The best books on Anglo-Saxon Britain

The Books I Picked & Why

The Anglo-Saxon World

By Nicholas J. Higham, M. J. Ryan

The Anglo-Saxon World

Why this book?

This beautifully produced book is full of insight and up-to-date knowledge about the Anglo-Saxons and the world they inhabited. From the migration period of the 5th century all the way to the Domesday Book and the end of Anglo-Saxon rule in Britain, the book covers everything in great detail with accessible writing and glorious images.


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Anglo-Saxon England

By Sir Frank Stenton

Anglo-Saxon England

Why this book?

This is the granddaddy of history books about the Anglo-Saxons. Much of the history has evolved and moved on since its original publication in the 1940s, but Sir Frank Stenton is comprehensive and thorough and the resulting tome is jam-packed with information.


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History of the English Church and People

By Bede

History of the English Church and People

Why this book?

As close as we come to a first-hand account of events in the first part of the early medieval period. Writing in the early 8th century, Bede was able to interview some of the people who had witnessed events he describes. Bede was undoubtedly writing from the Christian perspective and he was certainly biased in favour of his native Northumbria, but his words are like a window into the past and how people (or at least the clergy) thought.


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The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

By Max Adams

The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

Why this book?

For anyone interested in the history of Northumbria in particular, and more broadly, the British Isles of the seventh century, Max Adams’ The King in the North is the must-have book. Ostensibly, it is a biography of King Oswald of Northumbria, but in reality it covers much of the century and what transpired before and after his reign.


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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

By Anne Savage

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

Why this book?

This book covers the entirety of the history of the Anglo-Saxons in their own words. Like Bede’s History, it suffers from bias, depending on the scribe writing each section and what kingdom they inhabited, but it is a fascinating year-by-year account of the rise and fall of kings and clergy, and of the battles and natural phenomena faced by the people of early medieval Britain.


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