St. Mary’s in Castro (Saxon Church at Dover)

We talked about Dover Castle last season, but it’s worth revisiting, in large part for the same reason we devoted a video to it before: the long history of occupation. Specifically, in regards to the Saxons, Dover was one of the first places William the Conqueror conquered—and thankfully, he left the original Saxon church intact for us to visit to this day and, according to English Heritage, is the ‘largest and finest Saxon building in Kent’. The first record of the church at Dover is around 630 AD, when the records talk about a church built within the castle, which is where it gets its name Saint Mary in Castro. This is in the time of Eadbald, son of Æthelberht, the first Saxon king to convert to Christianity. Credence is given to the idea that the structure we see today Read more…

Saxon Religion

Are you saying the Saxon religion wasn’t Christianity? Not initially. We’ve spent the last ten videos or so talking about Christianity, but as I discussed way back in the beginning of last season, Britain was conquered by waves of ethnic groups. I mentioned five at the time: Celts, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans. The Romans brought Christianity to Britain, after which a significant number of Britons converted to it. By the time the Romans left, there were enough Christians in Britain to create a contrast to the Saxon invaders who were polytheistic. This contrast between pagan and Christian was highlighted by the Britons themselves at the time and after the fact. The worst crime, according to the annals, was that, in the middle of the 5th century, the British Christian king Vortigern invited these pagan Saxons into Britain, as a Read more…