Old English literature or Anglo-Saxon literature, encompasses literature written in Old English (Anglo-Saxon), in Anglo-Saxon England from the 7th century to the decades after the Norman Conquest of 1066. "Cædmon's Hymn", composed in the 7th century according to Bede, is often considered the oldest extant poem in English, whereas the later poem, The Grave is one of the final poems written in Old English, and presents a transitional text between Old and Middle English. Likewise, thePeterborough Chronicle continues until the 12th century.
The poem Beowulf, which often begins the traditional canon of English literature, is the most famous work of Old English literature. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has also proven significant for historical study, preserving a chronology of early English history.
In descending order of quantity, Old English literature consists of: sermons and saints' lives; biblical translations; translated Latin works of the early Church Fathers; Anglo-Saxon chronicles and narrative history works; laws, wills and other legal works; practical works on grammar, medicine, geography; and poetry. In all there are over 400 surviving manuscriptsfrom the period, of which about 189 are considered "major".
Besides Old English literature, Anglo-Saxons wrote a number of Anglo-Latin works.