Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Sutton Hoo Helmet

Ten things...

How many of these interesting things about the Anglo-Saxons do you already know..?

1. The Sutton Hoo helmet is one of only four from the Anglo-Saxon period ever discovered. The others were found at Benty Grange (a Derbyshire farm) in 1848; Wollaston (Northamptonshire) in 1997, and Coppergate in York (during the construction of the JORVIK Viking Centre) in 1982.

2. March was called "Hredmonth" by the Anglo-Saxons, after the pagan goddess Hreda to whom they sacrificed during that month. Friday is named after Frige, or Freya, the Anglo-Saxon love goddess.

3. Anglo-Saxon New Year was celebrated close to December 25 with a feast called "modranect"– "the night of mothers".

4. Many Anglo-Saxon graves contained charms and amulets, such as cowrie shells and pendants made of boar’s tusk or beaver teeth. Slaves were often buried with their masters, so they could continue serving them in the after-life.

5. "Girdle-hangers" were key-shaped objects usually found in Anglo-Saxon women’s graves, and thought to symbolise economic control of a household.

6. The term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is thought to date from King Alfred the Great, who used the title "rex Angul-Saxonum".

View accross Sutton Hoo
A view across the frost-covered burial mounds at Sutton Hoo
©NTPL/Joe Cornish

7. Most Anglo-Saxon buildings were made from timber and thatch.

8. The Bayeux Tapestry is the most famous piece of Anglo-Saxon art.

9. Caedmon’s Hymn, which dates from the seventh century, is the oldest surviving written text in the English language.

10. The most popular Anglo-Saxon musical instrument was the lyre.