In this part of the web site I will include some of my (very) speculative thoughts on the history of the English Midlands in late antiquity – the period spanning the withdrawal of the Roman armies in the early 5th century to the establishment of the kingdom of Mercia and the establishment of the ecclesiastical diocese of Lichfield in the 7th century. In particular I include pages on two subjects.
- The early history of Lichfield, and the possibility that it was a centre of pagan cultic activity before the coming of christianity.
- The first Mercian Lands – a discussion of the origin of the Kingdom of Mercia.
In addition there are a number of blog posts relating to these subjects in the Historical Studies category.
I have deliberately chosen the name for this period as late antiquity rather than any name that refers to Anglo-Saxons. There is considerable academic debate concerning the use of such names, and recent research has suggested considerable continuity of population throughout this period, and no evidence of large scale invasion by germanic tribes. Also there is considerable evidence of continuity of land use, and it is likely that many of the kingdoms that emerged in the seventh and eight centuries were direct successors of Roman polities. It is perhaps best to think of this period as one in which the “Anglo-Saxon” germanic cultural influence of the near continent gradually gained ascendency over the sub-Roman British population, with some limited immigration and a gradual language replacement. Doubtless there was some friction that led to the historically reported battles, and the various chronicles tended to emphasise these rather than the continuities. Be that as it may, in some of the links on this page, I do speak in terms of Anglian and Saxon kingdoms and peoples, if only for the sake of convenience, but the limitations of such descriptions need be kept in mind.