Saxons, Vikings and Normans

After the Romans left Britain there were many more settlers that came to take their place. There were Angles, Jutes and Saxons from Northern Europe, Vikings from Scandinavia and then Normans from France.











Saxons, Angles and Jutes
After the Romans left, Britain was invaded by barbarians from Scotland, Ireland and Europe.

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To stop these attacks it is thought that a British warrior Overlord called Vortigern invited other warrior tribes from Europe to help fight these invaders in exchange for land in Britain.
The result of these invasions and invitations was that Britain was split between different peoples. The native Celtic Britons were steadily pushed West into Wales and Cornwall and what is now England became divided up between the Saxons, Angles and Jutes.
The Vikings were from the northern Scandinavian countries of Europe: Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

The Vikings were mostly farmers, craftsmen and traders but some were pirates attacking, pillaging and looting, and stealing treasure wherever they could.

Viking House

Around AD800 the Vikings began to leave their homes in Scandinavia to settle in the North and East of England, the West coast of Scotland and in parts of Ireland. The Saxons, who lived in England at the time did not like this and there were many fierce battles with the Vikings, but this did not stop them settling permanently in England. The Viking raids lasted for about 300 years.
In AD1042 a man named Edward the Confessor was made King of all England.  Edward married Edith, the eldest daughter of the Godwins. The Godwins were one of the most powerful families in England and, though wedding invitations were something of a rarity in the dark ages, many of the most influential families would have attended. After the wedding, Edward fell out with the Godwins and declared Duke William of Normandy heir to the English throne.

The Godwins were obviously upset by this.

Harold Godwinson was shipwrecked in Normandy and promised William that he would support William's claim to the English Throne. When Edward died Harold ignored his promise to William and took the throne for himself saying that, on his deathbed, Edward had decided to make Harold his heir instead of William.

The Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of the Norman invasion

Now William was upset and decided that he would invade England with an army and make himself king by force.

In 1066 William's army landed on the south coast and beat Harold's army in a battle near a town called Hastings. Harold was killed and William marched to London and was crowned King of England.

For the next 300 years the Normans ruled England.