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Bishoprics and Battlefields: East Anglia during the Seventh Century

The Henham Travellers’ Rest, said to have been built on the site where King Anna was killed in 654 (Sam Newton)

with Dr Sam Newton

at the Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 27th April, 2013.

Our main source for the period, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, tells us that the short reign of Rædwald’s son Eorpwald ended in assassination, but with the succession of Sigeberht, Rædwald’s step-son, c.631, the kingdom was stable enough for the establishment of Felix as the first bishop of the Eastern Angles at Dommoc and of the Irish abbot Fursey at Cnobheresburh. We shall consider the possible site of these major ecclesiastical sites.
Sigeberht appears to have been the first English king to abdicate to become a monk, but was killed in battle c.640 by Penda of Mercia, perhaps near Devil’s Dyke. Sigeberht’s successor Anna (or Onna), father of saints, was also killed by Penda c.654 near Blythburgh, perhaps at Bulcamp, and subsequently buried at Blythburgh. Anna’s successor, his brother Æthelhere, was killed fighting alongside Penda at the Battle of the River Winwæd a year later (c.655). We shall attempt to locate the sites of these events and to elucidate something of the drama behind them.

Provisional Programme
(There may be variations to the programme on the day)
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Rædwald's Sons - Eorpwald & Sigeberht  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 St Fursey & St Felix  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 Rædwald's Nephews  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Battle of the River Winwæd  
  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 (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 Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Bruce-Mitford, R., Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (Gollancz 1974)
Farmer, D.H., The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford 1978)
Gallyon, M., The Early Church in Eastern England (Lavenham 1973)
Higham, N., An English Empire: Bede and the Early Anglo-Saxon Kings (Manchester 1995)
Higham, N., The Convert Kings: Power and Religious Affiliation in Early Anglo-Saxon England (Manchester 1997)
Kirby, D.P., The Earliest English Kings (London 1991)
Newton, S., The Reckoning of King Rædwald (Redbird 2003)
Scarfe, N., The Suffolk Landscape (Hodder & Stoughton 1972, Alastair 1986)
Sherley-Price, L., Bede: A History of the English Church and People (Penguin Classics 1955, 1968)
Warner, P., The Origins of Suffolk (Manchester 1996)


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 payment 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
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Website www.wuffingeducation.co.uk

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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....
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