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Website by eddie at houseofed@tiscali.co.uk

...told by the Ilchester Museum

The Borough - early beginnings

The arrival of the Anglo Saxons


The withdrawal from Britain of the Roman legions around 410 CE left the people without a defending army against the Anglo-Saxon raiders. It fell to local tribesmen and those legionnaires who had retired and settled on land allotted to them by Rome, many of whom had taken wives from the local tribes, to defend their homes .There would have been such experienced men living in and around Ilchester.


The town of Ilchester when abandoned by the Romans was left with a strong stone wall. Although the buildings gradually ceased to be used for their intended purposes the wall remained standing.


The Angles and Saxons were peoples of northern Europe. When the Roman legion left Britain they stepped up their assaults landing at places along the south coast.


By 450 it is believed that a mass migration was taking place from the area between the River Weser to the Jutland peninsular and they quickly settled the land.


The area we call Wessex was known as the kingdom of the West Saxons with its first leader being Cerdic who had taken control by 500.


There was much infighting in the ruling families as well as threats from other kingdoms, Mercia being in ascendance during the early centuries. In 733 Aethalbald king of Mercia captured the West Saxon royal vill of Somerton. Ilchester's strong town wall would have proved a refuge for the local people and their stock.


The language of the Anglo-Saxons was Germanic in origin and their word for a fortified settlement was 'burh' gradually corrupted to become borough. Thus Ilchester was known as a borough from those early times. It was to play an important part in events to come….


Jutland peninsular and they quickly settled the land.


The area we call Wessex was known as the kingdom of the West Saxons with its first leader being Cerdic who had taken control by 500.


There was much infighting in the ruling families as well as threats from other kingdoms, Mercia being in ascendance during the early centuries.


In 733 Aethalbald king of Mercia captured the West Saxon royal vill of Somerton. Ilchester's strong town wall would have proved a refuge for the local people and their stock.


The language of the Anglo-Saxons was Germanic in origin and their word for a fortified settlement was 'burh' gradually corrupted to become borough. Thus Ilchester was known as a borough from those early times. It was to play an important part in events to come….