How some Saxon
Soldiers became Kings in Britain.
- At the end of Roman
times, there were lots of Saxon
mercenaries (hired soldiers)
living in Britain. The Roman government had paid them to
protect many of the towns.
- Archaeologists have dug
up many graves from this time. Some of the male
wearing special belts & carrying spears. They are thought to
be Saxon mercenaries because similar objects have been found
in Saxon graves in Europe.
- We know of some Saxons
who had British names. The most famous was Cerdic, the first
King of Wessex (around Hampshire & Wiltshire). In
Brythonic (the British language), his name is Ceredig.
- Old documents say that,
like the other Saxons, he came to Britain from Germany or
- However, Cerdic was
probably born in Britain. His father was probably a Saxon
mercenary in Winchester (in Hampshire) or Dorchester-on-Thames
(Oxfordshire) and his mother was a
- When the Roman army left
Britain, Cerdic would have been a respected officer in the
mercenary army. He would have easily been able to make himself
into a local ruler or King.
- He probably called for
his Saxon friends and relatives from Germany and Denmark to
join him. They set up the Saxon Kingdom of Wessex. Cerdic is supposed
to have been the ancestor of the Kings of the Gewissae.