Kings

Anglo-Saxon settlers lived in groups under a chief, who could grow in strength and become a king. These kings ruled a kingdom and led a small army. Kings were in competition with each other.

Archaeological digs have uncovered coins, clothes, shields, cups, shoes, lyres (musical instruments), and weapons.

The treasure buried with the king included coins (with dates on them), the remains of clothes and armor, a shield, drinking cups, shoes, a lyre, a gold belt buckle, a sword and a helmet. It was clear this was the burial place of a great leader.

One king, Offa, who lived in the 8th century AD, was the strongest, most powerful king in England at the time. He was the first to issue pennies as coins. Under his leadership they built a wall and ditch for defense in battles.

Kings didn’t imprison anyone. Criminals were executed, punished, or fined. Any criminal that ran away would be considered an outlaw that anyone could hunt down. The church was considered a sanctuary where outlaws could be safe from those chasing after them.

Fines for crimes were paid to the person who suffered from the crime in order to prevent revenge attacks.

Slaves were owned in this society. Slaves could own no land. They could be captured or born into slavery. They would sleep in sheds and barns, while free peasants lived in small huts. Kings and other leaders lived in big wooden houses.