In language, general name for the range of dialects spoken by Germanic settlers in England between the 5th and 11th centuries AD. The literature of the period includes Beowulf, an epic in West Saxon dialect, shorter poems of melancholic dignity such as The Wanderer and The Seafarer, and prose chronicles, Bible translations, spells, and charms.
In architecture, the first of the three periods of the English Gothic style, late 12th century to late 13th century. It is characterized by tall, elongated windows (lancets) without mullions (horizontal bars), often grouped in threes, fives, or sevens; the pointed arch; pillars of stone centers surrounded by shafts of black Purbeck marble; and dog-tooth (zig-zag) ornament. Salisbury Cathedral (begun 1220) is almost entirely Early English.