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At the Edge of the World is a history documentary of the peoples of the British Isles from the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West (AD410) to the death of King William the Conqueror (1087). It is a series of 100 episodes. The first twelve episodes are available to view below. Written and presented by Robert Smith, Chairman of the Manorial Society of Great Britain - www.msgb.co.uk.

 

 

Quick links:

 

12: Pen is mightier than sword

 

11: AD 597 - Augustine arrives in Kent

 

10: Christianity becomes the Imperial religion

 

9: 440s: Invasion under way: Hengest and Horsa land in Kent

 

8: 8th-9th centuries: the fall and rise of kings

 

7: 5th-6th centuries: who were the invaders of Britain?

 

6: 5th century: King Arthur and the first Anglo-Saxons

 

5: 877-899: King Alfred and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

 

4: c 700 to c 1087: Chronicles and law codes

 

3: c 44BC to c AD410: Roman Britain and early Christianity

 

2: 1087: What was England like at the Conqueror's death?

 

1: 1086: William the Conqueror's Domesday Court

 

Pilot – An Introduction

 

Trailer

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Episode 12: Pen is mightier than sword

 

Augustine and his priests rendered the Anglo-Saxon language into the Latin alphabet, and a result was the first written law code.   The pen is truly mightier than the sword, and royal authority was made more effective.   The Church showed kings how they could emulate Roman emperors, and a mutually self-supporting relationship began between the spiritual and the temporal.

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Episode 11: AD 597 - Augustine arrives in Kent

 

Sent to Britain in 597 by Pope Gregory the Great, Augustine and his evangelists wanted to turn back, ‘being,’ according to Bede, ‘appalled at the idea of going to a barbarous, fierce, and pagan nation.’   They persevered, landed in Kent, and were received well by the local king Aethelberht.

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Episode 10: Christianity becomes the Imperial religion

 

In this Episode we shall see how a holy vision before a battle caused a Roman emperor to end the persecution of Christians, and to make Christianity the State religion of his whole Empire, including Britannia. The way was paved for the arrival of St Augustine in Kent, in 597, who was to begin the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons.

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Episode 9: 440s: Invasion under way: Hengest and Horsa land in Kent

 

Where did the invaders come from and why?   Traditionally, the first of them were two brothers, Hengest and Horsa, who arrived in Sheppey, Kent.   Some Britons fled to Wales, southern Scotland, the north-west, and the south-west.   Some even went to Brittany, giving that modern departement of western France its name.   Most Britons seem to have stayed and their top people started marrying into the top Anglo-Saxon people.

 

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Episode 8: 8th-9th centuries: the fall and rise of kings

 

The Church brought writing to England, as it brought it to Picts, in Scotland, and Franks in France.   Law codes were written, and grants or confirmations of land ownership - and the making of wills - seem slowly to have been made in writing as a record for future.   When did England become known as England?

 

 

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Episode 7: 5th-6th centuries: who were the invaders of Britain?

 

The Anglo-Saxons arrived in England in about 455.   What do we mean when we speak of kings and kingdoms in Britain in the early centuries of Anglo-Saxon rule?   They were not organized like the Roman Empire, which had laws and whose rulers and governors administered by the written word, only occasionally having to resort to violence to enforce their demands.   To become remotely governable, Anglo-Saxon, the language, had to be rendered into an alphabet.

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Episode 6: 5th century: King Arthur and the first Anglo-Saxons

 

England wasn't always known as England, nor Scotland known as Scotland.   Ireland was known as Hibernia.   Wales as Wallia.   How did the early English, Scots, Welsh, Irish learn?   How did they measure time?   Who was King Arthur?   Did he exist?   Hengest and Horsa, two brothers, are the legendary Anglo-Saxon leaders who arrived in 455 and defeated the British king Vortigern at the battle of Aylesford, in Kent.

 

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Episode 5: 877-899: King Alfred and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

 

How come we know as much as we do about these very distant times?   Because writers, known as chroniclers, wrote about their times, the earliest of them being Gildas in Wales and Bede, the founder of modern history, in England.   There were many others, all writing in Latin, and almost all were priests and monks, because they were educated.   One exception was the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, initiated by Alfred the Great in the ninth century, who made sure it was written in English, or rather in Anglo-Saxon.

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Episode 4: c 700 to c 1087: Chronicles and law codes

 

Outlining the Anglo-Saxon background: the Romans evacuated Britannia at the end of the fourth century because Rome was under threat from so-called barbarians, and the six and a half centuries until the arrival of William the Conqueror have traditionally been called the Dark Ages.   But how dark were they?   In fact, the Christian church survived and thrived in Rome, so that by the beginning of the seventh century, Christianity was re-established in south-east England and spread.

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Episode 3: c 44BC to c AD410: Roman Britain and early Christianity

 

Now we go back to before our proper beginning: England was part of the Roman Empire and called Britannia.   Scotland was never part of that empire, but was called by the Romans Caledonia.   Both names stuck.   The most important Roman emperor for us and the whole of Europe, Russia, America - even today - was Constantine the Great who in the early fourth century made Christianity the state religion for his empire.

 

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Episode 2: 1087: What was England like at the Conqueror's death?

 

Episode two discusses what England looked like more than 900 years ago.   Some flowers, trees, wild life we take for granted did not exist in Britain.   Medicine was appalling and a small cut in your straw house could easily kill you because infection wasn't understood.   Hardly anyone lived beyond the age of 40 and most probably didn't know how old they were.   More than half of all born children were dead before they were 10.

 

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Episode 1: 1086: William the Conqueror's Domesday Court

 

This opening episode is a resume of what we'll be talking about in the hundred Episodes that follow, starting backwards in 1086: William the Conqueror's Domesday Book.   Duties and responsibilities, who owned the land?   Why is this documentary entitled, 'At the Edge of the World'?   It is like a Hollywood epic, with popes, kings, queens, bishops, saints, sinners, pirates. rapists, murderers, holy men and women, traders in miracles.

 

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Pilot: At the Edge of the World - A history of the peoples of the British Isles

 

At the Edge of the World is a history of the peoples of the British Isles from the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West (AD410) to the death of King William the Conqueror (1087). This is an introductory episode to give an idea of the topics that will later be discussed in depth.

Written and presented by Robert Smith, Chairman of the Manorial Society of Great Britain - www.msgb.co.uk

 

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Trailer: At the edge of the world - A history of the peoples of the British Isles

 

At the Edge of the World is a history of the peoples of the British Isles from the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West (AD410) to the death of King William the Conqueror (1087). Written and presented by Robert Smith, Chairman of the Manorial Society of Great Britain - www.msgb.co.uk

 

 

 

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