What was the religion of England?

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O.K.R
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What was the religion of England?

Post by O.K.R » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:25 pm

Really, before christianity, what was it/ were they? I've never actually found out.
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DJ
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Re: What was the religion of England?

Post by DJ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:29 pm

O.K.R wrote:Really, before christianity, what was it/ were they? I've never actually found out.


Go Look!

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Re: What was the religion of England?

Post by O.K.R » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:44 pm

DJ wrote:
O.K.R wrote:Really, before christianity, what was it/ were they? I've never actually found out.


Go Look!



I've tried, the best answer I can find is Celtic, but that seem to be mainly Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I can't find a stright answer.
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Pedantica
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Post by Pedantica » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:56 pm

It rather depends how far back you want to go. And how far back you can go and still get evidence of formal ritual or religious practice.

Prior to the Roman occupation your relying on purely non-written archaelogical evidence. Stonehenge is probably the best known neolithic ritual site in Britain and possibly Europe. I think the site contains archaelogical evidence of ritual use dating back 10,000 years to around 8,000 BC, although the stones themselves are about 4,500 years old. So that is fairly strong evidence for paganism of the Let's all pray to the Gods that the rains and sun arive at the right time of year and we don't all starve to death variety of which Druidism is probably a later more formal version.

From the Roman occupation onwards we've got better records. The Romans would have first brought Christianity to Britain since it was an accepted practice within the empire in the 4th century around the time the Empire was winding down it's hold on Britain. So it would have been one among many Gods the Romans imported into the country. And then from between about the 6th and 10th century you've got a mix of Christianity and paganism although now with a distinctive Nordic twist due to the various viking invasions before Christianity eventually displaces the other beliefs by around 1000 AD.

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Re: What was the religion of England?

Post by flyer1 » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:05 am

O.K.R wrote:
DJ wrote:
O.K.R wrote:Really, before christianity, what was it/ were they? I've never actually found out.


Go Look!



I've tried, the best answer I can find is Celtic, but that seem to be mainly Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I can't find a stright answer.


That's your answer. The Cymru (Celts) were the original inhabitants of the island, along with the Picts. The Picts got pushed north into Scotland, the Celts went west into what is now Wales and Ireland. There are very few records, because the Celts and Picts had no written language; reports from the Romans about human sacrifice and tree-worship have to be taken with a grain of salt.
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Post by Dov » Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:34 pm

Actually, England (the land of the Angles) didn't exist before the Angle-Saxon invasions. The Angle-Saxons probably followed a religion similar to that of the Norse and other Germanic peoples. The Angle-Saxons were converted to Christianity by the Celtic Christians and Roman Christian missionaries. See Bede's History of the English Church and People for a very readable 8th century history from a Roman Christian perspective. (But be prepared to be skeptical.)

Much earlier, at the time of the Roman invasions, Celtic Britain was an important center of Druidic religion. Celts from Gaul to Ireland sent their children to Druid "schools" in Britain. The Romans pretty much exterminated that religion within areas they controled. The Druids were slaughtered and the sacred groves were cut down. The Celtic pantheon was absorbed into the Roman religion. The destruction of the native centers of learning may have contributed to Christianity's later success in the area.