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The Jutes (), Iuti, or Iutæ ( da|Jyde, ang|Ēotas) were one of the Anglo-Saxon tribes who settled in England after the departure of the Romans. According to Bede, they were one of the three most powerful Germanic nations. The Jutes are believed to have originated from what is now the Jutland Peninsula (called ''Iutum'' in Latin) and part of the North Frisian coast, consisting of the mainland of Denmark, Southern Schleswig (Germany) and North Frisia (Germany). The Jutes invaded and settled in southern Britain in the late fourth century during the Migration period, as part of a larger wave of Germanic settlement in Britain. The Jutes are also speculated to have spread to Savonia, Finland, as the Finnish surname ''Juutilainen'' (English: Juutila), which comes from the word "juutti", refers to the Jutes.


Settlement in southern Britain


During the period after the Roman occupation and before the Norman conquest, people of Germanic descent arrived in England. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle provides, what historians regard as, foundation legends for Anglo-Saxon settlement. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describes how the brothers Hengist and Horsa in the year 449 were invited to Sub-Roman Britain, by Vortigern to assist his forces in fighting the Picts. They landed at Wippidsfleet (Ebbsfleet), and went on to defeat the Picts wherever they fought them. Hengist and Horsa sent word home to Germany asking for assistance. Their request was granted and support arrived. Afterward, more people arrived in Britain from "the three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes". The Saxons populated Essex, Sussex and Wessex; the Jutes Kent, the Isle of Wight and Hampshire; and the Angles East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria (leaving their original homeland, Angeln, deserted). The ''Anglo Saxon Chronicle'' also lists ''Wihtgar'' and ''Stuf'' as founders of the ''Wihtwara'' (Isle of Wight) and a man named ''Port'' and his two sons ''Bieda'' and ''Maeglaof'' as founders of the ''Meonwara'' (southern Hampshire). In 686, Bede tells us, that Jutish Hampshire extended to the western edge of the New Forest, however that seems to include another Jutish people, the Ytene, and it is not certain that these two territories formed a continuous coastal block. In his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede said that: Before the 7th century, there is a dearth of contemporary written material about the Anglo-Saxons arrival. Most material that does exist was written several hundred years after the events. The earlier dates for the beginnings of settlement, provided by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, have not been supported by the archaeology. Because of the lack of written history before the 7th century it has made it difficult for historians to produce a definitive story. One alternative hypothesis to the foundation legend, based on the archaeology, suggests that because previously inhabited sites on the Frisian and north German coasts had been rendered uninhabitable by flooding there was a mass migration of families and communities to Britain. The British provided land for the refugees to settle on in return for peaceful coexistence and military cooperation.It is likely that the Jutes initially inhabited Kent and from there they occupied the Isle of Wight, southern Hampshire and also possibly the area around Hastings in East Sussex (Haestingas).

Mercian and South Saxon takeover

In Kent, Hlothhere had been ruler since 673/4. He must have come into conflict with Mercia, because in 676 the Mercian king Æthelred invaded Kent and according to Bede: In 681 Wulfhere of Mercia advanced into southern Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Shortly after he gave the Isle of Wight and Meonwara to Æthelwealh of Sussex. In Kent, Eadric was for a time co-ruler alongside his uncle Hlothhere with a law code being issued in their names. Ultimately, Eadric revolted against his uncle and with help from a South Saxon army in about 685, was able to kill Hlothhere, and replace him as ruler of Kent.

