Maps: 500 – 1000

The maps below include:

  • Roman Britain
  • A general map of the people of Britain in the 6th Century
  • The Heparchy – those 7 Anglo Saxon Kingdoms
  • The main English rivers: might sound a bit daft, but rivers as a land mark are constantly referred to throughout the Viking Age.
  • The Shires of England: Again, we are constantly referring to ‘calling our the Fyrd of …’ which sounds very heroic but ‘where was that again?’
  • England in the 10th Century: showing Danelaw all that sort of thing
  • England in the 10th Century: Another version, courtesy of my brother, which has the added benefit of being on a map of England with the real coastline of the time – i.e. before swamp draining by Dutch Engineers…















The Heptarchy – 7 Kingdoms in the 7th Century

The Heptarchy 7th Century













 The main English rivers

Major Rivers of England











 The Shires of England

Shires of England


England in the 10th Century

England in the 10th Century

 England and the Treaty of Wedmore

  Anglo Saxon England






41 thoughts on “Maps: 500 – 1000

  1. Brilliant series. I have spent many a happy and fascinated evening listening to your excellent series. Has sparked a new interest in early English history.
    Question: whats your take on the ‘new’ analysis of the early anglo saxon period, that in fact their was no ‘invasion’ by the saxons and that the changes in dress, culture and military equipment was by osmosis rather than take-over as proposed by Francis Pryor in his excellent 3 part series ‘England AD’ which blew my socks off.
    Best H-P Verhoeven

  2. Thanks Hans-Peter. I confess that I’d love to go back and re-do that particualr period – I took a rather idiosyncratic approach in focussing on the West saxons, who were after all the smaller of the tribes initially. Still, can’t do that now…
    But I did read some of Francis Pyor’s work and fascinating it is too. It’s a poser, because of course there is plenty of evidence the toger way isn’t there? For example, why are there so few survivals of British place names, out of all proportion to what happens with teh Norman conquest.
    For what it’s worth, I ended up fence sitting. I found Pryor convincing on the archaeological evidence, and find it difficult to visualise the size of a migration that completely pushed out an indigeonous population; it’s rather tantalising that many of the earliest kings of Wessex had Celtic names. So I figured that what we have is substantial migration, big enough to mean that a large percentage of the population was Anglo Saxon and therefore to have a cultural takeover, but also including a substantial assimilation of the british population. But maybe that’s me trying to square a circle.

  3. I heard in Tony Robinson’s Time Team that genetic analysis of modern day English show a large % of Celtic genes/DNA (whichever one it is). This would support the idea of a slow migration and inter marriage, rather than a pushing out of the population. Perhaps it was more like the Norman invasion, with the kings and lords etc being Anglo Saxon, but not so much the lower classes.
    I love your podcast series. I use it when commuting and while cooking and cleaning. Makes those activities worthwhile. I am Australian. My father’s family immigrated here in 1905. They came from a long line of Kentish peasants.

  4. Hi Eirene – yes, it’s a matter of continual and sometimes hot debate – Francis Pryor shares your view for example. However, someone also sent me a link to a fascinating genetic project which showed similarities between genetic types, and therefore found similar grouping; and the groups are spookily similar to the invasion story.
    I guess we’ll never know for sure, which is why that period is so fun! But I find the argument for a wholesale replacement slightly more convincing.

  5. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle. I love listening to your podcasts, and am really enjoying the Anglo Saxon period as now the dots are beginning to join up! What is the best copy / edition of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle to buy?

    1. Jacqui, I’m really sorry I don’t know. I used a copy I had at university; it’s edited by Anne Savage and is still available, and has pretty pictures and commentary. I can heartily recommend it, but don’t know if it’s the best…

  6. Hi David, I’m a late joiner to your podcast and find it fascinating! Funny I’m an American Catholic of Irish/French ancestry so I should hate all English history, but it’s too fun to stop listening. Thank you for making it so!
    Jon Pierre

    1. Hi Jon – and you can be proud! You are clearly a paragon of objectivity.
      Thanks for the compliment and long may it continue

  7. I hail from near Buckingham and my Shire seems to have moved around. At one point it was where Essex, Wessex and Mercia met. Another time it was in the Danelaw and another was in Mercia.
    Excellent maps. Thank you

  8. I found this podcast in December when I was looking around for something more to fill my mind instead of job-related exasperation. It works for that purpose and I’m learning cool things as well (I enjoy shocking my mother with Viking facts as our family is very, very Scandinavian). Also, I have started using “…not a happy bunny” and “the rough end of a pineapple” in conversations, even though it doesn’t sound as cool with a Minnesotan accent. These podcasts are perfect for while I’m doing illustrations in the evenings.

