The Saxon period began in 410 CE with the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain and lasted until the Norman invasion of 1066. In Saxon times Kingston was a well-established settlement and is mentioned in a manuscript from 838 as ‘Cyningestun’. Kingston derives its name from the Saxon for ‘King’s farm or estate’ and was an important ceremonial site with at least two, and possibly as many as seven, Saxon kings crowned here. 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicles note the coronation of Athelstan in 925 CE, first king of England and grandson of Alfred the Great, and of Ethelred the Unready in 979 CE. It is possible that the Kings sat on the Coronation Stone for this occasion. The Coronation Stone is located in front of the Guildhall.

Highlights of the museum's collection:

  • A log boat made in about the 9th century,  discovered in mud alongside the Thames in 1891. Carved from the wood of a single tree trunk, it would have taken two or three skilled boat builders around a fortnight to complete.

  • A skeleton from a Saxon cemetery.

  • A number of iron spearheads also found at a Saxon burial site

And be sure to say hello to our wax figure of Athelstan, clad in a replica of the purple cloak given to him by his grandfather, Alfred the Great. Depending on when you visit, Athelstan might even be wearing seasonal attire!