West Saxon invasion

In the 680s the Kingdom of Wessex was in the ascendant, the alliance between the South Saxons and the Mercians and their control of southern England, put the West Saxons under pressure. Their king Caedwalla, probably concerned about Mercian and South Saxon influence in Southern England, conquered the land of the South Saxons and took over the Jutish areas in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Bede describes how Caedwalla brutally suppressed the South Saxons and attempted to slaughter the Jutes of the Isle of Wight and replace them with people from "his own province,” but maintained that he was unable to do so, and Jutes remained a majority on the island. Caedwalla killed Aruald, the king of the Isle of Wight. Aruald's two younger brothers, who were heirs to the throne, escaped from the island but were hunted down and found at Stoneham, Hampshire. They were killed on Cædwalla's orders. The Isle of Wight was then permanently under West Saxon control and the ''Meonwara'' was integrated into Wessex. Caedwalla also invaded Kent and installed his brother Mul as leader. However it was not long before Mul and twelve others were burnt to death by the Kentishmen. After Caedwalla was superseded by Ine of Wessex, Kent agreed to pay compensation to Wessex for the death of Mul, but they retained their independence.

Influences and culture

When the Jutish kingdom of Kent was founded, around the middle of the 5th century, Roman ways and influences must have still had a strong presence. The Roman settlement of ''Durovernum Cantiacorum'' became Canterbury. The people of Kent were described as ''Cantawara'', a Germanised form of the Latin ''Cantiaci''. Although not all historians accept Bede's scheme for the settlement of Britain into Anglian, Jutish and Saxon areas as perfectly accurate, the archaeological evidence indicates that the peoples of west Kent were culturally distinct from those in the east of Kent. With west Kent sharing the 'Saxon' characteristics of its neighbours, in the south east of England. Brooches and bracteates found in east Kent, the Isle of Wight and southern Hampshire showed a strong Frankish and North Sea influence from the mid-fifth century to the late sixth century compared to north German styles found elsewhere in Anglo-Saxon England. There is discussion about who crafted the jewellery (found in the archaeological sites of Kent). Suggestions include crafts people who had been trained in the Roman workshops of northern Gaul or the Rhineland. It is also possible that those artisans went on to develop their own individual style. By the late 6th century grave goods indicate that west Kent had adopted the distinctive east Kent material culture. The Frankish princess Bertha arrived in Kent around 580 to marry the king Æthelberht of Kent. Bertha was already a Christian and had brought a bishop, Liudhard, with her across the Channel. Æthelberht rebuilt an old Romano-British structure and dedicated it to St Martin allowing Bertha to continue practising her Christian faith. In 597 Pope Gregory I sent Augustine to Kent, on a mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons, There are suggestions that Æthelberht had already been baptised when he "courteously received" the popes mission. Æthelberht was the first of the Anglo-Saxon rulers to be baptised. The simplified Christian burial was introduced at this time. Christian graves were usually aligned East to West, whereas with some exceptions pagan burial sites were not. The lack of archaeological grave evidence in the land of the ''Haestingas'' is seen as supporting the hypothesis that the peoples there would have been Christian Jutes who had migrated from Kent. In contrast to Kent, the Isle of Wight was the last area of Anglo-Saxon England to be evangelised in 686. The Jutes used a system of partible inheritance known as gavelkind and this was practised in Kent until the 20th century. The custom of gavelkind was also found in other areas of Jutish settlement. In England and Wales gavelkind was abolished by the Administration of Estates Act 1925. Before abolition in 1925, all land in Kent was presumed to be held by gavelkind until the contrary was proved. The popular reason given for the practice remaining so long, is due to the "Swanscombe Legend", according to this, Kent made a deal with William the Conqueror whereby he would allow them to keep local customs in return for peace.


