EBK Activity Sheets

 



How the Saxons came to Britain.


 
  • There is an old story about King Vortigern of Britain and how he invited the Saxons to Britain. It was first written down by the British monk Gildas in the early 6th century, and then by a Saxon monk called Bede two hundred years later. Most of it is though to be true.

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  • Vortigern invited the Jutish brothers named Hengest and Horsa to Britain. These princes brought an army of Saxon soldiers with them. The Saxons had arrived!
  • Vortigern fed them and paid them lots of money. In return, they went to the North and fought the invading Picts for him.
  • They were allowed to live on the Isle of Thanet in Kent. However, when their families came to join them, there wasn't enough room for everyone.
  • Hengest's daughter, Rowenna, came to Britain and Vortigern fell in love with her. So Hengest got Vortigern drunk and told him he could marry her if he gave Hengest all of Kent. Vortigern agreed.
  • Vortigern was very pleased with his new wife, but the people of Britain were not happy: Especially the old King of Kent!
  • Vortigern's sons, Vortimer and Catigern, started a war to drive out the Saxons. They fought several battles in Kent. Catigern and Horsa were both killed.
  • Rhonwen invited Vortimer to a meal with his father, pretending she wanted them to make up. But, instead, she poisoned him!
  • She then persuaded Vortigern to take all his warriors to a peace conference with her father, Hengest. It was held at Stonehenge and both sides agreed to leave their weapons at home.
  • But the Saxons had lied. They hid their swords under their cloaks and killed all the British soldiers.
  • Only Vortigern escaped and he fled to Wales.
  • Activity Sheet available.

Click to find out: How Vortigern found out about the Future.
 

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