Anglo-Saxon Society

Categories: Anglo Saxon

What are the values of the Anglo-Saxon society? Dishonor? Cowardliness? No the values of the Anglo-Saxon were bravery, truth, honor, loyalty, duty, hospitality, and perseverance. These values are held to reflect in their everyday society, no matter if it were held to be in statuses such as Earl, Coerl, Gebur, and Cotsetla. The treatment of women in the society in any rank, as well as how the society normally dressed and how they lived. It was shown in the way they ran their government, and their way of treating crime and handling the punishment.

Life was difficult for everyone, even the rich. There were three classes of people, the Thanes, Churls, and Thralls. The Thanes were the highest class. They owned vast areas of land that they would rent to the middle class, the Churls. The Churls would rent the land from the Thanes to grow crops. To repay them they would work for the Thanes and give them a portion of their crop.

Thralls were the slaves of the Anglo-Saxons and worked with no pay and little food. There were only about a million Anglo-Saxons during their time period and most lived in small villages.

Women in an Anglo-Saxon society depended on their social status. Usually they performed the roles as mother, caregiver, or teacher. Women usually pick who they want to marry but occasionally arranged marriages were made in order to make peace between two clans. Women were also allowed to own land and property. Women also oversaw everything that went on in the house including: making clothes, being the hostess, and overseeing slaves.

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Clothing for Anglo Saxons was rather basic. The men wore either linen or wool undershirts that were long sleeved. Wool trousers were held up with a belt that was put through loops of the trousers. Then on top was a long sleeved tunic that was decorated around the wrists, neck, and hem. Boys dressed the same as their fathers. Women and little girls wore an underdress of linen then wore a wool dress on top. They for a belt around the waist to hold a knife and pouch. Women that were wealthy or had importance wore jewelry to show their status.

Government consisted of the kings courts that would try you. Depending on the severity of the crime, your whole family could be punished. Small settlements had a war chief and strong successful leaders became “Cyning” or king. The strongest king claimed to be “Bretwlala” which is Old English for ruler of Britain. The Anglo-Saxons didn’t have prisons. People found guilty of crimes were either executed or punished with fines. If they ran away, they became outlaws and anyone could hunt them down – unless they hid in a church. A church would provide sanctuary for those running from the law.

Anglo-Saxon values were bravery, truth, honor, loyalty, duty, hospitality, and perseverance. They had to bare freezing winters and living off the land. They were loyal and honored their leaders decisions. Their basic way of life was derived by traditional gender roles and king courts.

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Anglo-Saxon Society. (2021, Apr 01). Retrieved from

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