Are Anglo-Saxons Christian

Updated: 8/19/2023
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12y ago

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As with any group, individuals can vary. But speaking generally, yes, Anglo Saxons, for the most part, are Christians. But that also depends on how far back you want to go. Anglos Saxons at one time were pagans, just like Vikings, Danes, Jutes, and Celts. They worshiped a variety of gods.

The island of Britain was populated by all sorts of Germanic, Nordic, and Celtic peoples anciently. Christianity arrived in the British Isles around 200 AD. It gained followers among all the different peoples that then lived in Britain (mainly those regarding themselves as Roman and the disparate tribes of what we now call Celts). With the loss of support from the Roman emperor around 400 AD, others groups invaded Britain to take control. Vikings, Danes, Jutes, Saxons, etc., all came in from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. The Saxons came from Northern Germany and really took control of most of Southern England. Meanwhile, further north the Angles moved in and spread from the North Sea coast of east anglia across the midlands.

Both mixed with the existing peoples and eventually united to become "Anglo Saxons" - Anglo became the origin of the word "English." By this time, Christianity was fairly well spread throughout Northern Europe and Britain, and would have been the dominate religion by the early middle-ages.

In 1066 AD, William the Conqueror invaded England (not Britain) from Normandy in Northern France. William was a Norman and spoke Norman French. The French Knights that arrived with him were granted land across England, that formerly owned by the Anglo-Saxons Lords who had been killed. Over time, they too mixed with the local people and the English language emerged from the mix of foreign tongues.

The term Anglo saxon isn't really a racial distinction, and today, when you hear someone referred to as being Anglo-Saxon, it really means from English heritage - whatever that may mean.

In the founding of America, many English people settled in the Northern states (i.e., New England area). These early settlers brought with them their traditions, language, and Christian faith. Most of the secondary wave of arrivals were Protestant people fleeing religious persecution in England. They were conservative and pious. They left a legacy of Protestant values that is still seen throughout the Northeast.

In America the term Anglo-Saxon is used by some to identify people who came from the racial stock of those early English pilgrims that settled the New England area. It's a term that's both used positively and negatively. Those who are proud of their early pilgrim heritage look at being Anglo-Saxon as a positive thing. Those who view it negatively often associate it with being stuffy, conservative, pious, and old fashioned. Thus you get the term "WASP" which stands for White Anglo Saxon Protestant. However, to be a WASP is to be identified by your social economic status more than your genealogical origins.

It is also used in European discussion as a description of a northern European, British-German view of economies, again this is referring to economic principles more than any racial description.

Very few people use Anglo-Saxon purely as a national or racial term then. You can be French or Italian, but nobody really goes around saying they are Anglo-Saxon in the same sense. Anglo-Saxon is mainly a vague historical term if used purely for racial/ethnic distinction and today it is used more as a cultural distinction that has less to do with one's actual genealogy than with social economic appearance.

So are all Anglo-Saxons Christians? That's like saying are all Bostonian's Christian? Some are, and some aren't. Statistically they're more likely to describe themselves as such, but a minority would actually go to church.

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14y ago

No. Christianity originally came to Britain under the Romans, with the ruling class entirely Christian by 429 CE.

The Angles and Saxons invaded around 550 to 570 CE and much of what is now England returned to pagan beliefs. A Christian mission sent in 597 from Rome to Britain, under Augustine, visited the king of Kent who agreed it would be politically valuable to have continental support, and so became Christian. In 603, Mellitus, one of Augustine's assistants persuaded the king of Essex to become Christian. Thus the Anglo-saxons adopted Christianity after their arrival in Britain.

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