Broyhill Family History

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The Anglo-Saxons

    The history of Britain during the centuries following Roman abandonment is obscure. Yet it was during this time that Britain was invaded by Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes. The Angles were from southern Denmark; the Saxons were from northwest Germany but the homeland of the Jutes remains a mystery.
     The Anglo-Saxons were tall, fair, red-haired and blue-eyed. Living in far northern Europe, they had been spared contact with Rome, which might have moderated their savageness. They were barbarians and loved war. Poetry, sung by gleemen in the halls of the chieftains, recounted the deeds of mighty warriors and told of slaughter and bloodshed. The Anglo-Saxon mother lulled her baby to sleep by whispering in his ear that he would become a great fighter and redden the fields with the blood of his victims. Although the Celts fiercely resisted the invaders, they were no match for the fury of the Anglo-Saxons. Gildas described the fury of the onslaught. He told of the destruction of cities, the massacre of the inhabitants and the devastation of the countryside. Those Britons who survived, he wrote, became slaves, fled overseas or took refuge in the bleak highlands.
     By the year 600, the Celts were largely confined to the mountains of the west and north or were slaves to the invaders. Britain had become England, the land of the Angles; from that time forward the English have been predominately of Anglo-Saxon blood, though tempered by Celtic and other races.