The Essay, Anglo-Saxon Portraits Episode 7 of 30

Portraits of thirty ground-breaking Anglo-Saxon men and women.

The Anglo Saxons are somewhat out of fashion, yet the half millennium between the creation of the English nation in around 550 and the Norman Conquest in 1066 was a formative one.

This major new series rediscovers the Anglo-Saxons through vivid portraits of thirty individuals, written and presented by leading historians, archaeologists and enthusiasts in the field.

7.Penda: Michael Wood celebrates the much-maligned last pagan king of England and links him with the recently discovered Staffordshire Hoard.

Distinguished historian and popular broadcaster Michael Wood considers Penda to be one of the most fascinating figures in Anglo-Saxon history . The preeminent warrior in Dark Ages Britain, Penda was also the creator of the Midlands tribal confederation which became the Kingdom of Mercia, but he was a pagan and his story has always been told by his Christian conquerors.

Now Michael Wood sheds a new and more sympathetic light on Penda's story and brings it right up to date. He suggests that Penda may in fact have been the owner of the magnificent Staffordshire Hoard. Scholars have not yet established who originally owned this astounding collection of seventh century goldwork discovered by a metal detectorist in a windswept field outside Litchfield in 2009: with his characteristic flare and passion for the vivid details of history, Michael Wood makes a serious new claim.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Release date:

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 28 Jul 2014 22:45

Featured in...

The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

The Essay podcast

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Listen Online First

The Essay Online First

Hear all five episodes of the latest episodes of the Essay before they're broadcast