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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 skeletons were 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 Denmark.
  • 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 local Briton.
  • 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.


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