10 books like History of the English Church and People

By Bede,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like History of the English Church and People. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Anglo-Saxon England

By Sir Frank Stenton,

Book cover of Anglo-Saxon England

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.

Anglo-Saxon England

By Sir Frank Stenton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anglo-Saxon England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discussing the development of English society, from the growth of royal power to the establishment of feudalism after the Norman Conquest, this book focuses on the emergence of the earliest English kingdoms and the Anglo-Norman monarchy in 1087. It also describes the chief phases in the history of the Anglo-Saxon church, drawing on many diverse examples; the result is a fascinating insight into this period of English history.


The King in the North

By Max Adams,

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

Good research is so important to me and this is the historical study that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. Max Adams has studied the period in detail, but his style of writing is easy to read and sometimes exciting, so much so that I almost felt that I was reading a novel. I love the way Max Adams suggests various possible scenarios, from the written evidence, studies, and archaeology that we have. This is a perfect research book for a novelist, wanting to bring the time period to life. I found that I couldn’t put the book down, once I’d started reading it.

The King in the North

By Max Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King in the North as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A triumph - a Game of Thrones in the Dark Ages' TOM HOLLAND.

The magisterial biography of Oswald Whiteblade, exiled prince of Northumbria, who returned in blood and glory to reclaim his birthright.

A charismatic leader, a warrior whose prowess in battle earned him the epithet Whiteblade, an exiled prince who returned to claim his birthright, the inspiration for Tolkein's Aragorn.

Oswald of Northumbria was the first great English monarch, yet today this legendary figure is all but forgotten. In this panoramic portrait of Dark Age Britain, archaeologist and biographer Max Adams returns the king in the North to his…


The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

By Anne Savage,

Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

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.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

By Anne Savage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The authentic voices of England, from the time of Julius Caesar to the coronation of Henry 2nd.


The Anglo-Saxon World

By M.J. Ryan, Nicholas J. Higham,

Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon World

The Anglo-Saxon World is the best introductory survey for students of Anglo-Saxon history. Experts in their field, the authors flesh out the traditional narrative account with insights from archaeology, numismatics, and DNA analysis. The book is splendidly enriched by almost three hundred colour photographs, tables, maps, and diagrams, while box-out sections in each chapter delve into interesting topics or debates. The authors also outline the historiography for readers who want to know how scholarly understanding of the period has developed.

The Anglo-Saxon World

By M.J. Ryan, Nicholas J. Higham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Anglo-Saxon World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Anglo-Saxon period, stretching from the fifth to the late eleventh century, begins with the Roman retreat from the Western world and ends with the Norman takeover of England. Between these epochal events, many of the contours and patterns of English life that would endure for the next millennium were shaped. In this authoritative work, N. J. Higham and M. J. Ryan reexamine Anglo-Saxon England in the light of new research in disciplines as wide ranging as historical genetics, paleobotany, archaeology, literary studies, art history, and numismatics. The result is the definitive introduction to the Anglo-Saxon world, enhanced with a…


Building Anglo-Saxon England

By John Blair,

Book cover of Building Anglo-Saxon England

Blair approaches the history of these centuries by dividing mainland Britain into environmental and cultural zones. In doing so, he highlights the role of geography, geology, infrastructure, trade and even rainfall in determining trends of settlement, social cohesion, and material culture. Blair examines how landscapes were created – the evolution of villages, towns, and religious complexes – while exploring the relationship between centres of power and the satellite hubs around them. The book is richly served by colour images, artists’ reconstructions, maps, and diagrams. Comparisons to Scandinavia (where early timber structures survive) help bring the houses and surroundings of the Anglo-Saxons vividly to life.

Building Anglo-Saxon England

By John Blair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Building Anglo-Saxon England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize
A radical rethinking of the Anglo-Saxon world that draws on the latest archaeological discoveries

This beautifully illustrated book draws on the latest archaeological discoveries to present a radical reappraisal of the Anglo-Saxon built environment and its inhabitants. John Blair, one of the world's leading experts on this transformative era in England's early history, explains the origins of towns, manor houses, and castles in a completely new way, and sheds new light on the important functions of buildings and settlements in shaping people's lives during the age of the Venerable Bede and King Alfred.

Building…


Matilda, Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England

By Tracy Borman,

Book cover of Matilda, Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England

While I take issue with the book’s subtitle (the Anglo-Saxons had queens!), this first full-length biography of Matilda, the wife of William I, is not to be missed. Matilda of Flanders, who served as regent of both Normandy and England was a hugely important figure in the later history of English queenship, providing a model by which the wives of her descendants attempted to live. Tracy Borman takes what little information survives on Matilda to weave a compelling and captivating narrative, fleshing out the life of a woman who has hitherto remained in the shadows.

