Anglo-Saxon dwellings appeared to be small, modest rural cottages. They were built of wood—fortunately, England was densely forested at the time, so there were plenty of building supplies! The straw-thatched pitched roofs of the wood cottages were square or rectangular. The walls were usually about a foot thick, made of wattle and daub: sticks and mud mixed together with animal dung and clay. There were only two rooms in an Anglo-Saxon cottage: a living room and a kitchen. The door led directly into the living room, which also had a window. From here you could enter another room—probably the bedroom—by way of a curtain or hatchway.
Anglo-Saxons lived in communities called "hamlets". These might be located in the countryside, near forests for timber and livestock, or even by large cities for their markets and services. A hamlet would typically have between 15 and 50 households. Each household owned some type of property such as land or buildings, which they would care for themselves or rent out to other people.
In order to protect their possessions, most Anglo-Saxons kept weapons nearby. You may still see swords, spears, and knives displayed in windows or on shelves in old houses today. Also missing are the dishes that would hold these items; instead, you will find pots and pans hanging from hooks inside the house.
Anglo-Saxon dwellings were wooden cottages with straw-thatched roofs. Forests comprised a large portion of the United Kingdom. The Saxons had enough of timber to work with. Everyone ate, cooked, slept, and entertained their guests in the same room. There were no windows in any house except for the doors. These houses could only be entered by an open door or hole carved in the wall for light and air.
The Normans brought with them stone buildings into England. They used the same building techniques as the Saxons but with stones instead. These are known as Norman castles. Most have been destroyed over time but several remain including Beaulieu Abbey near Southampton which was built in 1138.
In the 14th century, wealthy merchants and traders began to build their own homes. They were called Saxon halls because they were larger than Anglo-Saxon dwellings and had internal divisions (rooms) that made them feel more like a castle. These buildings had higher walls, multiple floors, and often included a tower at one end. They usually had only one entrance and one exit through the gatehouse or main entrance. The hall would serve as the family's living quarters but also could be used for entertaining guests or storing goods.
Brick architecture became popular in the 15th century when skilled workers began to make bricks using lime and clay from local sources. This method was much cheaper than using stone.
Early Anglo-Saxon structures in Britain were relatively basic, made mostly of wood with thatch for covering. Rather from settling in the old Roman cities, the Anglo-Saxons created tiny towns around agricultural centers, river fords, or areas to serve as ports. These early English settlements had streets and houses similar to those built by the Romans earlier.
As time went on, the Anglo-Saxons built more complex structures out of stone, but they still relied on wooden beams and posts inside their buildings. In fact, archaeologists have found parts of many Anglo-Saxon buildings still standing today that show how they were constructed without any metal tools other than nails! They used only wood and stone.
Anglo-Saxon builders were very creative. Apart from using wood and thatch, they also created houses out of clay and then painted them on the outside to make them look like stones or bricks. Some historians believe that this is where we get the word "brick" in English, because the Anglo-Saxons used a type of clay called "brick earth" when building their homes.
The Anglo-Saxons also built churches. There are still some intact Anglo-Saxon gravesites that contain skeletons with jewelry, weapons, and food remains that date back to the time when these people were buried.
The Anglo-Saxons lived in thatched-roof wooden cottages. There was usually only one room that everyone shared. Poor people shared shelters with animals, who were separated from them by a screen. The animal's body heat helped keep the cabin warm over the winter. In more wealthy homes, a fire was kept burning all night in a stone fireplace.
People knew how to make things like this before they existed - remember the Pyramids? Well, the Anglo-Saxons made tools using sharpened sticks or stones. They also made weapons out of wood. But sometimes they used bone or metal instead.
Anglo-Saxons lived between about 500 AD and 1066 AD. During that time, they spread across England. Some families moved around a lot because they worked for royalty or the church. This is called "farming out". The farmers would pay someone else to work their land in return for money or food. This is called "agrarian society".
In agriculture, you grow crops such as wheat or corn and then you harvest them. You can use the parts of the plant that we need today (such as flour for bread) or leave them for next year's crop (like stalks for fuel). After you've grown your own food, what remains is put into storage: either in our gardens or under cover. This is so we have enough food throughout the year.