The Undley Bracteate – The First Recorded Sentence In English.

The Undley Bracteate, an Anglo-Saxon gold medallion the size of a 10p piece, was discovered at Undley in Suffolk in 1982.

The Anglo-Saxons were a functionally illiterate group and wrote nothing down; they never saw the benefits of using their alphabet to communicate. They scratched symbols on stones (runes), or inscribed valuable items like this medallion, which dates from sometime between A.D. 450 and 480.

On it are inscribed these words: gaegogae maegae medu, which translates as ‘this she-wolf is a reward to my kinsman’. This is the earliest surviving example of Anglo-Saxon
writing in Britain. It is, in other words, the first recorded sentence in English.


About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to or
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One Response to The Undley Bracteate – The First Recorded Sentence In English.

  1. and a sentence that leads my mind on a story telling chase…. what a wonderful post.

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