Anglo-Saxon kings ate green veg rather than meat feasts, boffins believe


ANCIENT Brit kings ate a diet of green veg rather than gorging on meat feasts, experts reckon.

Anglo-Saxon rulers such as Alfred the Great were the original flexitarians, they say.


Boffins believe that ancient Brit kings ate a diet of green veg rather than gorging on meat feastsCredit: Getty

Despite medieval art suggesting royals regularly enjoyed roasts, it seems they were mostly veggies apart from the odd barbecue.

An examination of their diet shows it was mostly made up of bread, grains and boiled veg.

A Cambridge University team analysed the bones of more the 2,000 people buried in England from the 5th to 11th centuries.

Key chemicals reveal both chiefs and peasants had similar veggie diets with limited protein and that meat-heavy feasts were only for special occasions.

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Historian Dr Tom Lambert said: “We were quite surprised by the findings.

“The popular view has always been of a big social divide between the elites and the peasants.

“But their diet was the same. It shows on normal days they were mostly eating bread and vegetable stew.

“And once in a while they would come together for a nice spread or a barbecue. So an early form of flexitarianism.”

Around 13 per cent of Brits are flexitarians, eating plant-based meals with occasional meat.

The study, in the Anglo-Saxon England journal, analysed food lists from the reign of King Ine of Wessex who died in 726 AD.

One showed more than half the calories came from meat.

But Sam Leggett, a bioarchaeologist at Edinburgh University, reckoned: “I’ve found no evidence of people eating anything like this much animal protein on a regular basis.”

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