About “Saxon Shore”
“Saxon Shore” tells the story of the first wave of Anglo-Saxons to come to Britain as conquerors. The Saxon Shore was an area in southeast Britain originally fortified and manned to defend against Germanic raiders (referred to collectively as Saxons by the Romans). In time, the Romans recruited some of these same peoples to serve as soldiers, offering them settlement in this area in exchange for military service. These peoples eventually turned on the British, conquering them instead of fighting for them, carving out their own kingdoms that would eventually become England.
While the song is written from the perspective of the Anglo-Saxons, the lyrics are mainly based on the version of the story first recorded by the British monk Gildas in his 6th Century work The Ruin and Conquest of Britain, which is largely unfavorable of the Anglo-Saxons. The end of the song includes a quote from Gildas’ work, from a letter the Roman inhabitants of Britain sent to the Emperor requesting aid against the Saxons. The Emperors rejection of these pleas for aid are seen as the end of Roman rule in Britain and the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.