Homeland and historical accounts


Although historians are confident of where the Jutes settled in England, they are divided on where they actually came from. The chroniclers, Procopius, Constantius of Lyon, Gildas, Bede, Nennius, and also the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Alfred the Great and Asser provide the names of tribes who settled Britain during the mid-fifth century, and in their combined testimony, the four tribes mentioned are the ''Angli'', ''Saxones'', ''Iutae'' and ''Frisii''. The Roman historian Tacitus refers to a people called the ''Eudoses'' a tribe who possibly developed into the Jutes. The Jutes have also been identified with the ''Eotenas'' (''ēotenas'') involved in the Frisian conflict with the Danes as described in the Finnesburg episode in the Old English poem ''Beowulf''. Theudebert, king of the Franks wrote to the Emperor Justinian and in the letter claimed that he had lordship over a nation called the ''Saxones Eucii'' . The Eucii are thought to have been Jutes and may have been the same, as a little-documented tribe, called the ''Euthiones'' .The Euthiones are mentioned in a poem by Venantius Fortunatus (583) as being under the suzerainty of Chilperic I of the Franks. The Euthiones were located somewhere in northern Francia, modern day Flanders , an area of the European mainland opposite to Kent. Bede inferred that the Jutish homeland was on the Jutland peninsula. However there is evidence that the Jutes who migrated to England came from northern Francia or from Frisia. Historians have posited that Jutland was the homeland of the Jutes, but when the Danes invaded the Jutland Peninsula in about AD 200 some of the Jutes would have been absorbed by the Danish culture and others may have migrated to northern Francia and Frisia. There is a hypothesis, suggested by Pontus Fahlbeck in 1884, that the Geats were Jutes. According to this hypothesis the Geats resided in southern Sweden and also in Jutland (where Beowulf would have lived). The evidence adduced for this hypothesis includes: * primary sources referring to the Geats (''Geátas'') by alternative names such as ''Iútan'', ''Iótas'', and ''Eotas''. * Asser in his ''Life of Alfred'' (893) identifies the Jutes with the Goths (in a passage claiming that Alfred the Great was descended, through his mother, Osburga, from the ruling dynasty of the Jutish kingdom of Wihtwara, on the Isle of Wight). * the Gutasaga is a saga that charts the history of Gotland prior to Christianity. It is an appendix to the ''Guta Lag'' (Gotland law) written in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. It says that some inhabitants of Gotland left for mainland Europe. Large burial sites attributable to either Goths or Gepids were found in the 19th century near Willenberg, Prussia (after 1945 Wielbark in Poland). However, the tribal names possibly were confused in the above sources in both ''Beowulf'' (8th – 11th centuries) and ''Widsith'' (late 7th - 10th century). The ''Eoten'' (in the Finn passage) are clearly distinguished from the ''Geatas''.

Language and writing

The runic alphabet is thought to have originated in the German homelands that were in contact with the Roman Empire, and as such was a response to the Latin alphabet. In fact some of the runes emulated their Latin counterpart. The runic alphabet crossed the sea with the Anglo-Saxons and there have been examples, of its use, found in Kent. As the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were evangelised the script of the Latin alphabet was introduced by Irish Christian missionaries. However, they ran into problems when they were unable to find a Latin equivalent to some of the Anglo-Saxon phonetics. They overcame this by modifying the Latin alphabet to include some runic characters. This became the Old English Latin alphabet. The runic characters were eventually replaced by characters that we are familiar with today, by the end of the 14th century. The language that the Anglo-Saxon settlers spoke is known as Old English. There are four main dialectal forms, namely Mercian, Northumbrian, West Saxon and Kentish. Based on Bede's description of where the Jutes settled, Kentish was spoken in what are now the modern-day counties of Kent, Surrey, southern Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. However historians are divided on what dialect it would have been and where it originated from. The Jutish peninsula has been seen by historians as a pivotal region between the Northern and the Western Germanic dialects, with the Jutish dialect being an intermediate variant between the Danish and Swedish (or 'Proto-Norse') dialects in the east and the Anglo-Saxon, Frisian (or ‘Ingveonic’) in the west. It has not been possible to prove whether Jutish has always been a Scandinavian dialect which later became heavily influenced by West Germanic dialects, or whether Jutland was originally part of the West Germanic dialectal continuum. An analysis of the Kentish dialect by linguists indicates that there was a similarity between Kentish and Frisian. Whether the two can be classed as the same dialect or whether Kentish was a version of Jutish, heavily influencd by Frisian and other dialects, is open to conjecture.

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External links


''Time Team'', season 9, episode 13
starting at min 21:30 of this video. Robin Bush discusses ethnic cleansing issue with Helen Geake {{Germanic peoples Category:Peoples of Anglo-Saxon England Category:Early Germanic peoples Category:Ingaevones