    Thank you so much for all the happiness and knowledge and Monty Python references!

    1. I am very pleased! So pleased you are a bunny most happy, and I am sure it sounds far cooler in Minnesotan! Thanks you

  9. Hi David, I first heard you on Extra History and finally got round to starting the podcast. I’m listening at an alarming rate but plenty to get through! Love the maps too, the scale of Northumbria baffles me, I presume it was far more of a general area of influence than what we’d today think of as a nation?

    1. Hi Tom, and very glad you are enjoying it! Yes, broadly speaking you might describe it as a network of lordships and lordly relationships. But as time goes by of course, England as a whole becomes remarkably centralised with genuine public offices such as earldormen.

  10. Hello, David!

    Although I have been interested in Medieval British history for several decades, I only recently started listening to podcasts on the subject. I am glad I found yours. The Anglo Saxon period has always been a bit hard for me to connect the dots and that is exactly what your podcast has done for me. One question I have wanted to ask you concerns your opening guitar music. Is that you playing and is that something original you wrote or someone else’s composition? Thanks!

    1. Hello Hayden, and thank you, that’s very kind of you. The music is a traditional tune called Black Waterside, and it’s being played by a friend of mine called Davie, since I am genuinely rubbish at playing any kind of musical instrument! He used it because it is the tune that inspired a Led Zep track called Black Mountain side, and he knows I am a fan….

  11. Hello again David!
    I’m still chugging through on my commute, no doubt irritating other metrolink commuters with the odd chuckle or contemplative mutter. I’m up to Alfred now and have another question. It’s something that’s always bugged me about history and thought you may have some insight. When our English boys are making these treaties with the Vikings, who is doing the translating? How do these translators come about? Wouldn’t want to be the first chap from either side to risk an axe in the face trying to learn your enemy’s language. I’ve been scouring the web for anything about how translators emerged in largely illiterate societies and haven’t come up with anything.

    Thanks for the great content,

    1. Hi Tom, and it’s a great question, t which I do not know the answer. I would guess it would be churchmen who were normally the language experts – but then their expertise was Latin, not that handy for the Danes. There must simply have been some people who lived in both camps and learned the two languages I guess….sorry, bit useless!

    2. Considering there was a seafaring trade network all around europe many many years before our “official” history begins, it’s safe to assume that the foreign languages would not have been alien to the listener!

  12. Hello David, I have been catching up on HoE after a renewed interest in English History – spurred, ironically, by my surprised interest in French (Norman) history after a visit to Normandy with my wife in 2018. Shows like “Vikings” and “The Last Kingdom” also stoked the flames. Much linking to my interest in my heritage. A Montgomery on my father’s mother’s side, the obligatory Garrett, my wife’s a Braddock, and so on – very much an anglo-saxon-norman-norse combination if my understanding of French/English/’Viking’ history is even modestly correct. My point for writing is that even my son (8) loves listening to HoE as we commute to and from hockey practices in the central U.S. We just wrapped up a segment on William Marshall that we both really enjoyed. Thank you for your dogged hunt of history and bringing it to life. A Big Thanks!

  13. Wow! What a site! So interesting! I am eager to jump into it at depth, but write to you because I am not a fan of staring into computer screens. A book of maps that details England’s changes through time is what I hope to find, just like you have here…but more, and continuing into modern times. How interesting to track when great cathedrals and castles arose, and when towns emerged. Can you please direct me to such a book? Thank you so much!

  14. David-
    Recently started on the HOE ascent. I’m on episode 34. I was initially drawn from a curiosity about England in the days just after the Roman presence and societal adaptation when civilization draws nigh. Then I got hooked into the story. All these kings and nobles out to screw each other. The great thing about history is that you see that this is has all usually been done before–in more primitive versions. Take out the nuclear codes and there’s not much to worry about these days.

