Saxon Kingdom in the South

  • Traditionally, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset were settled by Saxons from North-West Germany and another group called Jutes, from Central Denmark.
  • The Jutes lived in South-East Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight. At first, they probably had there own king. He might have lived in East Meon or Southampton or Carisbrooke. The kingdom could have been called Meonware or Wight. It was settled by Jutes coming round Southampton Water and up the Solent.
  • The Saxons set up a kingdom called Wessex. The name Wessex means 'Land of the West Saxons'. It was settled by Saxons coming up the River Avon at Bournemouth.
  • They may have joined a Saxon mercenary already living in Roman Britain. His name was Cerdic the Saxon. He lived in the 520s and was the first King of Wessex. His family were known as the Cerdicingas.
  • The kingdom of the Jutes soon became part of the Kingdom of Wessex. So did North Berkshire, an area ruled by a group of Saxons called the 'Gewissae' (pronounced Yoo-iss-eye). 
  • The Wessex kings then took over British areas in the west. So Somerset and Devon became part of Wessex too.
  • The kings lived at Winchester in Hampshire. Their Royal monastery was also at Winchester.
  • The most famous early King of Wessex was King Ine.
  • There were lots of famous Kings of Wessex in the 9th Century, especially Egbert, Alfred the Great and Edward the Elder.
  • Eventually they became Kings of all England.
  • Activity Sheet available.


    Nash Ford Publishing 2003. All Rights Reserved. Suitable for National Curriculum History Key Stage 2.