A very early example of Old English spelling.
Cædmon's hymn, late 7th century.
The following Old English text is a reading of M (mid-8th century; Northumbria), arguably the oldest extant copy.
Nu sculon herigean heofonrices Ƿeard, Meotodes meahte on his modgeðanc, ƿeorc Ƿuldorfæder, sƿa he ƿundra gehƿæs, ece Drihten, or onstealde. He ærest sceop eorþan bearnum heofon to hrofe, halig Scyppend; þa middangeard moncynnes Ƿeard, ece Drihten, æfter teode firum foldan, Frea ælmihtig.
Now [we] must honor the guardian of heaven,the might of the architect, and his purpose,the work of the father of gloryas he, the eternal lord, established the beginning of wonders;he first created for the children of menheaven as a roof, the holy creatorThen the guardian of mankind,the eternal lord, afterwards appointed the middle earth,the lands for men, the Lord almighty.
Below: An overbringing from Wikipedia
Engelsaxen/Englelond's eretide takes in thi goings-on from Roomansh Brittenlond's end til thi Onglish ond Saxish kindooms' setting-up in thi 5t'h jearhundred untill thi takeover by thi Normons in 1066. From thi 5t'h jearhundred ond thi 6t'h jearhundred, knowen as thi “Dark Elddooms”, mickler, self-stondand kindooms were cummand intu biing, among them thi Seven Kindooms (the Heptarchy in book idiom). Later thi Wiking incummings et thi 8t'h jearhundred's end broght monni shifts in Brittenlond's mootish stallwerk, ond its deelings wit'h other Evelondish kindooms took on weighti bearing right up tu Engelsaxen's end ond thi Normons cumming ond thi taking over of Englelond.
From Ritten Werks
There are sundri ritten deeds from Engelsaxish times stil with us. Thi mein tales are Bede’s English Folk's Chirchli Reckenness ond thi Engelsaxish Cranic. Law deeds goand beck tu Kentish Æthelbert's time ond kindoom are stil tu be hed, thogh thej bicumm much greater in reckening efter Alfred thi Great's kingship. Deeds bistowand lond rights allso give us another window tu look beck et thi times. Other deeds are about holi men, ritings (often bitween chirchmen, but sumtimes bitween mootish leeders, such as Cherl thi Great (Charlemagne) ond Offa, ond scopcreft.
Aside from these deeds are allso sundri t'hreds ond t'hrums of unritten witness. Jear-rimeli kit'hlore hes given us much moer food for t'hoght intu early Middle Elddoomli learning over thi eredeili 50 jears. Moer wel knowen wejs such as fyndand stownames' underlying or heve been brooked tu show kit'hish ond mootish trends in settling, while speechlore, moest tellandli, show thi input from Old English, Old Norse, Brittish ond Old Irish tungs tu thi Werld English we nou speek, givand clews tu wider kit'hish ond folkwej leenings.
Incummings ond the settand-up of kindooms (400-600)
It is hard tu bild a tru timeline for bitidings from thi time thi Roomwelsh left Brittenlond (Britain), tu thi setting-up of thi Engelsaxish kindooms. Thi Roomwelsh afaring, as told by Geoffrey of Monmout'h in his Historia regum Brittaniae, is sumwhet untrustwurthi, but as a Middle Elddoomli folktale
Uneart'hed fyndings tel a tale of thi end-times of Roomansh reeving wit'h a marked falling awej, ond waning of toun ond feeld life. Fee-tokens minted efter 402 are few. So in 407 when Constantine 111 wos made Highkaser by his fighting men, ond left Brittenlond along wit'h his men, Roomansh Brittenlond had truli cum tu an end. Brittenlond wos left without a shield, ond Constantine shortli efter wos slain in fighting. In 410, Highkaser Honorius told thi Roombrittish (Romano-Britons) thet thej themselves hed tu fynd their own wejs ond meens of wordand off foes, jet in thi mid 5t'h jearhundred thi Roombrittish stil felt thet thej cou'd look tu Room for help agenst unwonted incummers.
Monni tales ond ritings about thi Engelsaxens' cumming staddle themselves upon ritten deeds, others far less so. Four mein ritten deeds give witness. Gildas’ “ The Downfall of Brittenlond” (ritten sumtime in the 540s) is a long-drawn-out doun-mouthing, a wurdful flej chiding thi Brittish kings, moer than a tru tale rinand upon whet hed plejed out. Bede’s English Folk's Chirchli Reckenness thogh taken sumwhet from Gildas' riting, neverthiless brings in other understondings. However it wos not ritten in thi 5t'h jearhundred, but sum t'hree hundred jears later, in thi 8t'h jearhundred. Later stil thi riter of thi Engelsaxish Cranic goes tu Bede’s Eretide for input, but allso brings in sum folklore when ritand about thi cumming-intu-biing of thi West Saxish kindoom.
