More Light on the Dark Ages

Home/The Daily Digest/The Daily Digest 2017/More Light on the Dark Ages

So what do we know about the Channel Islands between AD 410 (when the Romans left Britain) and 1066 (when the Normans conquered Britain)?

Roman Gaul was taken over by the Franks, from which it got the name France. From around the year 486 we were probably ruled by the Franks. Angles and Saxon invaders from Germany took over southern Britain, from which we get the name England. The Bretons were people that used to live in the west of England but were chased out by the Saxons and escaped across the sea. The place they decided to live is now called Brittany. For a time the islands were also ruled by the Bretons and we can guess that the Bretons and Franks probably fought each other.

Christianity became popular in the Roman Empire from the fourth century. Christian monks wrote down histories of their saints and several came to the Channel Islands in the sixth century. St Sampson came to Guernsey around AD 560 and founded a church. St Magliore founded a monastery in Sark and St Tugual is said to have founded a chapel in Herm. Archaeologists have not found St Sampson’s first church but parts of St Tugual’s chapel date to the Dark Ages. At the Vale Church is a prehistoric standing stone that has been ‘christianised’ by carving a cross on it.

The Vikings came from Norway and were known as the ‘Northmen’. They attacked the coasts of France and by 911 were given the land now called Normandy. St Magliore’s monestary was destroyed by the Vikings and they are said to have built a castle in Guernsey. Many local names come from Viking words, including Alderney, Burhou, Guernsey and Jersey. A single Viking game counter made of bone, and a few pieces of Frankish pottery are almost all the objects we have found from these 600 years of history.

By | 2017-06-26T11:43:38+00:00 June 29th, 2017|The Daily Digest, The Daily Digest 2017|0 Comments

About the Author:

Claire Thorpe - AWT
Claire studied biology at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2013. Her main focus became the ecology modules, leading to a dissertation on the effects non-native tree species can have on biodiversity. A year off included volunteering for the Wildlife Trust in the Scilly Isles and teaching English in China. Claire then completed her MSc in Conservation at UCL. Her thesis looked at the policy and objectives surrounding a marine protected area in Jamaica, and research involved interviews with politicians, researchers and community members. Post-graduation Claire worked for a natural health charity as their campaign coordinator, gaining experience in article writing, social media and communications.

Leave A Comment