Monday, March 23, 2009

The West Saxons and the East Saxons

Another swarm also of Saxons, called Gewissas, landed on the shore of Southampton Water. After a time they were reinforced by a body of Jutes, and though the Jutes formed settlements of their own in the Isle of Wight and on the mainland, the difference of race and language between them and the Gewissas was not enough to prevent the two tribes from coalescing. Ultimately Gewissas and Jutes became known as West Saxons, and established themselves in a district roughly corresponding with the modern Hampshire. Then, having attempted to penetrate further west, they were defeated at Mount Badon, probably Badbury Rings in Dorsetshire. Their overthrow was so complete as to check their advance for more than thirty years. Whilst the coast line from the inlet of the sea now filled by Romney Marsh to the western edge of Hampshire had thus been mastered by Saxons, others of the same stock, known as East Saxons, seized upon the low coast to the north of the Thames. From them the land was called Essex. Neither Saxons nor Jutes, however, were as yet able to penetrate far up the valley of the Thames, as the Roman settlement of London, surrounded by marshes, still blocked the way.

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