Knoweleech can bi taken allso from other feelds, such as learned nibbings. It is wurt'hwhile tu bear in mynd allso thet thi Onglish kindooms of, Berniclond (Bernicia), Derenrike (Deira), Linsej ond Kent all kept their Brittish names, which would seem tu show a mootish ongoing. On thi other hond, thi moer westerli kindooms of thi West Saxens ond thi Merchish spred out from their earlier bounds. Uneart'hed fyndings, following buriing lejouts ond lond hondling let us follow settling by thi Ongels ond Saxens, allthogh it is not unlikeli thet thi Britwelsh were takand up Engelsaxish wejs. From bodies uneart'hed from an orold gravejard near Abington in Englond, it seems tu show thet Saxish incummers ond homegrown Britwelsh lived side by side. There is much learned mooting as tu whether thi Engelsaxish incummers took over from, or melded wit'h, thi Roombrittish whu lived in suthern or eastern Brittenlond. Allreddi from thi 4th jearhundred, Brittons hed fled at'hwars thi "The Narrows" ond begunn tu settle in thi western londship of Armorica, settand up in Brittani. Others mej heve gon tu northern Spain. Thi Brittish afarings tu thi Evelondish meinlond, ond thi Ongels ond Saxens tu Brittenlond, should bi seen in a broader light thon wos first thoght, thet beand t'hrugh the Evelondish folk wonderings ond folk spreddings t'hrughout Evelond. However sum misgivings, founded upon breakt'hrughs in kyndlore, make mon think further upon thi mickleness of thi Engelsaxens' inflow intu Brittenlond.
Thogh there is no wej tu knowe fulli about thi times, steds or folks therein, it dus seem thet in 495, et thi fight et Badon Fell (mejbe et Badburi rings, Latinish Mons Badonicus, Britwelsh Mynydd Baddon), thi Britwelsh wreked a bloodi loss on thi Saxens. Uneart'hed fynds, together with thi less-than-trustwurthi ritings by Gildas, would leed us tu believe thet thi Engelsaxish inflow intu Brittenlond wos stemmed for a while.
Thi Seven kingdooms ond thi Spred of Cristendoom
Thi spred of Cristendoom thrughout Engelsaxish Englond, begunn around 500, wos shaped ond wielded by Keltish Cristendoom from thi north-west ond thi Roomish Chirch from thi south-east. Thi first Canterburi High-Bishop, Augustine started his soul-sowing ond riping in 597. In 601, he cristened Kent's Aethelbert, thi first Engelsaxish King tu becumm a Cryst-follower. Thi last heethen Engelsaxish king, thi Merchish Penda died in 655. Thi undertaking by thi Engelsaxish Chirches tu spredding Cristendoom's goodspel on thi Europaeish meinlond begann in thi 8th jearhundred, leedand tu thi Heelond's wurd spreddand t'hrughout allmoest all thi greater Frankish rikedooms by 800. T'hrughout thi 7t'h jearhundred ond thi 8t'h jearhundred might flowed tu ond fro bitween thi mickler kindooms. Bede's ritings tel us thet Kent, led by Æthelbert, wos thi mightiest kindoom et thi 6t'h jearhundreds' end, but efterwords leedership seems tu heve shifted nort'hwords tu thi Nort'himbrish kindoom, which saw Berniclond (Bernicia) ond Derenrike (Deira) melding. King Edwin moest likeli held wield over moest of Brittenlond, thogh Bede’s Nort'himbrish leenings should here bi kept in mynd. Brekawej uphevings ment thet lordship wos not alwejs long-stondand, thogh Merchlond seems tu heve held wield as a stronger kingdoom under Penda’s leedership. Setbecks in wor, all but ended Nort'himberlond's over-lordship: firstli thi great fight et Trent in 679 agenst thi Merchish, ond then et Nechtanemere in 685 agenst thi Pects. Thi so-called ”Merchish Overlordship” stood foremoest amongst thi kindooms t'hrugh thi 8t'h jearhundred, thogh agenn it wos not alwejs abidand. Aethelbald ond Offa were thi twu kings held in highest rank; indeed Offa wos deemed thi overlord of south Brittenlond by Cherl thi Great. Thet Offa cou'd fynd thi wejs ond meens tu bild Offa’s Dyke is witness tu his might. However thi rising Westsexe, ond stonds taken by smaller kingdooms, kept Merchlond in hond, ond by thi end of thi eight hundreds thi “Merchish Overlordship”, if there ever wos oan, wos over. This time hes been knowen in book English as “The Heptarchy“, thogh this name hes fallen out of learned riting ond speech. Thi wurd arose on the bilief thet thi seven kindooms of Nort'himberlond, Merchlond, Kent, East Engle, Eastsexe, Suthsexe, ond Westsexe were thi mein mootish steering bodies of south Brittenlond. Moer latterli learning has showen thet moer thon a few other kingdooms were allso under wielding thrughout this time, nameli Hwicce, Magosaete, Lindsej, ond Middle Engle, as wel as thi Keltish kindooms of Strat'hclyde Rheged, ond Devon/Westwales.
