The Germanic tribes which conquered Britain formed seven separate kingdoms, which during 4 centuries struggled with one another for supremacy: Kent, Sussex, Essex, Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria, which consisted of two regions, Bernicia and Deira. In this prolonged struggle it was sometimes Mercia, that would take the upper hand.
In 828 the struggle came to an end with the decisive victory of Wessex. Ecgberht, king of Wessex, subdued Mercia and Northumbria. Since then kings of Wessex became kings of England, and the capital of Wessex, Winchester (some 62,14 mi south-west of London) became the capital of England.
Down to the end of the 6th century Anglo-Saxon Britain was almost entirely isolated from Europe, and particularly, from Rome. In 597 Pope Gregory 1 sent a mission to England in order to spread Christianity among the Germanic conquerors and to include England into the sphere of his political influence. Christianity also penetrated into England from Ireland, which had not been invaded by Germanic tribes. Irish monks had great influence in Northumbria under king Oswine (642 – 670). In the 7th century Christianity spread all over England. The Latin language was at the time an international language of the church and of church science in Western Europe. As a result of new ties with Rome the Latin language was introduced in England as the language of the church.
This development had an important consequence for the English language: it adopted a considerable number of Latin words which were directly or indirectly connected with religious and church notions.