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Anglo Saxons Armory Facts

Armour of Anglo Saxons

The Anglo Saxons made use of various weapons from the 5th century till the 11th century. Amongst all the weapons which were used by the Anglo Saxons, the most commonly used weapon was the spear.

The spear was mainly used for throwing purpose and piercing purpose. After the spear, the next commonly used weapon by the Anglo Saxons was the sword, the knife, the axe and the combination of bows and arrows. Though Anglo Saxons did make the use of slings, they were not really common amongst the Anglo Saxons and a very few percent of people used the sling.

Let us today study about the different Anglo Saxons weapons, warfare, tools facts from the 5th century to the 11th century.

Insight to the Anglo Saxons weapons


The Anglo Saxons weapons was of great importance and value to them as they were apparently known to have strong connections for social status and gender. In the early times of the Anglo Saxons, people used to include the weapons with the burial of the dead as a sign of grave goods.

Mostly, the highest number of the weapons were always buried in the graves of the male apart from a few exceptions for the same. Besides the weapons being buried along with the male graves, in the context of non-funerary, weapons were also deposited on the nearby rivers and on the ground, though on occasional basis.

Different types of weapons used by the Anglo Saxons

Let us now go through the different types of weapons which were used by the Anglo Saxons and also the different defensive guards used by the Anglo Saxons.

The Spears and the Javelins

Spear- Weapon
Anglo Saxon Spear

As already mentioned above, spears being the most commonly used weapons by the Anglo Saxons, they were found to be present in approximately 85% of the graves belonging to the Anglo Saxons.

The spears of the Anglo Saxons were designed in a way in which the spearhead made of iron was mounted on a shaft made of wood. The most commonly used material for the shaft was ash wood.

Regarding the length of the spears, there are the presence of very less evidences or information. However, aft

er studying the spears found in the graves of the Anglo Saxons, it was estimated that the length of the spears ranged from somewhere between 1.6 meters to 2.8 meters (or 5 feet 3 inches to 9 feet 3 inches). The end of the spearhead received a protection made of iron ferrule which also formed a hollow structure so that the same could sit and fit easily on the shaft. Considering the shape or style of the spearhead and also the size of the spearhead, it varied through a range and there was no fixed outcome.

The Swords

Anglo Saxon Swords

According to Pollington, the swords of the Anglo Saxons were the most important weapons in terms of symbolic reflection. The swords of the Anglo Saxons consisted of two flat and straight blades with sharp edges. The hilt covered the tang of the sword blade and consisted of two guards, one lower and one upper, a grip to hold the sword firmly and also a pommel.

The different varieties of the swords in terms of outer appearance depended on the designing of the pommel, which was indeed very versatile. The size of the blade ranged from 86 cm to 100 cm (or 34 inches to 40 inches) in terms of length and 4.5 cm to 6.5 cm in terms of width.

The Knives

Although the knives were used by the Anglo Saxons for battle, the basic purpose of the knives were for serving the household purposes. The blade length of a typical knife of the Anglo Saxons varied from 8 cm to 31 cm (or 3 inches to 12 inches) in terms of length of the blade.

The Anglo Saxons also used the scramsax knives for war which had a single cutting edge and typically varied in size in terms of length of the blade from 4 inches to 20 inches (or 10 cm to 51 cm).

The Axes

The small sized instruments having a small and single curved blade was the axe of the Anglo Saxons and also used as a weapon.

The Bows and Arrows

The rarest weapon used by the Anglo Saxons was the bow and arrow. Archaeologists claim that they were only found onside 1% of all the graves of men of the Anglo Saxons in which the bows and arrows were found. The bows and arrows of the Anglo Saxons were constructed in such a manner that the radius if traveled distance was 150 meters to 200 meters.

Defensive Equipment of the Anglo Saxons

Helmet- Defensive Armour

Broadly classifying, there were three different types of defensive equipment which was put to use by the Anglo Saxons.

The Shield

Near about 25% of the graves of men of the Anglo Saxons contained shield in it, thereby proving the fact that the shield was a highly common and appreciated defensive equipment used by the Anglo Saxons.

The shield of the Anglo Saxons used to be made up of a circular disk of wood cut out from a plank and iron boss used to be fitted at the center of the shield. For decoration purposes, iron fittings and bronze fittings were to be used on the shields of the Anglo Saxons.

The Mail

The knee length mail coats is another example of widely used Anglo Saxons equipment. This this also enacted as a warrior clothing itself, the mail was highly appreciated amoungst the Anglo Saxons. The only mail coat could be obtained at a grave in Sutton Hoo.

The helmets

The helmets were used as a primary defensive system to protect the heads of the warriors of the Anglo Saxons. The helmets were made of strong and fine material in order to provide that support one would require from it during battles. Regarding the size, shape and design of the helmets, the Anglo Saxons were quite versatile.

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