Thi Wiking Cumming ond thi Rise of thi Westsexe
793 is thi telmark given by thi Engelsaxish Cranic for thi first Wiking harriings in Brittenlond et Lindisfarne bedehouse. However, bi then thi Wikings were wel set up in Orknej ond Hetlond (Shetland), ond it is moer thon likeli thet monni other harriings unritten of hed happened before this. Deeds show thi first Wiking strike on Hi (Iona) happening in 794. Thi cumming of thi Wikings, moer so their Great Heethen Worbond, wos tu graveli upset thi mootish and folkish make-up of Brittenlond ond Irelond. Alfred thi Great’s overcumming of thi Wikings et Edingtun in 878 stemmed their strikes; however, by this time Nort'himberlond hed split beck intu Berniclond (Bernicia), ond Derenrike (Deira) (which hed becumm a Wiking kingdoom), Merchlond hed been asundered doun thi middle, ond East Engle ond Eastsexe were no longer wieldingli Engelsaxish. Thi Wiking harriings broght about allmoest thi same outcumm upon thi sundri kingdooms of thi Irish, Scots (Northern Irish), Pects ond (a little lesser so) thi Welsh. Indeed in North Brittenlond thi Wiking’s foehood wos oan of thi grounds bihynd thi setting up of thi Irish kingdoom of Alba, which in time grew intu Scotlond.
Efter thi time of reaving ond harriing, thi Wikings bigann tu settle in Englelond. A thrivand Wiking nub wos Jork, knowen as Jorvik tu thi Wikings. Sundri, friendli ties bitween Danish Jorvik ond thi Norwejish Dublin wexed ond waned. Thi folks from thi Danish ond Norwejish settlings hed enugh bearing tu leeve a meeningful lastingness on thi English tung; monni wurds thet make up thi bedrock of todej’s English cum from Old Norse, thogh of thi first hundred wurds heard deili in English by far greater are Old English wurds. Much thi same, monni sted-names of Brittenlond, Irelond ond English speekand londs throghout thi wurld are from Scandinavish, ond cum tu us from those earli Danish ond Norwejish settlings in Englond. A weighti unfolding in thi 9t'h jearhundred wos thi rise of thi Kingdoom of thi Westsexe. Thogh it wos sumwhet of an up-ond-doun ride, by thi end of Alfred’s lordship (899) thi West Saxish kings came tu wield their might in all Saxlond (Westsexe, Suthsexe, Estsexe), ond Kent ond Eastengle. Bifore long, Cornwales (Westwales bejond thi Tamar) eke bowed tu West Saxish lordship ond a few kings of thi moer sutherli Welsh kindooms acknoweleeched Alfred as their overlord, as did Merchlond under Alfred’s sun-in-law Aethelred.
