adapted from a design by George Bain based on the Book of Kells home Programme Bookings Shop The Wuffings .
Wuffing Education

From Yuletide to Nativity
Christmas in Early Medieval England

The Midwinter Sacrifice of King Dómaldi - from a painting by Carl Larson

with Dr Sam Newton

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday 10th December 2005

Rediscover the magic of Christmas with an exploration of the significance of the great midwinter festival in early England.

We begin the day with a look at the Old English calendar, which reveals how the pre-Christian year was structured. We shall then consider how this calendar was transformed into the Christian year – how, for example, did Módra Niht, “Mothers’ Night” become Christmas Eve? We shall also consider some of the ways in which the feast of Yuletide and the legend of the Nativity came to be celebrated in England, using examples from Anglo-Saxon art and from Old and Middle English literature.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 The Old English Calendar  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.30 The Old English Yuletide  
  12.30 Lunch break  
  14:00 What has Ingeld to do with Christ?  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Christmas at Camelot –Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D in 1991 and his first book, The Origins of Beowulf was published in 1993. He is a Director of Wuffing Education and Time Team historian and has been researching, lecturing, and writing on Wuffing and Early Medieval Studies for many years. His latest book, The Reckoning of King Rædwald, was published in 2003.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Anderson, E.R., “The Seasons of the Year in Old English”Anglo-Saxon England 26 (1997), pp.321-263.
Barron, W.R.J. (ed. & tr.), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: text and facing translation (Manchester 1974).
Bengtsson, Frans G., The Long Ships, trans. M.Meyer (London 1954, 1956).
Harrison, K., The Framework of Anglo-Saxon History to AD900 (Cambridge 1976), pp.1-14.
Meaney, A.L., "Bede and Anglo-Saxon Paganism", Parergon ns 3 (1985), pp.1-29, especially pp.2-8.
Mitchell, B., An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England (Blackwell 1994).


Please phone or email to check the availability of places and then send the application form and a cheque for £38, payable to Wuffing Education to:

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

Email cliff AT
(replace 'AT' by '@' in order to send email - we used 'AT' to avoid spam robots automatically sending us emails)

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