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

First Steps in Old English

An Old English amulet ring from Kingmoor, Cumbria,

with Stephen Pollington

in The Old Court , Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 4th December, 2010

A beginner’s guide to the wonders of the Old English language and its literature.

Participants on this study-day will be introduced to the rudiments of the English language, including the writing systems. Some sample texts will be analysed, not just for the excitement of reading words written so many centuries ago, for example by Alfred the Great himself, but also to unlock the beauty of the language in action.

Finally, there will be an opportunity to reflect on the echoes of the Old English language in current forms of English.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 An overview of the Old English language and how it works.  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 The Written Word - How to read Old English, the scripts, manuscript traditions and printing conventions.  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 Some Sample Texts - A look at three Old English texts and some ideas about contexts.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Echoes - Aspects of OE which are still with us (place-names, etc.).  
  16:15 Close  

About Stephen Pollington

Stephen Pollington has been writing books on Anglo-Saxon England for two decades. His many published titles include works on the Old English language, military culture, healing and herblore, runes and feasting in the ‘meadhall’, as well as a double CD of readings in Old English. He has lectured widely on aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture since 1991, from local history to the details of verse metre, from theories of the origins of the Germanic runes to the handling of Anglo-Saxon weaponry.

Stephen has worked on a number of television and radio programmes, and was script advisor to the ground-breaking “1000 AD”, in which dramatic dialogue was spoken entirely in Old English and Old Norse. He has also contributed to the prestigious Oxford Companion to Military History (2003) and Medieval Warfare: An Encyclopedia (forthcoming, 2009). Current research projects include early Anglo-Saxon material culture, and aspects of Old English religious life. For more on Stephen and his work, see his website at

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)
Heaney, S., Beowulf: A New Translation (London 1999)
Mitchell, B., & F.Robinson, A Guide to Old English (Blackwell 1986-2001)
Mitchell, B., & F.Robinson, (eds), Beowulf (Blackwell 1998)
Pollington, S., Wordcraft: a concise dictionary and thesaurus, modern English to Old English (Anglo-Saxon Books 1993)
Pollington, S., First Steps in Old English (Anglo-Saxon Books 2006)
Shippey, T.A., Old English Verse (London 1972)
Whitelock, D., Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader (Oxford 1967)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places.  Study Days are £38 per person, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition.  Once you have reserved your place please send a cheque to confirm the booking. For your first booking please complete the application form to ensure that we have recorded your contact details correctly.

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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