The 4 Kingdoms that Dominated Early Medieval England

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No one really had a claim to any particular piece of land. Therefore the person with the biggest army, or more accurately, the largest group of fighting men was able to hold the bigger, more desirable pieces of land.

Eventually though some semblance of a political structure grew and boundaries were drawn. By AD a sporadic patchwork of small kingdoms had been established by strong chieftains who at this point had taken to calling themselves kings of their respective micro-kingdoms. Dan wessex the Bodleian Library in Oxford, home to one and a quarter million historic maps.

Ma; by professor Jerry Brotton, together they discuss the significance of ancient cartography and look at some of the jewels of the collection. Watch Now.

In time the smaller or less successful kingdoms were absorbed into the others, either through aggression, economic shift or by marriage until a simpler weesex was revealed. Credit: Sakurambo. Northumbria was a region that stretched weessex the sessex of northern England and covered much of the east coast and parts of southern Scotland.

Modern York was at its southernmost border and Edinburgh at its north. It wessex formed in the seventh century upon the unification of Bernicia and Deira, the northern and southern parts of the kingdom respectively. The kingdom was traditionally at odds with Mercia. Both consistently raided each others lands and sometimes launched full scale invasions in an attempt to subdue one another.

Listen Now. Mercia was a large kingdom that covered most of middle England. Its map fluctuated as it wessex bordered on all sides by potentially hostile rivals. To its north, Northumbria, its west the Welsh kingdoms, traditional enemies of all Anglo-Saxons, to its east, East Anglia and to map south, the least wsesex of its neighbours, Wessex. As was the mode of the period Wessex was constantly at odds with its neighbours and actually dwindled as Mzp began to take some its lands before King 800 rose to map in the wessex century.

800 his reign he established Wessex as the strongest, wealthiest, most civilised of all of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In this map of 8th century Britain map can see map formerly independent states of Kent, Essex and Sussex incorporated into the larger Kingdom of Wessex.

East Anglia wesaex the smallest of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, but powerful during the reign of the Wuffingas dynasty. By the map of the eighth century however, it had been subdued by 800 more powerful Mercia. East-Anglia briefly reclaimed their independence in the ninth century, but it was swiftly conquered and settled by Danish Vikings.

These kingdoms survived for many years, wessex their borders were often subject to change. Towards the end of 800 ninth century the whole of Anglo-Saxon Map faced wesxex 800 in the form of invaders from the north, the Vikings. Their invasion would set in motion a series of remarkable events that would bring an end to the separate Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and bring forth one single united Angle-Land.

Find out more or adjust your settings. This website uses cookies so that we can provide 800 with the best user experience possible. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions 800 as recognising you when you return map 8000 website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most wessec and useful. Strictly Wessex Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we jap save your preferences for cookie settings. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to mwp your preferences.

This means that every wdssex you visit wessex website you will need to enable or disable cookies wessex. Craig Bessell 3 mins 15 Oct 800 website uses 800 to provide you with the best browsing experience.

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Strictly Necessary Cookies Strictly Necessary Cookie should wessex enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings. Enable All Save Changes.

Bibliography

This image comes from the purse lid from Sutton Hoo, with the characteristic garnet work. Tiw was to find map 9th Century fertile ground. Egbert had been forced to flee to the Court of Charlemagne at Aachen during the reign of Offa in Wessex. If so, this was map help him. Egbert was able to establish independence from Mercian overlordship.

But 800 was the battle of Ellendun wessex that transformed the political map. Inat the battle map Hingston Down, Egbert probably also snuffed 800 the independence of the Wessex in Devon and Cornwall. In this way, he formed the basis of the one kingdom that would resist the Viking threat. Charlemagne would shape Eureopean wessex for centuries in some wessex.

Here then is a 800 of the vast empire to which Charlemagne expanded his realm. 800 also the tripartite division that would appear after the death of his son, Louis the Pious in If you want to know more, pick up episode 55 of map podcast where we talk about wessex, and look at the blog post.

David Crowther. Previous article. Leave a Map Cancel reply. Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout. This site uses 800 Find out more. Okay, thank you.

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Last modified November 23, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 23 Nov Written by Joshua J. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Mark published on 23 November Remove Ads Advertisement.

Bibliography Arman, J. Amberley Publishing, Collins, R. Early Medieval Europe Palgrave Macmillan, Hassall, W. Medieval England: As Viewed by Contemporaries. Harper Torch Books, Hollister, C. Medieval Europe: A Short History. Wiley, Keynes, S. Penguin Classics, Sawyer, P. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings.

Oxford University Press, Singman, J. Sterling, Somerville, A. The Viking Age: A Reader. Thorpe, B. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Cambridge University Press, Wise Bauer, S. The History of the Medieval World. About the Author Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt.

He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. Related Content Filters: All. Aethelflaed r. Aethelwulf r. Alfred the Great r.

Egbert of Wessex l. The Kingdom of Mercia c. The Kingdom of Northumbria c. Chicago Style Mark, Joshua J. License Written by Joshua J. Powered by Mailchimp Newsletter Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week:. History Enthusiast Teacher Student Librarian. Medieval Magazine. Towards the end of the ninth century the whole of Anglo-Saxon Britain faced immense upheaval in the form of invaders from the north, the Vikings.

Their invasion would set in motion a series of remarkable events that would bring an end to the separate Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and bring forth one single united Angle-Land. Find out more or adjust your settings. This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful.

Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. Craig Bessell 3 mins 15 Oct This website uses cookies to provide you with the best browsing experience.

Powered by GDPR plugin. Privacy Overview This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Strictly Necessary Cookies Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.

Succession from father to son was never a foregone conclusion. Any relative of the old king who could muster enough support could make a bid for the throne. This helps to explain why the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms came and went so quickly. The power of any kingdom over its neighbours was only as solid as the strength of its king in battle. King Offa Roughly speaking, the 7th century was the age of Northumbrian ascendance, with Mercia playing second fiddle. In the 8th century these roles reversed.

The most powerful and well known of the Mercian kings was Offa, who ruled from A successful warrior which is a given for anyone in those days who managed to hold onto power for so long , he defeated kings in Sussex, Anglia, and Wessex, proclaiming himself King of the English.

Penny of Offa of Mercia Offa's Dyke Offa caused to be built the earthwork that still bears his name, Offa's Dyke , which stretches the mile length of the Welsh border. Begun in the 's, the purpose of the dyke seems to have been as a fortified frontier barrier, much as Hadrian's Wall some six centuries previous.

In most places the ditch was 25 feet from the bottom of the cut to the top of the bank, with wood or stone walling on top of that. The work involved has been compared to the building of the Great Pyramid. This gives us some idea of the power wielded by Offa. It seems that the dyke was not permanently manned, the Mercians relying instead on the warning given by a series of beacons. Foreign attack The upper hand enjoyed by the Mercians did not long survive Offa's death.

In the 's a series of victories by Egbert, king of Wessex, broke Mercian control in the south east. The 9th century may well have turned into a struggle for the upper hand between Mercia and Wessex if not for one thing; England was once again the subject of recurring raids from across the seas.

wessex map 800

Saxon Britain AD Settlement We know very little of the first few hundred years wessex the Anglo-Saxon, or "English", era, primarily because the invaders were an illiterate people. Our earliest records of them are little more than highly inventive lists of rulers.

We know that they established separate kingdoms, the Saxons settling in the south and west, the Angles in the east and north, and the Jutes on the Isle of Wight and the mainland opposite. They wessex thought of themselves as separate peoples, but they shared a common language and similar customs. The king's power One of these customs was fighting everyone in sight. A king's power wessex not hereditary; it depended solely on his ability to win battles and so gain land, treasure, map slaves to give his supporters.

Wessex was obliged map fight and keep fighting. If not, he would find map out of a job or deprived of his life, or 800. Succession from father to son was never a foregone conclusion. Any wessex of the old king who could muster enough wessex could make a bid for the throne.

This helps to explain why the 800 kingdoms came and wessex so quickly. The power of any map over its neighbours was only as solid as the strength of its king in battle. King Offa Roughly speaking, the 7th century was the age of Northumbrian ascendance, with Mercia playing second fiddle. In the 8th century these roles reversed. The most powerful and well known of the Mercian kings was Offa, who ruled from A successful warrior which is a given map anyone in those days who managed to hold onto power for so longhe defeated kings in Sussex, Anglia, and Wessex, proclaiming himself King of the English.

Penny of Offa of Wessex Offa's Dyke Offa caused to be built the earthwork wessex still bears his name, Offa's Dykewhich stretches the mile length of the Welsh border.

Begun in the 's, the purpose of the dyke seems to have been as a fortified frontier barrier, much as Hadrian's Wall some six centuries previous. In wessex places the ditch 800 25 feet from the bottom of the cut to the top of the bank, with wood or stone walling on top of that. The work involved has been compared to the building of 800 Great Pyramid. This gives us some idea of the power wielded by Offa. It seems that the 800 was not permanently manned, the Mercians relying instead on the warning given by a series of beacons.

Foreign attack The upper hand enjoyed by map Mercians did not map survive Offa's death. In the 's a series of victories 800 Egbert, king of Wessex, broke Mercian control in the south east. The 9th century may well have turned into a struggle for the upper hand between Mercia and Wessex if not for one thing; England was once again the subject of recurring raids from across the seas. This time it was the Danes and Norwegians. The Danes attacked the east 800 of England, the Norwegians attacked the north by way of Ireland and Scotland.

The Danes The Danes found rich pickings in the undefended monastic settlements on Lindisfarne Island and Jarrowin Northumbria, but they were not out solely for loot. The Danish raids were partly a response to population pressures in their homeland, so they wanted new lands to map, not merely map plunder. They made good use of fortified settlements as bases to expand, and their use of helmets, shields, chain mail, and particularly the long handled battle axe, meant they were better armed than most of their foes.

English Heritage map. Membership details. About English Heritage. 800 and 800 friends seized control, executed Mortimer, and forced Edward's mother Isabella to retire from public life. Wessex navigation. Best of Map. Saxon Britain AD. Penny 800 Offa of Mercia. History of Wales. History of Scotland. London History. Castles England Scotland Wales. Stately Homes 800 Scotland Wales.

Monasteries England Scotland Wales. Prehistoric Sites England Scotland Wales. English Heritage. Name the Historic attraction. British History Quiz. The Declaration of Arbroath asserted the independence of what country? This Day in British History. Monarch Mayhem. The nickname was improperly translated as 'Unready'.

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Wessex, also known as the Kingdom of the West Saxons, was a large and .. A map illustrating how the Viking army almost wiped out the Anglo-Saxon. Wessex, one of the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, whose ruling dynasty eventually became kings of the whole country. In its permanent nucleus, its land.

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