Matilda, Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England

By Tracy Borman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Matilda, Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the thrilling, tempestuous story of the 'first' Queen of England.

Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, was the first woman to be crowned Queen of England and formally recognised as such by her subjects. Beyond this, however, little is known of her. No contemporary images of her remain, and the chroniclers of her age left us only the faintest clues as to her life. Who was this spectral queen?

In this first major biography, Tracy Borman sifts through the evidence to uncover an extraordinary story. Matilda was loving and pious, possessed strength, ambition and intelligence, and was fiercely independent.…


The Earliest English Kings

By D. P. Kirby,

Book cover of The Earliest English Kings

I’ve owned this book for over thirty years, and it’s still my ‘go-to-book’ for the earliest of the English kingdoms—charting the centuries when Northumbria, Mercia, and then Wessex were in the ascendant during Saxon England. It’s so readable and engaging. Without it, I don’t believe my passion for the era would ever have gained flight. And it’s not that it shies away from the more complicated arguments about source material and complexities in the narrative record. No, it does all that and much, much more. I still believe it to be one of the best books on the period, and I know for a fact, that many other Saxon historical fiction authors have this book on their bookshelves.

The Earliest English Kings

By D. P. Kirby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Earliest English Kings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Earliest English Kings is a fascinating survey of Anglo-Saxon History from the sixth century to the eighth century and the death of King Alfred. It explains and explores the 'Heptarchy' or the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, as well as the various peoples within them, wars, religion, King Offa and the coming of the Vikings. With maps and family trees, this book reveals the complex, distant and tumultuous events of Anglo-Saxon politics.


Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066

By Ann Williams,

Book cover of Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066

For readers who want an expert introduction to the origins of kingship, power, and government in the centuries before the Norman Conquest, Ann’s Kingship and Government is the place to go. A great strength of her book is that it explains key concepts, structures, and terminology as the need arises, and in a way that clarifies the story that is being told. This equips the reader to explore what can otherwise seem like a strange and incomprehensible world. If you want the nuts and bolts of how Anglo-Saxon society and its power structures operated, this is the book for you. It is also one of the best political surveys of the emergence of England in those centuries.

Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066

By Ann Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is a study of the exercise of royal authority before the Norman Conquest. Six centuries separate the 'adventus Saxonum' from the battle of Hastings: during those long years, the English kings changed from warlords, who exacted submission by force, into law-givers to whom obedience was a moral duty. In the process, they created many of the administrative institutes which continued to serve their successors. They also created England: the united kingdom of the English people.


The Princess Who Hid in a Tree

By Jackie Holderness, Alan Marks (illustrator),

Book cover of The Princess Who Hid in a Tree: An Anglo-Saxon Story

This is the story of Frideswide and the creation of Oxford as a place of learning told for young children. Our grandchildren are weaned on superheroes and I would like them to know the stories of heroes and heroines from the past as well.

The Princess Who Hid in a Tree

By Jackie Holderness, Alan Marks (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Princess Who Hid in a Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This story is about a brave and kind Anglo-Saxon princess called Frideswide who lived in Oxford a long time ago and just happened to be brilliant at climbing very tall trees. Her talent came in useful one day when a wicked king tried to kidnap her. How did she and her friends escape, and what happened to the king and his soldiers?

With stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Alan Marks, Saint Frideswide's legend is retold for young children as a tale of adventure, courage in the face of danger, friendship, and kindness, with a few surprises along the way.

The…


The Shining Company

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Book cover of The Shining Company

Sutcliff’s characters and stories are always believable—and show her amazing gift to always make her research invisible to the reader. All her works feed from actual history. She weaves a fragment or story from the past into a rich tapestry of the human experience and makes history live again. This tale shows her skills perfectly. Sutcliff uses as her source Y Gododdin, a period poem, to frame the construction of this coming-of-age story. Sutcliff takes the torch of the poem’s attempt to keep alive the memory of men who fought and died in a sixth-century British battle, comparable to that of the Battle of Thermopylae, to relight it through the eyes of Prosper, Sutcliff imagined British shield bearer. A witness to and one of the few to survive this unwinnable battle, Prosper sings a tale of The Shining Company who sacrificed their lives so others could live.

The Shining Company

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shining Company as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I saw riders with black eyesockets in glimmering mail where their faces should have been, grey wolfskins catching a bloom of light from the mist and the moon; a shining company indeed, not quite mortal-seeming.' Many years after King Arthur defeated the Saxons, the tribes of Britain are again threatened by invaders. Prosper and his loyal bondsman, Conn, answer the call of King Mynydogg to join a highly skilled army - the Shining Company. Led by the gallant Prince Gorthyrn, the company embark on a perilous but glorious campaign. An epic tale of battles and bravery from the acclaimed historical…


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