Each group of Anglo-Saxon settlers had a leader or war-chief. A strong and successful leader became ‘cyning’, the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘king’. Each king ruled a kingdom and led a small army. From time to time, the strongest king would claim to be ‘bretwalda’, which meant ruler of all Britain.
In the so-called Dark Ages during the fifth and sixth centuries, communities of peoples in Britain inhabited homelands with ill-defined borders. Such communities were organised and led by chieftains or kings.
Thegn – Anglo-Saxon Thegn or Thane In Anglo-Saxon England, a thegn was a lord who held his land directly from the king in return for military service in time of war. Thegns could earn their titles and lands or inherit them.
Aetheling, also spelled Atheling, orEtheling, in Anglo-Saxon England, generally any person of noble birth. Use of the term was usually restricted to members of a royal family, and in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it is used almost exclusively for members of the royal house of Wessex.
Anglo-Saxon, term used historically to describe any member of the Germanic peoples who, from the 5th century ce to the time of the Norman Conquest (1066), inhabited and ruled territories that are today part of England and Wales.
Albion is the oldest known name for England and the Vikings had a similar name. At the end of the Viking age the word England became common.
A king (or lord) ruled large areas of land. To protect his land from invasion, the king gave parts of it to local lords, who were called vassals.
ceorl, also spelled Churl, the free peasant who formed the basis of society in Anglo-Saxon England.
Anglo-Saxon society was hierarchical. At its head stood the king and members of the royal family, followed by the nobility, bishops and other churchmen. At the other extreme were unfree members of society, or slaves.
cyning (plural cynings) An Anglo-Saxon (early English) king.
‘Theng’ means ‘ pavilion ‘, pavilion was used to tell the location of the graveyards.
SAXON KINGS. Egbert (Ecgherht) was the first monarch to establish a stable and extensive rule over all of Anglo-Saxon England. After returning from exile at the court of Charlemagne in 802, he regained his kingdom of Wessex.
There were many famous Anglo-Saxon kings, but the most famous of all was Alfred, one of the only kings in British history to be called ‘Great’. His father was king of Wessex, but by the end of Alfred’s reign his coins referred to him as ‘King of the English’.