Young English Heritage Members on patrol with Osmund the Anglo-Saxon warrior at Offa's Dyke.

MEET A REAL ANGLO-SAXON WARRIOR AT OFFA'S DYKE

We sent young Members Tom and Hana Ellingham to Offa's Dyke to meet Osmund the Anglo Saxon warrior! Find out what they discovered about life at the great frontier earthwork built by Offa, King of Mercia.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW

VIDEO: MEET OSMUND THE ANGLO-SAXON WARRIOR!



Tom: Who was Offa?
Osmund: Offa was the most famous king who ever lived! He ran the kingdom called Mercia that stretched all the way across the Welsh border.

Hana: What was Offa's Dyke built for?
Osmund: They were having lots of trouble with raiders who would sneak through the woods and raid farmsteads, taking sheep and cattle. Building a fortification like this made it much harder to raid.

Tom: How did the Saxons send messages to each other?
Osmund: They might have used beacons, allowing them to get a warning signal from one end of the Dyke to the other in half an hour!

Osmund the Anglo-Saxon warrior explains how weapons were made.

Hana: How did the Saxons make their weapons?
Osmund: They were made by weapons specialists in forges. The blades were made by mixing different pieces of iron and welding them together.

Hana: Did they believe in magic and monsters?
Osmund: Oh, yes! They believed you could be elf shot - that you could become sick by being shot by tiny elven arrows!

Tom: How did they wash?
Osmund: They probably didn't bother!

THE STORY BEHIND OFFA'S DYKE



Aerial view of Offa’s Dyke.

FIGHTING THE WELSH

Anglo-Saxon England was a divided kingdom whose population fought each other and people living in northern Britain and Wales. The word 'Welsh' means 'foreigner' in Anglo-Saxon.

Offa became king of Mercia (the area east of Wales) in AD747. He got so tired of fighting off raids from the Welsh he decided to build a barrier to keep them out, which became known as Offa's Dyke.

Statue of an Anglo-Saxon warrior at Offa’s Dyke.

BORDER PATROL

The Mercia/Wales border was really long, and Offa didn't have enough stone to build a wall. Instead, thousands of men made mounds out of earth and mud, with a ditch on the Welsh side.

Offa must have been a great ruler to have ordered so many men to make something so big. It is thought his men also kept the Welsh at bay by manning the earthworks.

Offa was killed fighting the Welsh in battle before his dyke was finished. This amazing structure is still in place 1,200 years later.

To plan a visit to Offa's Dyke where you can walk in King Offa's footsteps, click the link below.

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