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The Angle, Saxon, and Jute tribes, who invaded Britain in the 5th and 6th Centuries, are

known as the Anglo-Saxons. They left their homelands in northern Germany, Denmark and northern Holland and rowed across the North Sea in wooden boats. The Anglo-Saxons were originally pagans. The names of their main gods survive in the days of the week. Wednesday was originally Woden’s Day, Tuesday comes from Tiw. Thursday was originally the day of Thor. Friday was dedicated to Frig(g), goddess of beauty. The Christian church had been well-established in Roman Britain by the early fifth century, and it suffered greatly from the invasions. But it did survive in those parts of Roman Britain that escaped the Anglo-Saxon invasions. From that church came two missionaries who started to bring Christianity beyond the former imperial frontiers in Britain. St Nynia (or Ninian) was the first missionary in Scotland. Almost the only thing we know about him was that he founded a church at Whithorn (Dumfries and Galloway). St Patrick was the first known missionary in Ireland. He had been captured as a boy by Irish raiders, but managed to escape from his slavery. At some point he decided to go back to Ireland. We do not know his dates or anything about where he worked, but he seems to have been buried at Downpatrick (County Down) in the late fifth century, although later on it was the church in Armagh that claimed him as its own.

Æthelberht gave him land in Canterbury to build a church. as not all inhabitants of Great Britain were Christians. rather than London. When Augustine arrived in the south east of England in 597 AD. in the Midlands was the kingdom of the Mercians. and north of the Humber there was Northumbria. king of Northumbria. and the West Saxons (Wessex). including Cornwall and Devon in the south west. of the South Saxons (Sussex). became the main centre for English Christianity.Numerous churches and monasteries were founded in the generations after St Patrick's death. the areas of . and Strathclyde. after deciding to leave Ireland in 565 AD. Wessex remained Anglo-Saxon as King Alfred of Wessex defeated the Vikings in battle. founded the monastery of Iona on an island west of the Isle of Mull in Scotland. Gradually. king of Kent. in what is now the region of Glasgow. There were 7 kingdoms in Anglo-Saxon England: in the south there were the kingdoms of Kent. Æthelberht and his court converted. he found that Æthelberht. and several neighbouring kings as well. Pope Gregory the Great (Pope from 590 to 604 AD) decided to send a missionary called Augustine to England to found major churches in London and York. who baptised Edwin. Gwynedd and Powys in modern Wales. was the most powerful king in the south east. in York in 627 AD. In Ireland there were numerous small kingdoms. Some British kingdoms remained independent. who founded Derry and Durrow in Ireland and. The last surviving member of Gregory's mission was Paulinus. However. Probably the most important founder was St Columba. By 878 the Vikings had conquered all of England except Wessex. and thus by accident Canterbury. to the east were the kingdoms of the East Angles (East Anglia) and the East Saxons (Essex).

A learned man. Alfred (also Ælfred from the Old English: Ælfrēd /'æl.England under Viking rule were reconquered by Alfred's descendants. Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself 'King of the Anglo-Saxons'. . 849 – 26 October 899) was king of the southern Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899.fred/) (c. Alfred encouraged education and improved the kingdom's law system. Alfred is noted for his defence of the kingdom against the Danish Vikings. becoming the only English King to be awarded the epithet 'the Great'.