Anglo Saxon History

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Map Position

This map shows the position of locations containing 'ay, et, ey, eye, is, island, ly, ney, sea, sey, ye, eg' centered on 50.820274,0.336920 in . Alongside the location map is one from http://flood.firetree.net of the same scale, showing the high tide level of 5 metres so you can comparison current day with Saxon times.

Map Logic

This map is shows the 5 metre high tide level around the coast of the Sussex at Pevensey. As you can see there is a marked difference between this map and current maps mainly due to Sea Defence work. The Pevensey marshes were tidal salt marshes with a few small islands protruding through the water.

If our current sea defenses were removed then the coastline would revert to a simolar shape.
This map is created by http://flood.firetree.net and is a brilliant way of visualising historic sea levels even though it wasn't designed for this purpose.


 
Icon Key:
Village
Farm/House
Wood

A logical discussion of why the high tide mark in Anglo Saxon times was 5 metres higher(Pevensey).



We are currently unable to include the map on our pages, so please click here for the map in a pop up window

 


Lets take an area I know - the Pevensey Levels in Sussex - click here if you would like to see a similar argument applied to the Wash .

and look at the Saxon place names which refer to islands these places are all derived from the Saxon word æg meaning an island, which has been shown to refer to modern place names starting in eg, ending in ay or et or ey or ly or ney or sea or sey or ye or is, or containing eye or island.

So lets take a look at modern Pevensey and see if we can make it into an island. The following images are derived from Open Streetmap with the sea level overlays provided by Alex Tingle from http://flood.firetree.net, please note that you can click on each map below to show the flood.firetree map.


The map above shows the current sea level, as you can see very few of the locations whose name implies an island are actually islands, but the area near Horseye is at sea level.


This map shows what the land would look like if the Sea Level rose by 1 metre, Pevensey is still land based.


This map shows what the land would look like if the Sea Level rose by 2 metres, the area around Pevensey is starting to look more like an island.


This map shows what the land would look like if the Sea Level rose by 3 metres, Pevensey is still not an island, but some of the others are.


This map shows what the land would look like if the Sea Level rose by 4 metres, this is much better but still the area near Pevensey is still not there yet.


This map shows what the land would look like if the Sea Level rose by 5 metres, Pevensey and all the other locations now look like islands, so this implies that the high tide level was at the 5 metre mark in early Saxon times when the villages were named.

So the logical conclusion is that the high tide level in early Saxon times was up to 5 metres higher than today, or the modern sea defenses are blocking this rise. So the whole area around Sussex and Kent would have looked similar to the map shown below, please note we are not showing the land that has been eroded from the coastline, which in the case of Sussex could be a metre per year.



So the logical conclusion is that the high tide level was up to 5 metres higher than today, or the modern sea defenses are blocking this rise.

I think this is a valid argument for a 5 metre sea level so we need to overlay all our maps with this and see what this shows, the map above shows what effect this would have on the South East of England, with a number of rivers cutting deep into the land. As you can see, most of the river valleys would have been accessible from the sea, the Romney and Pevensey Marsh areas together with the area around Worthing were salt marshes.



External References in no particular order :-
Original Manuscripts of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Online Anglo Saxon dictionary
Online Etymology dictionary
Open Domesday Book - The first free online copy of the Domesday Book
The Ermine Street Guard Roman re-enactment and research Society
The "Kent A" cadastre - page 5 - Peterson 2002
Archaeologia Cantiana Online
Romney Marsh Research Trust
Romney Marsh the Fifth Continent
VillageNet the reference guide to villages in Kent & Sussex
Global warming Flood Maps
The Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Google Maps - the core of the system
GeoPlaner - Useful site for plotting map data
Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars 55BC(Books 4 & 5)
Wikipedia - Caesar's invasions of Britain
Wikipedia - Portus Istus
The Geography of Claudius Ptolemy (Bill Thayers)
Roman Britain.org
Runetree Beowulf
Bayeux Tapestry Online
The Secrets of the Norman Invasion
Chronicles of John of Worcester
Battle Historic Society
Binsted village website(Mearcredesburnan Steðe)
The Spears of Andred
Find British Archaelogical Sites
Wealden Iron Research Group

 

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Author: Simon M - Last Updated: 08/04/2019 14:01
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Data is derived from a number or sources including the Ordnance Survey Gazetter data overlayed onto Google Maps