Saxon Seaxe Anglo Saxon History
Map Position
This map shows the position of locations containing 'ay, ey, eye, is, island, ly, ney, sea, sey, ye, eg' centered on Coldham in Cambridgeshire. Alongside the location map is one from 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 Wash. As you can see there is a marked difference between this map and current maps mainly due to Sea Defence work. The Wash 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 this shape.
This map is derived from and is a brilliant way of visualising historic sea levels even though it wasn't designed for this purpose.
Icon Key:

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

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


Lets take an area I don't really know, the Wash and see if the Pevensey arguement applies- click here if you would like to see a similar argument applied to an area I do know, the Pevensey Levels in Sussex.

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 at the top of the page shows what effect this would have on the Wash. As you will see on the top map, most of the river valleys would have been accessible from the sea, a large areas would have been.

The 'Time Team' carried out a dig at 'Bawsey st Peter' in Norfolk and found a causeway to the island there, this also ties in with the increase in high tide level by about 5 metres, the Saxon name Bawsey either means 'Pasture Island' or 'Boars Island' so more evidence that the 5 metre mark is valid.

The following images are derived from Open Streetmap with the sea level overlays provided by Alex Tingle from, 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 Ely is at sea level.

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

This map shows what the land would look like if the Sea Level rose by 2 metres, the area around Ely 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, Ely is just an island, but some of the others are still not islands.

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 Spalding is still not there yet.

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

The University of Durham Archaeological Department has suggested a similar sea level rise in the Wash in late Roman times based on sediment analysis (early Saxon). and indeed calculations for Spalding based on estimates of highest tides suggest a maximum rise of 4.22m, echoed by 4.52m on the Fen Causeway between Peterborough and Denver in Roman times.

I think the above information provides a valid argument for a 4-5 metre sea level rise in early Saxon times compared to today, this could be actual rises or that the modern sea defenses are blocking this rise. So the whole area around the Wash, Norfolk and Lincolnshire 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 Norfolk has been be a few metres per year.

External References in no particular order :-
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)
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
Topographic Map of the UK


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Author: Simon M - Last Updated: 29/11/2023 12:19
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Data is derived from a number or sources including the Ordnance Survey Gazetter data overlayed onto Google Maps