The surviving pieces of this long ago time tell us that the people of the early Anglo-Saxon period were far from the barbarians that they have been made out to be. There were scholars, though mostly monks like Bede, who strove to record this era. Bede, who wrote bits of wisdom like, "It is better never to begin a good work, than having begun it, to stop," also wrote one of the first histories of Britain. Alcuin, who was Bede's successor, wrote in his own epitaph, "Alcuin was my name: and learning I loved." This is not something that a barbarian would write. Barbarians had no education and lacked literary and artistic culture.
For a majority of history, monks were responsible for recording their times. Often a traveling bard might have his tale recorded by such a monk. These bards and poets told tales like those of "The Seafarer" and Beowulf. The monks who set down these tales often wrote Christian values into the tale; this is obvious because these tales are about pre-Christian eras. "Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty Hills and bogs, bearing God's hatred, Grendel came," is a small example of the Christian bias in the role of chronicler. The story was probably first told in the sixth century and set down in the eleventh. These tales, though started out of an oral tradition, were an attempt at record keeping. These stories are in memory of loved ones or past heroes. Barbarians had no education so why would they want to keep records?
Most of the literature of the period was oral verse set down by monks and composed by actual people in Britain. There is a wide variety in the literature: histories by monks and bards' tales also set down by monks. Monks had the education in early Britain. Books were scarce, except in monasteries, so the priests were the ones with education. The bards traveled the land to gather and to tell tales. These men had important roles to fill. They often had prestigious posts at court. The early Britons, if they were barbarians, certainly wouldn't have supported culture. King Alfred the Great was a great proponent of learning; he himself translated Bede's work into Anglo-Saxon. King Alfred also made his own contribution to literature by writing The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The desire to make books and histories is certainly not the act of a barbaric people.
Source was the English 12 literature textbook.