Anglo-Saxon Books: Discovering the Storytelling Treasures of the Past

The Anglo-Saxon era was an important period in English history, known for its rich literary tradition. The manuscripts produced during this time provide us with valuable insights into the culture, beliefs, and stories of the Anglo-Saxon people. In this article, we will explore Anglo-Saxon books, their significance, and why they are relevant for Key Stage 2 (KS2) students today.

  1. Beowulf: The Epic Adventure of a Hero

One of the most famous Anglo-Saxon books is Beowulf, an epic poem that tells the thrilling tale of a heroic warrior battling fearsome monsters. KS2 students will find this story engaging and exciting, as they delve into the world of dragons, giants, and epic battles. Reading or studying Beowulf can inspire conversations about bravery, honor, and the timeless theme of good versus evil.

  1. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Historical Treasure

For those keen on history, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a remarkable resource. It is a collection of manuscripts that chronicles the history of England, starting from the Roman occupation to the Norman conquest. This compilation allows KS2 students to study primary sources and explore the events and figures that shaped the nation. Reading excerpts from the Chronicle enables students to gain a deeper understanding of the past and appreciate the challenges and achievements of the Anglo-Saxon era.

  1. Religious Manuscripts: The Lindisfarne Gospels

The Anglo-Saxon period was characterized by the spread of Christianity, and religious manuscripts played a central role during this time. One significant example is the Lindisfarne Gospels, a beautifully illustrated book containing the four Gospels of the Christian Bible. KS2 students can explore the intricate artwork and calligraphy while learning about the importance of religion and spirituality during the Anglo-Saxon period. This book serves as a visual representation of the devotion and artistic talent of the time.

  1. The Exeter Book: A Collection of Anglo-Saxon Poetry

The Exeter Book is a remarkable anthology of Anglo-Saxon poetry, covering a wide range of themes and styles. Reading some of the poems from this collection, such as "The Wanderer" or "The Seafarer," allows KS2 students to explore deeper emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Discussing the themes of loneliness, exile, and the impermanence of life can help children develop empathy and critical thinking skills.

  1. Visualizing Anglo-Saxon Culture: The Bayeux Tapestry

Although not a book in the traditional sense, the Bayeux Tapestry is an invaluable visual resource that tells the story of the Norman conquest of England. It depicts events leading up to the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066. By studying this embroidered cloth, KS2 students can gain a broader understanding of the Anglo-Saxon era, its artistry, and the historical events that shaped England.


Exploring Anglo-Saxon books provides KS2 students with a fascinating insight into the history, culture, and storytelling tradition of this important period in English literature. From the epic adventures of Beowulf to the historical accounts in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, these books offer a window into the past. Studying the manuscripts, poems, and visual resources like the Bayeux Tapestry allows students to engage in critical thinking, develop empathy, and appreciate the enduring value of these literary treasures. By understanding and appreciating the Anglo-Saxon era, KS2 students can connect with their historical roots and embark on their own literary journeys.