Anglo Saxon Towns

Anglo Saxon Helmet

     Prior to the coming of the Romans, the Celtic people had little that could pass for towns.  Fortified places did well enough for gathering people and animals together during a threat, but otherwise the Celtic people lived in scattered individual farmsteads or, at most, in groups of the same.  The Roman armies founded towns laid out in grids containing public buildings, markets, homes and – outside of the towns – cemeteries.  The towns remained when they left but the Celts focused on their agricultural economy, occasionally using them as gathering places.

Anglo Saxon Settlement

When the Angles, Saxons, Frisians and Jutes arrived, they preferred a rural life similar to the Celts.  When towns developed, they were generally provided a center for trade of manufacturing.  The towns were located near where the old Roman towns but they built their own wooden building rather than take over the Roman buildings which they may have viewed as haunted.  They used the stones from the Roman buildings to build their churches.  King Alfred (whom we’ll meet later) improved the towns and maintained the roads.  By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, Canterbury, London, Winchester, and York were thriving communities.

Tomorrow, Calgacus: the Picts Against the Romans  Rita Bay

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