Anglo Saxon Women

Below is a detailed article about Anglo Saxon women. We will discuss these women that lived in the Anglo Saxon era and study about their daily life, characteristics, clothing and many other things in this article. You can also read more about who were the anglo saxon and where did they come from?

Life of women in the Anglo Saxon era


Occupations of women in the Anglo Saxon era

Women usually did work that involved less labor. They mended interiors in the houses of the Anglo Saxon era as they were usually harmed by the changing weather. Women made cheese and processed dairy products at home. They did the cooking and keeping the house clean. However, this was also done by men at times. Spinning and weaving were also one of the primary occupations of women in the Anglo Saxon era.

A representation of the Anglo Saxon women by a young modern day girl wearing a hand sewn Anglo Saxon clothing

The lower class women served as housemaids, nurses, and weavers. They were also entertainers and singers, some were also comedians. They were hired by those of the upper classes.

Christian influence on Life of women in the Anglo Saxon era

Biblical doctrines about virginity being a virtue and the benefits of a faithful married life were the basis of women’s perspectives in the Anglo Saxon era. As Christianity became powerful in society, women gained a lot of freedom in the anglo saxon era. Women also began entering the convent and began leading holy and godly lives. These women were regarded as holy and were appreciated in society by all men and women.

Illustrative of the Anglo Saxon Women

This is how women played a major role in the Anglo Saxon clergy. These women were responsible for taking care of the functioning of the church. They would take care of day to day activities and preserve the church property. However, it was clear that men and women had equal opportunities in the Anglo Saxon church.

Sexual Norms for women in the Anglo Saxon era

Women were not meant to enjoy the practice of sex, irrespective of the fact that they were married or not. Therefore, sex was never gentle. Prostitution was a part of the culture, however, it cannot be concluded and common women were paid 6 shillings while women that belonged to the King had to pay as high as 30 shillings.

Rape was condemned in the society and women were protected under the laws of Alfred for this regard. However, a rape victim had a tough life as studies suggest that raped dead bodies had no ceremonies conducted on them. Sexual assaults on women were highly condemned not only by the governing body but also by the clergy.

Many women were preachers, prophets, and healers as well.

Rights of the Anglo Saxon women

The women in the anglo saxon era had property rights and were also landowners. Women could also inherit property, clothing, jewels, books or anything left for their possession by their respective ancestors.

Clothing of Anglo Saxon women

They wore an underdress on an overdress made of linen and fastened the buckles with string or braid. They always wore long. They wore a belt around the waist and accessories were suspended on the belt. Archaeological excavations suggest the use of crystals, rings, bracelets, and beaded ornaments. Shoulder brooches and elbow length sleeves were also worn toward the late 10th century.

A Wax Statue of the Anglo Saxon Woman at a Museum

The women weaved their own sweaters and also those for men. They also used the spinning machine to make their own clothes. The upper-class women had their clothes made and designed by those that made clothes for a living. Not only that, but they also had their jewelry made with precious stones and crystals.

Very less is known about the Anglo Saxon women, all gathered information is purely based on excavations and literature available from the time.

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