Those Englanders, Anglers, Engels and Angels

Non Angli, Sed Angeli

Thoughts from an email sent Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Hi all

Wonderful, how the Internet opens up so many beaut hyperlinks. Here's one to Angeln , a small area in modern Germany, and from where it's often thought the original "Angles / Engels" came to England.

Its etymology is thought to be linked to a word meaning "Angling" for fish, brilliant, especially after chatting about Peter and the fishermen on Wednesday, from their enormous catch (in Greek — agra) of fish, to their catching (in Greek — zo-agreo) of men.

Because it also appears to be linked to "Engels", the German word for angels — messengers — bringers of information about events (in Greek — aggelospronounced ang-el-os).

Further thoughts are below, based on an article by "Palaver", I was reading at Yahoo Answers.

Blessings from Steve


Why England. not Saxonland?

The Angles, from which we get the name England, were invited by a tribal British king, King Vortigern, to come to Britain about 450 AD, after the Roman troops had left the place. The meaning of their name derives from a German word "Angeln" and is thought to mean "hook", as in angling for fish. Interestingly, the name is also closely linked to a different word with very similar spelling: "Engel" in German, also Dutch, Norwegian and Danish, which derives its meaning from the Latin word "angelus" and the Greek word "angelos" meaning "the messenger", yes, and from which we get those English words "angel", and "evangelist" meaning "good news messenger". Ironic, perhaps ? Maybe not.

The original use of the name Angli (for the people) and Anglia (for the country) is found in Latin writers during the seventh century, but only with reference to these Angles (as opposed to the Saxons and Jutes) e.g. a king of Kent, Aethelbert (540-616), is called "rex Anglorum" — "king of the Angles". And certainly Bede (672-735) never uses Anglia for the country as a whole: his name was Brittania or Britannia i.e. "Britain".

As a bynote, it was this king Aethelbert, and particularly his Frankish queen Bertha, daughter of the king in Paris, who, later in their lives, welcomed Augustine as a missionary in 596, when he brought a party of men from Rome along with a team of Frankish interpreters. Presumably these interpreters understood both Latin and the language of Anglia. Needless to say, the good news of God's son, of God's forgiveness, of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, of turning the other cheek, was found to be a welcome message, with thousands in Kent being baptised as a result. Schools were opened, some of which are still functioning today.

So with these Angles, if they established themselves in one part of the country (i.e. on the East coast, then moved north into Northumbria and Mercia), while the Saxons settled in the rest of the country (i.e. South West, or Wessex and South South, or Sussex and South East or Essex), why did the name of the modern country derive from the former rather than the latter? The historical evidence, though meagre, does not suggest that the Angles were any more numerous than the Saxons, or had greater military successes. Why, then, is the country called England, and not Saxonland, Sax land, or some other such form? It is a puzzle, but we can make some guesses.

The one context where the early Latin writers did give the Angl- element prominence was in the phrase Angl- Saxones, used at least from the eighth century to mean the "English Saxons" (of Britain) as opposed to the 'Old Saxons' (on the Continent). A long time afterwards, as the historical facts began to blur in the popular mind, Anglo-Saxons came to be interpreted as "Angles and Saxons", the combined Germanic people of Britain, which is how the term is used today.

But back in the eighth century Angl- did not have this sense. Rather, it was the crucial, contrastive element in the phrase "the English Saxons", as opposed to other kinds. Issues of identity being so important, perhaps it was this prominence which fixed Angl- in the intuitions of the people, as a label for the people as a whole?

Whatever the reason, we can see the name "Angl-" broadening its meaning in the ninth century, with the forms "Angel-" and "Engl-" now being found as well. The adjective English referring to all the people, makes its first appearance at that time. In a treaty made between King Alfred and the Dane Guthrum (around 880) we see English, as opposed to Danish, and it plainly refers to all of the non-Danish population, not just the Angles. At around the same time, also, English is used for the language: Alfred's translation of Bede at one point (Book III, Chapter 19) talks about a monastery "nemned on Englisc" — "called in English" Cneoferisburh, and Alfred quite often uses the name in this way. And in translating the Latin phrase "in regione Anglorum" (Book IV, Chapter 26), referring to the country of the Angles, we now find the phrase "on Engla lande".

