an end the four centuries of Anglo Saxon rule. For the next two centuries war was waged against the Vikings.

Catalogue Description



Group of three Bronze Anglo Saxon brooches circa 6th -7th century AD. This impressive group were discovered together in East Anglia England. Often associated with women and pagan burials. The larger type is a cruciform design and traditionally would have been worn on the breast, and the two smaller long brooches would have been worn on each shoulder. The large Cruciform brooch is 120mm long and shows signs of minor repair to the upper side knobs. The head plate is rectangular with expanded wings, and the top and side knobs have been integrally cast with the brooch. The knobs are rounded in shape with simple collars. The bow has a high arch. There is a zoomorphic terminal on the foot with prominent circular eyes and flaring circular nostrils. The base of the foot is plain and shows slight damage with a chip to one corner. The second is a small long type bronze brooch measuring 75mm long. It has a rectangular flat head plate which is notched either side of the raised bow and on the upper corners. The arched bow is concave on the underside. Above the foot is raised line moulding. The foot itself appears to be of a crescent moon form and is plain with no signs of decoration. The catch plates are still visible on the reverse, although the pin has long since gone which is usual. The third brooch in the group is probably the most common type of bronze long brooch measuring 80mm long. It has a head plate which forms a trefoil with a central square. The head plate does show good ring and dot decoration. The bow is arched with bevelled sides to the footplate and is moulded with transverse bands in the middle. The terminal base is round with some markings. Again the catch plate remains, but the pin would have been lost in antiquity. A splendid early Anglo Saxon bronze brooch group.

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Anglo Saxon Decorated Girdle Hanger Section circa 6th-7th Century AD. Traditionally given to females on their coming of age, and would have been attached to clothing around the waste. These are also found with female burials of the Anglo Saxon period. Although broken, the remaining lower half of the girdle hanger shows good dot and arrow markings all over, and on the central shank vertical, horizontal, and cross markings. Girdle hangers are a rare find. This particular piece was found in East Anglia England. A nice green patina to the top surface, although the underside is a little rough. 

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Anglo Saxon Buckle and Plate with Chip Carved Decoration circa 7th Century AD. Of Frankish design, this bronze Saxon buckle and plate is complete, with a good brown patina. The chip carving on the plate appears to be that of a face with eyes, nose, and mouth visible. There is still good free movement in the buckle, and to the underside the two ring loops for attaching the plate to leather, still survive in tact. Discovered in East Anglia England. Small, 40mm, but decorative and complete. A nice affordable Anglo Saxon item. Approximately 1,400 years old. 

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AS-104. Bronze Brooch circa 5th – 6th Century AD

A small early Saxon bronze plate brooch showing a ring and dot incised decoration typical of this period. On the reverse shows iron deposits from the original pin which is now missing. The catch plate is still intact. This artefact was discovered near the village of Abbots Anne near Andover in Hampshire England. 25mm x 25mm.

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AS-105. Bronze Brooch circa 5th – 6th Century AD

A small early Saxon bronze plate brooch showing a ring and dot incised decoration typical of this period. The item was silvered in Saxon times and evidence of this is still visible. The catch plate is still intact. This artefact was discovered near the village of Abbots Anne near Andover in Hampshire England. 25mm x 25mm. 

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