Anglo-Saxon: Facts About Their Houses and Homes

The Anglo-Saxons arrived in Britain from the mid 5th century onwards. They came from the countries of what is now known as Scandinavia in northern Europe.

Here are some facts about Anglo-Saxon houses and homes.

  • The size of Anglo-Saxon homes varied a lot, from about 3 x 3.5 metres, to larger homes of up to 10 x 10 metres. The largest house in a village was always the chief’s hall.

  • Anglo-Saxon houses were nearly always built of wood and had thatched roofs. The remains of some houses have been found, allowing us to understand what they looked like.
  • Most houses had only one room, which was used for everything including sleeping, eating, cooking and entertaining. Oxen were often kept at one end of the room.
  • There was no glass in the windows, which were simply narrow slits which let in the rain and wind along with the light. To get as much light and heat as possible, houses were built facing the sun.
  • The Saxons liked to live in small settlements in the countryside. However, some of them built houses inside the walled Roman towns and cities, as they would offer good defence.
  • The Anglo-Saxons also used tents a lot, especially for armies who were on the move. They probably used them as churches and to keep animals in, as well as for sleeping.
  • Although almost all furniture in Anglo-Saxon houses was made of wood, the Saxons had folding iron chairs. Typical furniture included chests, benches, a table and bed, and tapestries on the wall for warmth.
  • Chairs were not used very often, and most people sat on the floor or on benches to eat their meals. The table was covered with a table cloth during meal times.
  • Wooden fences were built around villages, for protection from wild boars and wolves. Many villages were built near the sea or a river

What next? Find out more about the Anglo-Saxons by visiting our Anglo-Saxon resources page.

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