Still, it took over a century before we find the phrase Engla lande referring to the whole country — by the writers of the eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to be precise. There was then a long period of varied usage, and we find such forms as Engle land, Englene londe, Engle lond, Engelond, and Ingland. The spelling England emerged in the fourteenth century, and soon after became established as the norm.


The forming of the UK, the United Kingdom click here for more info.

c. 925 The Kingdom of England (or Engla lande). Established by the unification of Anglo-Saxon tribes across modern day England.

Duchy of Normandy who invaded England in 1066 William the Conqueror (1066-1087), William's son William II (1087-1100), another son Henry I (1100-1135), followed by a civil war between Henry's daughter Matilda, and Henry's sister's son Stephen (1135-1154). Matilda had married Geoffrey of Anjou, a man who'd grown up with a nickname "Plante Genest", with whom she'd had a son Henry of Anjou in 1133. In 1153, Henry invaded England with a small army, and after a number of victories, Stephen agreed to surrender the throne to him upon his death, which followed the following year. Henry thus succeeded Stephen as Henry II.

Plantagenet dynasty Henry II (1154-1189), his son Richard the Lionheart (1189-1199), another son John (1199-1216), John's son Henry III (1216-1272), Henry's son Edward I (1272-1307), Edward I's son Edward II (1307-1327), Edward II's son Edward III (1327-1377), Edward III's grandson via his son Edward the Black Prince Richard II (1377-1399) followed by Edward III's grandson Henry IV via his son John of Gaunt whom Edward III had made 1st Duke of Lancaster.

House of Lancaster branch Henry IV (1399-1413), Henry IV's son Henry V (1413-1422), who famously fought the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Extolled in Shakespeare's play "Henry V" — "once more unto the breach dear friends" — the English won the battle despite being vastly outnumbered by the French. In 1420 the French King Charles VI sued for peace, granting Henry his daughter Catherine of Valois, and the promise that the English line would succeed to the French throne. Though after Henry and Catherine's son was born in 1421, Henry died of dysentery the following year.

Henry VI (1422-1461). Had, at times, severe mental problems. By 1453 in France, inspired by Joan of Arc's death in 1431, the English troops lost all of their French territory to Charles VI's son, with the exception of Calais on the French coast. It led to a civil war in England in 1455 — called the Wars of the Roses — with the rival House of York branch being the "White Rose" descendants of Edward III, while Lancaster adopted the "Red Rose". After being defeated in a battle in 1461, Henry who was now quite insane, fled to Yorkshire and Scotland with his wife Margaret of Anjou, who led the ongoing resistance. Henry VI was captured by the House of York in 1465 and placed in the Tower of London. He was freed for six months in October 1470 when Edward IV was forced temporarily into exile, but it didn't last, the House of York regained the upper hand, and Henry VI died / was killed early in 1471.

Flashback to 1422. After Henry V died, Catherine, the French princess, had married Owen Tudor, a Welsh courtier by whom she had a son Edmund Tudor in 1430. In 1455 at the start of the War of Roses, her earlier son Henry VI chose a young girl, Margaret Beaufort (a descendant of the Duke of Lancaster) as a bride for his half-brother Edmund, Margaret being in fact just 12 when she married him. Edmund was then taken prisoner by Yorkist forces less than a year later, dying of the plague in captivity in 1456, leaving Margaret a 13-year-old widow who was seven months pregnant. For the next four years, Jasper Tudor, the Earl of Pembroke and Edmund's younger brother, undertook to protect Edmund's young widow and her baby.

House of York branch Edward IV (1461-1483), Edward IV's twelve-year-old son Edward V (1483-1483), Edward IV's brother Richard III (1483-1485)

When Edward IV became King in 1461, Jasper Tudor went into exile abroad, and Pembroke Castle was granted to the Yorkist William Herbert, who also assumed the guardianship of Margaret Beaufort and the young Henry. Herbert died in a battle in 1469, and the young Henry and his mother then spent most of the next 14 years in Brittany in France.

