EBK Activity Sheets


How the Saxons came to Britain.

  • King Vortigern decided upon a risky strategy to keep Britain safe.
  • In Northern Britain, he hired Saxon mercenaries (from Northern Germany) to fight the Picts (from Scotland).
  • He may also have employed other Picts (from Scotland), led by a man named Cunedda, to fight the Irish in Wales.
  • This was an old Roman trick which had worked well in the past.
  • An old story tells how the Saxons were led by two princes named Hengest and Horsa. Vortigern is said to have paid these foreigners with land in Cantium (now called Kent). They invited their families and friends to settle there.
  • This was very unpopular with most of the Romano-British. They formed a group who didn't want Vortigern as their King. A monk named Gildas wrote that they chose a man named Ambrosius as their leader. They fought against the Saxons.
  • They also fought against Vortigern. A civil war had started in Britain. Ambrosius's followers defeated Vortigern's army. Vortigern hid in one of his castles but it was set on fire and he burnt to death!
  • Activity Sheet available.

Click to find out: How the Saxons managed to stay in Britain.

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