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The History of St Botulf and his Cult

Icon of St Botulf by Marchela Dimitrova (Alde Valley Festival 2011)

with Dr Sam Newton

in The Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 16th June, 2012.

Bede makes no mention of Botulf, yet his mentor St Ceolfrith visited “Abbot Botwulf” in East Anglia around the year 670 according to The Life of St Ceolfrith. This describes Botulf as “proclaimed on all sides to be a man of unparalleled life and learning, and full of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (4). We shall see that this high ecclesiastical reputation related to his fame as a pioneer of Benedictine monasticism in England, which began at his famous foundation to which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers as Ican Hó. We shall weigh the evidence for its most likely location on the former island hó on which the church of St Botulf at Iken in Suffolk now stands.
We shall also consider St Botulf’s reputation as an exorcist and as a patron saint of travellers, especially those crossing water.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 St Botulf and the Wuffings  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 St Botulf ‘s Minster  
  12.45 Lunch break (bring picnic or eat in NT restaurant)  
  14:00 St Botulf the Exorcist  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Cult of St Botulf  
  c.16:20 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D at UEA in 1991 and is the author of The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (1993) and The Reckoning of King Rædwald: The Story of the King linked to the Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial , (2003). He has lectured widely around the country as an independent scholar and has contributed to many radio and television programmes. He is also a Director of Wuffing Education, NADFAS lecturer, and part-time Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Garmonsway, G., and J.Simpson, Beowulf and Its Analogues (Dent 1968, 1980)
Heaney, S. (tr.), Beowulf (Faber & Faber 1999)
Mayr-Harting. H., The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (London 1972)
Newton, S., The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (Brewer 1993).
Orchard, A., Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf Manuscript (Brewer 1995)
Plunkett, S.J.& S.E.West, A Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Material from Suffolk, East Anglian Archaeology 84 [Suffolk 1998], pp.328, 344-45.
Rackham, O., A History of the Countryside (London 1986).
Scarfe, Norman., "St Botolph, The Iken Cross, and the Coming of East Anglian Christianity", Suffolk in the Middle Ages (Boydell 1986), pp.39-51.
Shippey, T. A., The Road to Middle-earth (Allen & Unwin 1982; rev. edn Harper Collins 2003)
Shippey, T.A. (ed.), The Shadow-walkers: Jacob Grimm’s Mythology of the Monstrous, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, Series V, 291)
Stevenson, F.S. "St Botolph (Botwulf) and Iken", Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, 18 (1924), pp.30-52.
Trubshaw, Bob (ed.), Explore Phantom Black Dogs (Heart of Albion 2005)
West, S.E., N.Scarfe, & R.Cramp, "Iken, St Botolph, and the Coming of East Anglian Christianity", Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, XXXV (1984), pp.279-301.


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

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We have learnt of the fame of the Wuffing folk-lords of long ago, of how those wolf-kings held the ancestral land of East Anglia....
Updated 13 December, 2012
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