On Christmas Day 1483, Henry pledged to marry the eldest daughter of Edward IV, Elizabeth of York, sister of Edward V. Henry had gained the support of the Woodvilles, in-laws of the late Edward IV, and sailed with a small French and Scottish force in August 1485, landing at Mill Bay near Dale, Pembrokeshire. He marched towards England accompanied by his uncle Jasper and the Earl of Oxford, and from Wales, an army of around 5,000 soldiers.

Henry was aware that his best chance to seize the throne was to engage Richard quickly and defeat him immediately, as Richard had reinforcements in Nottingham and Leicester and only needed to avoid being killed to keep his throne.
Though outnumbered, Henry's Lancastrian forces decisively defeated Richard's Yorkist army at the Battle of Bosworth Field that same month. Several of Richard's key allies, such as the Earl of Northumberland and William and Thomas Stanley, crucially switched sides or left the battlefield. Richard III's death at Bosworth Field effectively ended the Wars of the Roses, although it was not the last battle Henry had to fight.

Tudor Dynasty Still, this king Henry Tudor had united three dynasties, Tudor in Wales, and Lancaster and York in England, to become King Henry VII (1485-1509), father of King Henry VIII (1509-1547).

1536 Kingdom of England and Wales. A bill enacted by King Henry VIII which effectively made England and Wales the same country, governed by the same laws.

1542 - The Crown of Ireland Act passed in the Irish Parliament established a personal union between the English and Irish crowns, providing that whoever was King of England was to be King of Ireland as well. Its first holder was thus, also, King Henry VIII of England.

King Henry VIII was followed by his 9 year old son Edward VI (1547-1553) with his mother Jane Seymour as Protector. Edward's early sickness and death meant he was followed by his half-sister Mary (1553-1558) who married King Philip of Spain, and then the other half-sister Elizabeth I (1558-1603).

Stuart Dynasty in 1603 - Union of the Crowns through King James VI of Scotland, the great-great-grandson of Henry VII through his daughter Margaret Tudor who had married King James IV of Scotland, Henry VII's grandson James V, and Henry VII's great grand-daughter Mary Queen of Scots.

Her son James VI became King James I of England (1603-1625). He was the first monarch who styled himself (and was subsequently called) King of Great Britain. James I was followed by his son Charles 1 (1625-1649) who following a civil war was executed in 1649. Oliver Cromwell (1649-1658) was followed by Charles I's son Charles II (1660-1685) returning from his exile in France, then his brother James II (1685-1688). While James II's daughters were Protestant, the birth of his son in 1688 whom he intended to raise as Catholic, and beholding to Rome, led to the overwhelmingly welcome invasion by his daughter Mary's husband William of Orange from the Netherlands, and James II's abdication and his return to France.
The reign of William III and Mary (1689-1702) followed, then with Mary having died before her husband, Mary's sister Anne (1702-1714). Neither Queen had children who survived childbirth.

1707 - A more formal union now occurred between Scotland and England by two acts that were passed in the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, forming the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Europe circa 1700

House of Hanover in 1714. George of Hanover who became George I of England was the great grandson of James I, via James's eldest daughter Elizabeth Stuart, and her daughter Sophia who had married Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover.
George I (1714-1727), George I's son George II (1727-1760), George II's son George III (1760-1820).

1801 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Ireland joins the union, and once again the name changes. In 1922 the Republic of Ireland (Eire, or 'Southern Ireland') withdrew from the union, leaving just the northern counties of Ireland. It became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This is the UK that remains to this day.

Back to 1820. George III's son George IV (1820-1830) had no surviving children and was followed by his brother, George III's son William IV (1830-1837) who also had no surviving legitimate children. The next brother in line, Edward, had died in 1820 and the nearest heir was Edward's daughter Victoria (1837-1901) who married Prince Albert from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a German dynasty. Victoria's mother was from this house and was the sister of both Albert's father and of Leopold, the King of Belgium.

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, renamed as Windsor in 1917
With regards to this House the following notes come from

Queen Elizabeth II's patrilineal descent can be traced back through these generations—which means that if Elizabeth II were to choose an historically accurate house name it would in fact be Wettin, as all her male-line ancestors have been members.

The line diverges from the British royal line at Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, and from then on follows his paternal ancestors.

Descent before Conrad the Great is taken from and may be inaccurate.

House of Wettin

** End of article.