• Imagining History

How did the Anglo-Saxons become Christians? - A Beginners Guide for Kids

Updated: Oct 5

When the Anglo-Saxons arrived in Britain, they were Pagans worshipping a number of different gods. Pope Gregory the Great of Rome wanted to convert the Saxons to Christianity. Here, we've included a number of important Monks who's difficult job it was to carry out Pope Gregory's wishes.

St Columba


563 AD

Who was he:

An Irish Monk who settled in Scotland.

What did he do?:

He set up a monastery on the island of Iona and converted many Scottish people to Christianity. The Church on Iona became so well known that it turned into a place of pilgrimage for Christian people across the globe and many Christian Kings wished to be buried there.


Although he did well to convert people in Scotland he didn’t reach as far as the Anglo-Saxons settled in the South & East of England.

St Augustine


597 AD

Who was he:

A Monk sent from Rome by the Pope himself

What did he do?:

St Augustine landed in Kent and converted the powerful King Aethelberht to Christianity. Augustine built Canterbury Cathedral and consequently became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.


Although St Augustine converted King Aethelberht, not all of his royal successors were Christian after he died. St Augustine didn’t convert any of the common Anglo-Saxon people which meant that the road to conversion was a rocky one.

St Aiden


634 AD

Who was he:

A Monk from the Monastery of St Columba in Iona

What did he do?

St Aiden set up Monastery on Lindisfarne with the permission of the King of Northumbria. He would walk from village to village talking to every person he met about Christianity. Soon, he formed local Christian communities. He focussed on educating future generations about Christianity using books.

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