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Wuffing Education

The Old English Warrior-Kings 


with Steve Pollington and Paul Mortimer

in The Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 5th November, 2011

The office of kingship was central to Anglo-Saxon society in all its many guises – religious, military, political, social, economic and legislative power centred around the royal court. This study day will focus on the role of Old English kingship, with emphasis on the Conversion Period and the Sutton Hoo Mound 1 material – a time in which the nature of kingship was changing in the response to t new religious ideas.

The day will include a special presentation by master mason Brian Ansell, who will discuss the design and manufacture of the whetstone from Mound 1 – a controversial and enigmatic item without a known close parallel anywhere in contemporary Europe.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Introduction to Kingship and the Warrior Ethos (Steve Pollington & Paul Mortimer) An overview of the warrior ethos in Germanic societies, and the special relationship between the warrior and the Drihten (lord of the warrior band) in the post-Roman period with emphasis on the physical display of status and group membership.  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 Creating the King’s Whetstone (Brian Ansell) The creation of the replica of the Sutton Hoo whetstone, from concept to completion.
12.40 – 14.00: Lunch break
  12.45 Lunch break (bring picnic or eat in NT restaurant)  
  14:00 Vocabulary of Kingship (Steve Pollington) The special vocabulary used in Old English to emphasise aspects of kingship as economic, military and spiritual dominion.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Sacral Kingship (Paul Mortimer) The role of the king as intercessor with the gods was central to pre-Christian lordship; this was substantially but subtly altered with the coming of Christianity.  
  16:15 Close  

About the Speakers

Stephen 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 and has worked on a number of television and radio programmes. For more on his work, see his website at www.stevepollington.com/index.html .

Paul is a retired history teacher with a life-long interest things Anglo-Saxon and military, and has commissioned many museum-quality replicas of the treasures from the Sutton Hoo ship-burial and some other important finds. He can often be seen at Sutton Hoo displaying his reproduction wargear during the summer months. Woden’s Warriors, his recently completed encyclopaedic book on warfare in northern Europe during the sixth and seventh centuries, should be available later this year.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Carver, M.O.H. (ed.), The Age of Sutton Hoo: The Seventh Century in North-Western Europe (Woodbridge 1992)
Carver, M.O.H., Sutton Hoo – Burial Ground of Kings? (London 1998)
Chaney, W.A., The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England: The Transition from Paganism to Christianity (Manchester 1970)
Dobat, A.S., The King and his Cult: The Axe-hammer from Sutton Hoo and its Implications for the Concept of Sacral Leadership in Early Medieval Europe, Antiquity, 80 (2006)
Enright, M., Lady With a Mead Cup. Ritual, Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tène to the Viking Age (Dublin 1996)
Enright, M., The Sutton Hoo Sceptre and the Roots of Celtic Kingship Theory (Dublin 2006)
Hedeager, L., (trans. J.Hines) Iron-Age Societies. From Tribe to State in Northern Europe 500 BC to AD 700 (Cambridge 1992)
Mortimer, P. Woden’s Warriors (in press)
Newton, S., The Origins of Beowulf and the Pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (Cambridge 1994)
Newton, S., The Reckoning of King Rædwald. The Story of the King Linked to the Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial (Colchester 2003)
Noble, T.F.X. (ed), From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms (London 2006)
Pollington, S., The English Warrior from Earliest Times till 1066 (2nd edition, Hockwold-cum-Wilton 2002)
Pollington, S., The Mead-Hall – Feasting in Anglo-Saxon England (Hockwold-cum-Wilton 2003)
Webster, L. & Backhouse, J. (eds.), The Making of England. Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 (London 1991)


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 wuffingeducation.co.uk
(replace 'AT' by '@' in order to send email - we used 'AT' to avoid spam robots automatically sending us emails)
Website www.wuffingeducation.co.uk

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