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

St Edmund: Patron Saint of England

The Wonder-Wolf Guards the Head of King Edmund - An illuminated initial C from the 12th-century Bury Passion and Miracles of St Edmund

with Dr Sam Newton

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on 3rd March 2007

A reconsideration of the history and legend of St Edmund, the last of the famous Wuffing kings and a patron saint of England.

We spend the day exploring the history and legend of King Edmund and the coming of the Danish micel here, 'Great Army', led by the Ragnarrson brothers, Ivarr, Ubbe, and Halfdan. Our primary source is that Old Testament of English history, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, wherein the entries concerning Edmund’s death on 20th November, 869, imply that he was possibly killed in battle near Thetford.

We shall assess these near-contemporary entries in relation to the huge quantity of later legendary material, especially Abbo’s Passio Sancti Edmundi and the stirring Old English version by Ælfric. We shall also chart the rise of the cult of St Edmund and consider the extent to which he may be regarded as a patron saint of England.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 England in the Mid-Ninth Century  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.30 The Coming of the Ragnarrsons  
  12.30 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Martyrdom of St Edmund  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Cult of St Edmund  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D in 1991 and published his first book, The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, in 1993. Since then he has worked as an independent scholar in Early Medieval Studies. His latest book, The Reckoning of King Rædwald, was published in 2003. He is also now a Director of Wuffing Education, NADFAS lecturer, and Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Garmonsway, G., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Dent 1975).
Hart, C., The Danelaw (Hambledon 1992).
Gransden, Antonia, "The legends and traditions concerning the origins of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds" English Historical Review, 100 (1985), pp.1-14.
Jones, G., A History of the Vikings (2nd Edition, Oxford 1984)
Keynes, S., & M. Lapidge (ed. & tr.), Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and other contemporary sources (Penguin Classics 1983).
Magnusson, Magnus, The Vikings ( rev.ed. Tempus 2000)
Mitchell, B., & F.Robinson, A Guide to Old English (Blackwell 1986)
Scarfe, Norman, Suffolk in the Middle Ages (Boydell 1986)
Smyth, A., Scandinavian Kings in the British Isles 850-880 (Oxford 1977).
-------------, King Alfred the Great (Oxford 1995).
Whitelock, Dorothy, "Fact and Fiction in the Legend of St Edmund", Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, 31 (1970), pp.217-233.


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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