In this book Rupert Matthews puts forward his ground breaking new theories on the collapse of the post-Roman order in Britain and the formation of England. Drawing on newly analysed written sources and the growing mass of archaeological finds he presents a very different picture of post-Roman Britain than that usually put forward. In place of the anarchy and mayhem, Rupert suggests that Romanised governmental structures managed to survive the economic collapse of the 5th century and the population collapse of the early sixth century to emerge in new and barbarianised form in the later sixth century. The key figure in this story was Ceawlin, King of Wessex in the 570s. It was he who finally smashed the old order with his ambitious grab for power and who thus opened the way to the creation of the England that we know today with its English culture, English language and English character.