Thi Make-up of Englelond in thi 10t'h jearhundred Alfred thi Great died in 899 ond wos followed by his sun Edward thi Elder. Edward, ond his brother-in-law Æthelred of Merchlond (whet wos left of it), bigann steps towords widespred growt'h, amongst other t'hings bilding strongholds for wordand off foes, ond touns in thi wej Alfred hed dun. On Æthelred’s death his wife (Edward’s sister) Æthelflæd ruled as “Lady of thi Merchish”, ond went on bildand thi kindoom. It seems Edward hed his son Æthelstan broght up in thi Merchish king’s-hall, ond on Edward’s death Æthelstan took over thi Merchish kindoom ond, efter sum shakiness, that of thi West Saxish. Æthelstan went on in thi wej of his father ond his father's sister bildand up thi stallwerk of his kindoom, ond wos thi first tu bi king of whet wi nou t'hink of as “England". Indeed thi names of wurth bistowed upon him in deeds ond fee-tokens bring tu mynd thoght of widespred overlordship. Thi growt'h of his kindoom bistirred ill-feeling among thi folk of other kindooms of Britain ond hi stood bifore a fellowship of Scots ond Wikings et thi fight-out of Brunanburh. His win there, ritten doun by scops in thi Englesaxish Cranic, wos oan of thi telland steps on thi road tu Englelond, under oan kindoom, cumming intu biing. However, “England” wos not a kindoom fixed ond fest, ond indeed under Æthelstan’s eftercummers Edmund, Eadred ond Edwy thi kindoom broke up ond came beck together monni times. Neverthiless, Edgar, whu in the end overlorded thi same londstretch as Æthelstan, seems tu heve made thi kindoom sounder ond stronger , ond, by thi time of thi lordship of his sun Æthelred, thi Unreadi, Englelond seems tu (allmoest) truli set itself up as a kindoom. Thi 10t'h jearhundred saw meeningful mootish wends in Western Europ; Carolingish might wos wanand ond by thi mid 10t'h jearhundred in West Frankrike (France), fel ond in its sted came thi weakli House of Capet. In East Frankrike a Saxish kindred took over leedership, ond its kings bigann bistowand upon themselves thi name of Holi Romish Kaser. It is wurt'hwhile tu keep in mynd thet at this time Engelsaxish Englelond wos thi moest thriving of thi europaeish kindooms; oan oanli hes tu look at fee-token hondling in thi timespon tu knowe thet 10th jearhundredli Engelsaxish kings wielded far greater kingli might thon their fellow europaeish kings. Englelond under thi Danes ond thi Normonish Takeover(978-1066) Thi end of thi 10t'h jearhundred saw an edniwed look by Wikings towords Engelond. Æthelred for long held wield, but in thi end lost his kindoom tu Sweyn of Denmark, thogh hi wun it beck following thi latter’s death. However, Æthelred’s sun Edmund 11 Ironside died shortli efterwords, leevand thi wej open for Cnut, Sweyn’s sun, tu bicumm king of Engelond, oan londbit of a mighti kaserdoom stretchand bijond thi Nort'h See. It was moest likeli in this time thet thi Wiking wield on English kithship bicame inbedded. Lordship over Engelond flowed bitween thi eftercummers of Æthelred ond Cnut for thi first half of thi 11t'h jearhundred. In thi end thi outcumm wos thi wel-knowen setting of 1066, where indeed a few men hed a right tu thi English throne. Harold Godwineson bicame king, in all likelihood et thi bihest of Edword thi Shrift (Confessor) on his deathbed. However Wilhelm of Normonlond, an eftercummer of Æthelred ond Cnut’s wife Emma, and Harald of Norwej, (helped by Harold Godwineson’s unfriendli brother Tostig) all had a right. Allthogh, mejbi thi strongist right tu thi t'hrone bilonged tu Edgar thi Atheling, whuse juut'h hindered him from biand a greater plejer in thi unfoldings of 1066, thogh hi wos made king for a short while by thi English Witan. Inslaught wos thi outcumm of this setting. Harold Godwineson overcame Harald of Norwej ond Tostig et thi fight-out of Stanford Bridge, but fel in thi fighting agenst Wilhelm of Normanlond et Hastings. Biand kinned king on Cristmas Dej, 1066, Wilhelm bigann a set of steps in strengthenand his hold on Engelond. However, his leedership wos allwejs under t'hreat in Engellond, ond thi lack of knoweleech about Nort'himberlond in thi Doomsdej Book is witness tu thi unrest there t'hrugh Wilhelm's kingship.
Anne Savage, "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles" ISBN 1-85833-478-0, pub CLB, 1997 David Howarth, "1066 The Year of the Conquest", ISBN 0-14-005850-8, pub1981 F.M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, 3rd edition, (Oxford, 1971) J. Campbell et al, The Anglo-Saxons, (Penguin, 1991) R. Lacey & D. Danziger, "The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium" (Little Brown & Company, 1999) For a full reading list, see Simon Keynes' bibliography 
Anglo-Saxonic culture and society.
Timeline of Anglo-Saxonic England
Prosopography of Anglo-Saxonic England
States in Medieval Britain
Britain in the Middle Ages
Medievalists.net -extensive resources on the medieval period