What Was Life Like for Anglo-Saxons?


Quick Answer

Life for Anglo-Saxons typically consisted of farming during the day for the men and cooking, cleaning and weaving for the women. Even the children helped with the chores, learning their future duties from their parents.

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Full Answer

Life for Anglo-Saxons differed depending on their class in the society. The top, land-owning class were the thanes who rented out their land to the churls who worked the land. The thanes owned slaves called thralls. Although thanes hunted, feasted and slept in beds, their houses were usually only wooden huts with simple furniture and tapestry-covered walls. They were in charge of the small Anglo-Saxon villages and the land.

Churls lived in rough houses with thatched roofs, earthen floors and no windows that they often shared with livestock. They commonly used rushes for light. Other than farming, some churls also specialized in other jobs such as leatherworking, woodworking and blacksmithing. Although thralls were rare in Anglo-Saxon England, churls sometimes lived a slave-like existence because of their dependence on the land owned by the thanes.

Commoners generally wore a tunic, breeches, wool leggings and cloaks for the men and tunics worn over long linen garments and mantles for the women. Anglo-Saxons ate potage, bread, cheese and stew. They used the milk from cows to make butter and cheese and ate eggs from all kinds of birds including chickens.

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