EBK Activity Sheets


Why it wasn't Popular


  • Lots of the Romano-British lived in towns during Roman times. They were centres of government and of trade.
  • When the Romans left Britain, there was no more central government. Trade contacts disappeared and so did many jobs. There were few reasons left to live in towns.
  • British Towns were easy to find. They were on low ground and were easy for the Saxons to attack.
  • The town walls were difficult & expensive to repair. There was no Roman local government to pay for it any more. When they began to fall down, it was unsafe to stay in the towns.
  • Some local kings used them as their capitals for a while.
  • Other towns were a long way from Saxon areas, like at Carlisle. People never stopped living in these places.
  • The British seem to have given away some of their towns to the Church. Abbeys or Cathedrals were built there, like at Caerwent and Caerleon.
  • Some of the British may have been driven away and their town buildings taken down by the Saxons, like at Silchester.
  • Some towns were quickly taken over by the Saxons, like at Canterbury and Winchester.
  • The Saxons did not usually live in towns.
  • The Saxons also sometimes gave the towns away to the Church. Abbeys or Cathedrals were built there, like at London and Dorchester-on-Thames.
  • Some Saxon kings built their palaces in old Romano-British towns, like at Winchester and York.
  • In the 7th century, the towns might also be split up into a number of 'estates' (an area of land with a big house at the centre).
  • As well as the King, important thanes and bishops would live in great halls there. They might also have watch-towers built of stone.
  • Proper town life only became popular again in the 8th century.
  • Some Romano-British towns were turned into Saxon walled towns in the 9th century.


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