Saxon: 4th - 11th century AD Design Period

Saxon: 4th - 11th century AD

Saxon 4th-11th


Saxon: 4th - 11th century AD

Saxon: 4th - 11th century AD

This historical period is referred to as the Saxon period or the Anglo- Saxon period when referring to the people of this time settled in Britain.

The Anglo-Saxon period in Britain spanned from 410-1066AD, approximately six centuries and is used historically to describe any member of the Germanic peoples who, from the 5th century to the time of the Norman Conquest (1066), inhabited and ruled territories that are today part of England and Wales. Early Anglo-Saxon religion was based upon pagan beliefs and Germanic mythology, however Christianity gradually spread across England replacing the Anglo-Saxon pagan religion.

Many Saxon pieces have been unearthed as people were often buried with objects that were important to them during their lives, perhaps because the Saxons thought the dead would need them on their journey to another life, or when they got there. The Saxons wore jewellery, including brooches, beaded necklaces and bracelets, made from gold, silver, bronze and copper. These adornments were worn to show their wealth and rank. Much Saxon art and jewellery were influenced by central Europe, in what is now Germany. The 7th and 8th centuries are considered to be the most productive periods for Saxon art and design. Goldsmiths were highly respected and were given freedom to move between the Saxon kingdoms.

Both men and women wore jewellery in Saxon times, not only to symbolise status and wealth but these objects often had practical uses also. Saxon women wore pieces of jewellery hanging from their waist and often intricately carved brooches on their shoulders which fastened their garments together. Necklaces and brace-lets were made from glass beads, amber and amethyst, and women of high rank or who were wealthy wore necklaces made from silver or gold. Men wore large and elaborate belt buckles, more for decoration than for practical reasons. Granulation is the application of tiny gold beads to a plain surface by soldering and can be seen as a decorative feature on pieces from this era.

Some of the finest examples of Anglo-Saxon jewellery were found in the burial site at Sutton Hoo in East Anglia, of which many of the items are on display in the British museum. Excavations revealed a ship, weapons, an impressive helmet was made of iron and decorated with bronze, household items and beautiful jewellery.

The end of Anglo-Saxon England can be attributed to when King Edward died in January 1066, he was succeeded by the last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II. William, Duke of Normandy, argued he had been promised the throne and defeated Harold II army.

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