    1. So true; I despair with my children sometime – OK, they are meant to change the world so fine, proud of them for that. But we should always savour the knowledge that in the west at least we live longer, happier, safer, more varied lives that ever before. Just call me Polyanna

  15. Greetings!
    I have listened to your HoE podcast for the last few months and sometimes I have binged and listened to one after the other all weekend. Consequently I raced through and landed at the “end” which means I decided to go back to the beginning and start all over!
    Such wonderful info and such a great storyteller you are!
    I confess I knew practically zip about the anglosaxons so listening again I am able to absorb more and am not freaked out by all the “athel” names. lol
    Thank you so much kind sir for your work. It is impressive!

    1. Thank you so much – you are very kind and it’s lovely of you to take the trouble to get in touch

  16. Hi Dave, I’ve just found your site and I became fascinated with your pod-cast. I live in Nova Scotia Canada. My Mum is from the Hampshire area. I am trying to find more about the earlies people who lived there. I don’t know what comes next in regards to your pod-cast site. Could you send me the link? I would like to connect with you, if that is agreeable with you. Thanks ~ Mary

  17. The “Shires of England in the Tenth Century” map is really annoying me. There was no county of York in the 10th century or anything of a similar name as a part of England. There was the Kingdom of Jórvík, entirely outside English control – basically the southern part of Northumbria that had been conquered by the Danes. When the English reconquered it, it once again became part of Northumbria. Possibly the later Danish kings of England (Cnut and Hardacnut) revived “York” as a political entity, given that ‘Yorkshire” first appeared in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles in 1065, in the reign of their successor, Edward the Confessor – but in the 11th century. And where is WESSEX – which existed throughout the 10th century and only left the map in 1066 when Harold II unified it with England (being both Earl of Wessex and King)? And what is County Durham doing there, when it was only established in 1293 – in the late 13th century? What is going on with this map?? Does anyone know what its provenance is, why it has some many anachronisms, and why it’s even called a 10th century map?

      1. In any case, the “England in the 10th Century” map (below the “Shires of England in the Tenth Century’ map) is much more accurate.

        1. Phew! I feel as though I have been on a journey of upset with you! I think the map was just to give those unfamiliar with the names of English shires a bit of a view about where the narrative was. I wasn’t greatly concerned with precision.

  18. Hello, David! I’m a new listener, American, with an unexplained fascination with early English history and geography. I’ve known that my recent ancestors (200 years back) were Irish and Swedish, but I just can’t shake my feeling of connection with England, so your podcasts have been tickling my fancy. Chronologically, I’m only up to episode 40, and appreciate your posted maps to help me see what you refer to. Thank you! I wanted to share that yesterday I ran my DNA data through My True Ancestry’s system and discovered actual DNA matches with many English archeological finds – most notably, I share DNA with one of the skeletal remains of Viking victims found at St. John’s College. (Oh, that silly Æthelred!) I have dozens of “hits” with Anglo-Saxons, Celts and other early settlers in England, which is amazing and fantastic… I knew, deep down, that my roots were there, and I thank you for helping me learn more about my buried past. Carry on, and cheers!

    1. Hi Maureen, and lovely to hear from you, and very pleased you are enjoying the podcasts. What an exciting and varied ancestry! I have only gone back 3 generations, and we appear to have stayed in Yorkshire and Lancashire … so less varied! But by the sounds of things I should go further back! Thanks for getting in touch, and good luck with the searching

  19. Hello, I am an American listener and most of these places I’ve had a vauge knowledge of their exisitence like Essex (new it was a place not much else) or have heard nothing about.

    However, I have one question I see the territory of Northumbria from the early 6th century maps, when and how did the Northumbrians get split into part of it becomming English, was it split by themselves at some point due to their instability or by the Daines/Norwiegines or was it done by the Wessex by Edward, or is it something more complicated like it was all subjigated by the Daines and Wessex was only able to kick the Daines out of the southern portion?

    Anyway thanks for the podcast all the episodes are very enjoyable to listen to and I’d be happy for any reply.

    1. I think there are two processes going on. One is the Danish invasion, and the subsequent Wessex conquest which strip Northumbria of political independence – Wessex does eventually kick the Danes out of Northumbria of courese – or politically so. The second are the economic and administrative processes that lead to the division of England into parishes, estates and shires. But I am kind of making it up!

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