Category Archives: The Anglo-Saxons

What Did The Anglo-Saxons Wear? Facts About Anglo-Saxon Clothing

Here are some facts about Anglo-Saxon clothes.

  • Wool, linen and silk were the only materials used in Anglo-Saxon clothes. Silk was expensive and worn only by the rich, while most peasants could afford to wear linen and woolen clothes.
  • A knee length woolen tunic was the most common garment, and many very poor people could not afford to wear shoes or trousers.
  • Soldiers wore long coats with chain mail attached to them. Metal collars were worn for extra protection during the 9th and 10th centuries, and weapons were decorated with jewellery.
  • As Christianity became popular throughout Anglo-Saxon Britain, it was thought that women should have their heads covered. Plain or embroidered veils were popular, which often reached down to the ankles.
  • The most common Anglo-Saxon clothes for women were black or brown woolen gowns. All women wore some type of head covering, but many did not wear shoes until the later Anglo-Saxon period.
  • Women’s clothing styles also changed as Christianity spread across Britain from the 6th century onwards. Clothing styles also varied between different parts of the country, often based on the climate.
  • Earrings were popular, often made from precious materials, such as pearl, crystal or garnets. Most people did not wear any rings on their fingers, and women did not wear much make up.
  • Belts and belt buckles were important elements of Anglo-Saxon clothes, especially for men. Belts were usually made from leather and often had decorative items or tools hanging from them.
  • Jackets became popular around the 7th century, made from fur or linen. Shoes and socks became popular too, and socks were worn over longer stockings, by rich and poor people.
  • Several UK museums have collections of Anglo-Saxon clothes and artifacts, including the Ashmolean in Oxford and the Museum of London. The Ashmolean also displays accessories such as combs and belt buckles.

What next? Check out some Anglo-Saxon jewellery facts, or visit our Anglo-Saxon resources page.

The Anglo-Saxons and Christianity: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Anglo-Saxons and Christianity. The early Anglo-Saxons were pagans and believed in many different gods, as well as being superstitious. Magic rhymes, stones or potions were thought to protect people from sickness and evil spirits. Anglo-Saxon Britain became Christian around the end of the 6th century. The new beliefs originated… Continue Reading

Anglo-Saxon Jewellery: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Anglo-Saxon jewellery. Much Anglo-Saxon art and jewellery was influenced by people from central Europe, in what is now Germany. The 7th and 8th centuries are considered to be the most productive periods for Anglo-Saxon art and design. Anglo-Saxon jewellery used a lot of gold – more for its high cost… Continue Reading

Anglo-Saxon Farming: Facts About Agriculture

Here are some facts about Anglo-Saxon farms and agriculture. Anglo-Saxon farming was widespread throughout Britain, and almost everybody worked on a farm. They raised chickens, goats, sheep, pigs and cows and grew a range of crops and vegetables. Most Anglo-Saxon farms and villages were built close to a source of fresh water. They were usually… Continue Reading

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms and Kings: Facts and Information

Following the end of Roman rule in Britain (5th century), a patchwork of numerous kingdoms was established in England by the Anglo-Saxons. These kingdoms were independent and many of them had their own king. Some of the main kingdoms were Northumbria, Mercia, Kent, East Anglia, Essex, Wessex and Sussex. Other minor kingdoms included, the Kingdom… Continue Reading

King Arthur: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about King Arthur. King Arthur is a legendary 5th century British king, who defeated the invading Saxons. He probably wasn’t real, although he may have been based on a real person. During the 6th century, a heroic warrior named Arthur appeared in a book of poems by Aneirin. The 12th… Continue Reading

Alfred Jewel: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Alfred Jewel. The Alfred Jewel is an Anglo-Saxon artefact from the 9th century, made during the reign of King Alfred the Great. It is made of enamel, quartz and gold, and it would have once been attached to the top of a thin wooden rod. It is thought to… Continue Reading