Guest Author - Nicola Jane Soen
There has been some argument about the origins of the English. Some think that there is no such thing as a true English man and that the blood always has been racially mixed. There is even a famous saying that goes ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen’.
There are many theories on the origin of the English peoples before the invasion of Rome in 43 AD. Before the invasion there were different tribes. These however were not actually the people who were associated with being English. That came later, with the Angles and Saxons and Jutes. The first true people of England were Stone Age peoples; then Britons and Celtic peoples.
Two thousand years of English history actually existed before the Romans invaded. However the Roman invasion left no real impression on the English. Our language and history is more Saxon. The tribes of Britain rejected the foundations of the Romans, indeed the houses and temples with their sophisticated heating systems were left to ruin. The Roman-British tribes left were later also joined by Scandinavians; and of course the Normans. So these were clearly a much later settled peoples; even though it was these tribes that first are associated with the term English.
The early tribes were ruled by leaders called ‘Cynings’ meaning kin. This eventually changed into the word ‘King’. There is also much speculation on who was the first actual King of England. There were many kingdoms originally. The main seven were Wessex, Mercia, Sussex, Essex, Kent, East Anglia and Northumbria. These had there own tribal heads. However they were divided. Eventually they were united because of that old nemesis, invasion. By the ninth century the Danes were flooding Britain, and it was Egbert (802-839AD) of the House of Wessex who united the country, in the main, against the Danish invasion because of the fall of the other big tribal peoples.
This was the great age of the Saxon. Egbert did not pass over supremacy intact. However because of what he did achieve; he is usually credited by being recognised as the first king of England.
However the most famous of all Saxon kings is Alfred the Great (848-901AD). Alfred was born in Berkshire and is most famous for the story of the burning of cakes. He also is known for starting off the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. This was a historic record that continued for two centuries after his death. Moreover he is also known for setting standards up for Education.
The story of the cakes goes that in a battle with the Danes, Alfred was hiding in a peasant woman’s house, and was berated for leaving her cakes to burn, rather than retrieve them from the oven! Whether this tale is true or not Alfred was yearned for after he died in 901AD.
So the history of the English as you clearly see is not Norman. That invasion did not happen until 1066.
Thankyou: Eric.R.Delderfield, Wikipedea, and the Oxford mini history of Britain for their facts, which I read for this article.