wearetheenglish menu
St George Cross
wearetheenglish menu
Home
English News
About England
English Greats
Quotations
Famous Battles
Guestbook
Community
Contact Us
Misc
Updates
wearetheenglish menu
wearetheenglish menu
Steadfast Trust Link
Steadfast Link
More Links
wearetheenglish menu
wearetheenglish menu wearetheenglish menu wearetheenglish menu
Write for Us
Click here
wearetheenglish menu
wearetheenglish menu Join Here wearetheenglish menu
Join our mailing List
wearetheenglish menu
wearetheenglish menu wearetheenglish menu wearetheenglish menu wearetheenglish menu
 


wearetheenglish
 
 

 

Traditional English Tattoos

The English people have a long association with tattooing stretching back to the very beginnings of our nation. As far back as the 5th century AD it is thought that many of the Anglo-Saxon Kings and their bands of warriors who were to lay the very foundation stones of what is now the English nation, were heavily tattooed. Indeed, it is recorded that after the English defeat at the Battle of Hastings King Harold, the last true King of the English, was only identified by the tattoos on his body.

Our early ancestors the Anglo-Saxons were an extremely proud people, both tough and resourceful. Theirs was a rich culture capable of creating things of great beauty , whether in stories or song, or in the decoration of the everyday objects that they used. We've brought together some examples of Anglo-Saxon artwork. This is not British artwork, or Celtic artwork, but early English artwork that has been used by our people to decorate themselves, their jewelry, their clothing, their weapons and their armour for well over 1000 years. Each of the images represented would have held a symbolic and deep-seated meaning to them.

Most of these tattoos have been around since the very birth of our country, and as such form part of the cultural heritage of the English Nation and of all the Anglo-Saxon people.

Wear them with pride, for you have much to be proud of.

The designs are now available in template form that can be given to your tattooist (some may need altering slightly depending upon the skill of your tattooist).
We don't charge for the templates but we do ask you to make a small donation to this English charity that we support The Steadfast Trust - Donate . Do not contact us for the templates unless you have first donated.

Interlaced band

Interlaced band
This one features a design from an Anglo-Saxon war shield dated around 625AD. The Anglo-Saxons loved to intertwine dragons and other symbolic and mythical animals in their decoration. This is a feature that is distinctly English as opposed to Celtic or European.

Interlaced dogs

Interlaced dogs
This design features an image of interlaced dogs. It is taken from the Lindisfarne Gospels which were probably made around the years 715 to 720. It has been called the “book that made Britain” and contains the oldest surviving translation of the Gospels into the English language.

Board Band

Boar band
This design features the boar emblem used as a symbol of protection from the very earliest times, alternating with a shield emblem. These images were found on a burial urn dating from the 9th century. Of all the animal symbols that were revered by the Anglo-Saxons it is quite possibly the Boar that was revered above all others. It was used as a symbol of protection and because of this it can often be found on Saxon War Helmets. It was believed that the image of the boar would bring protection to its wearer at times of war and they would be infused by its strength, power and ferocity.

TIW

TIW
This image shows the Anglo-Saxon god Tiw with a wolf like creature on either side. This image of Tiw was found on ornately crafted jewelry from the Sutton Hoo burial. He is possibly the oldest of all the gods worshipped by the early English. From the god Tiw we get the day Tuesday as well as many place names scattered across England. He was the god of war and was worshipped and evoked during times of battle. Tiw lost his right hand through an act of bravery and thus his symbol was said to evoke honour and courage. He was the protector of all warriors, but was also said to watch over the disabled, and the left-handed. His runic symbol was stamped onto swords and other weapons to give them strength and to guide their users hand.

The Boar

The Boar
Of all the animal symbols that were revered by the Anglo-Saxons it is quite possibly the Boar that was revered above all others. It was used as a symbol of protection and because of this it can often be found on Saxon War Helmets. In the old English epic poem Beowulf you can read about warriors going into battle with Boar crested helmets and many have been found buried at English archeology sites. It was believed that the image of the boar would bring protection to its wearer at times of war and they would be infused by its strength, power and ferocity. The boar was also closely connected to the Anglo-Saxon god Ingui. As well as the protection offered by the image of the boar, at times of battle those wearing this symbol believed that Ingui would watch over and protect them above all others.

Bird of Prey

Bird of Prey
This design shows a bird of prey bearing it's talons and vicious beak. Designs such as these were often used to decorate armour and shields. To the Anglo-Saxons the birds embodied strength and courage and they believed that those carrying these symbols into battle would inherit these virtues.
This particular design was found on the shield of King Rædwald, one of the greatest of the early English warrior-kings. He ruled over what is now East-Anglia and was also overlord of all the English kingdoms. When he died in around the year 625 he was placed in an Anglo-Saxon war ship along with his armour, shield, weapons and other fine treasures. He was covered by a burial mound where he lay undisturbed until the site was excavated in 1939.

