The Midlands in late antiquity

St Chad, Bishop of Lichfield

On this page 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.

In addition I include below a number of blog posts relating to these subjects.

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.

Blog posts

Climate and plague – some thoughts on the effect of climate and plague on the development of the English kingdoms in late antiquity. (June 30th 2020)

More on the Tribal Hidage – a brief consideration of some issues associated with this enigmatic document. (June 30th 2020)

he Seisdon anomaly – a brief post addressing the issue of why Seisdon hundred, on a tributary of the Severn rather than the Trent, was incorporated into early Mercia. (June 30th 202