Wyvern

The Wyvern
There is a long association between the image of the dragon and the English people. Legend has it that the defeat of the British ie the Welsh, Scots and Irish by the early English was foretold in a prophesy. It goes that in an underground lake slept two dragons. The Britons were represented by a red dragon and the English by a white dragon. When they awoke they started fighting and the red dragon was convincingly beaten by the white one symbolically representing the victory of the Anglo-Saxons over their adversaries.
The image to the left shows the Wyvern The Dragon of Wessex. This two legged dragon is the earliest known symbol of England and predates the Cross of St George by well over 500 years. It appeared on the battle flags of the Kings of Wessex.. It is the flag under which King Alfred the Great halted the Viking advance into England at the Battle of Edington. It is the flag under which the mighty King Athelstan defeated the combined scotish, welsh, irish and danish armies at the battle of Brananburgh. and it is the flag under which king harold II, last true king of the english, finally brought the viking age to an end when he destroyed the norweigian army at the battle of stamford bridge in 1066.

The Dragon

The Dragon
The image of the left is a dragon symbol that was found on the Sutton Hoo shield opposite the image of a bird of prey. The shield was buried with its owner King Rædwald, along with countless other treasures when he died around the year 625. He ruled over what is now East-Anglia and was also overlord of all the English kingdoms. The fine treasures and riches that he was buries with are testament to his wealth and power. He would have been a veteran of many battles. The dragon symbol would have been placed on his shield to impart in him some of its ferocity and to aid him in battle and war.

The Cross

The Cross
Although this image resembles a cross it is unlikely to have any Christian connections as the design is taken from the pagan burial hoard at Sutton Hoo. It featured on an item of jewelry, crafted from pure silver, belonging to the Anglo-Saxon King Rædwald.

Gospel 1

Gospel 1
To the left are two typical example of anglo-saxon artwork. Both are taken from the linesfarne gospels which were probably put together about the year 715ad - 720ad. it is the oldest surviving translation of the gospels into the english language

Gospel 2

Gospel 2
To the left are two typical example of anglo-saxon artwork. Both are taken from the linesfarne gospels which were probably put together about the year 715ad - 720ad. it is the oldest surviving translation of the gospels into the english language

Jewel
Rædwald jewel
To the left is another design taken from the burial hoard of the anglo-saxon King Rædwald. He ruled over what is now East-Anglia but was also overlord of all the English kingdoms. When he died in around the year 625 he was placed in a ship, along with his armour, shield, weapons and other fine treasures. He was covered by a burial mound where he lay undiscovered until the site was excavated in 1939.
Maxims

Maxims ic
The boar emblem used as a symbol of protection from the very earliest times, alternating with a shield emblem. These images were found on a burial urn dating from the 9th century. The lettering around it is an Anglo-Saxon poem written in Old English known as maxims IC.
It reads.

“Advice must be given, rune written, song sung, fame earned,
judgment pronounced, the day seized”

The Wyvern

The Wyvern
The image to the leftt shows the wyvern - the dragon of wessex over the cross of st george.

This two legged dragon is the earliest known symbol of England and pre-dates the Cross of St George by well over 500 years. It appeared on the battle flags of the Kings of Wessex.. It is the flag under which King Alfred the Great halted the Viking advance into England at the Battle of Edington. It is the flag under which the mighty King Athelstan defeated the combined scotish, welsh, irish and danish armies at the battle of Brananburgh. and it is the flag under which king harold II, last true king of the english, finally brought the viking age to an end when he destroyed the norweigian army at the battle of stamford bridge in 1066.

TIW

TIW
This image shows the Anglo-Saxon god Tiw with a wolf like creature on either side. This image of Tiw was found on ornately crafted jewelry from the Sutton Hoo burial. He is possibly the oldest of all the gods worshipped by the early English. From the god Tiw we get the day Tuesday as well as many place names scattered across England. He was the god of war and was worshipped and evoked during times of battle. Tiw lost his right hand through an act of bravery and thus his symbol was said to evoke honour and courage. He was the protector of all warriors, but was also said to watch over the disabled, and the left-handed. His runic symbol was stamped onto swords and other weapons to give them strength and to guide their users hand.
Above and below the image is wording in old english. It is the language of our ancestors and it is what modern or present day english originates from. It reads - strength, loyalty, honour and kinship

The Boar

The Boar
Of all the animal symbols that were revered by the Anglo-Saxons it is quite possibly the Boar that was revered above all others. It was used as a symbol of protection and because of this it can often be found on Saxon War Helmets. In the old English epic poem Beowulf you can read about warriors going into battle with Boar crested helmets and many have been found buried at English archeology sites. It was believed that the image of the boar would bring protection to its wearer at times of war and they would be infused by its strength, power and ferocity. The boar was also closely connected to the Anglo-Saxon god Ingui. As well as the protection offered by the image of the boar, at times of battle those wearing this symbol believed that Ingui would watch over and protect them above all others.
the wording below the image is in old english
it reads - "Strong and True"

Many designs are now available in template form that can be given to your tattooist (some may need altering slightly depending upon the skill of your tattooist). We don't charge for the templates but we do ask you to make a small donation to this English charity that we support The Steadfast Trust - Donate . Do not contact us for the templates unless you have first donated.

 

Steadfust Trust English Tattoos
Copyright 2007 We Are The English.com All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy | Site Index