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Rediscovering Old English Gods and Goddesses

Woden’s Barrow (Adam’s Grave), Wiltshire, overlooking the Vale of Pewsey.  Woden’s Dyke (Wansdyke) lies beyond the barrow (Sam Newton, October 2008).

Woden’s Barrow (Adam’s Grave), Wiltshire, overlooking the Vale of Pewsey. Woden’s Dyke (Wansdyke) lies beyond the barrow (Sam Newton, October 2008).

with Dr Sam Newton

at the Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 22nd June, 2013.

A summer solstice celebration of the almost forgotten gods and goddesses of Old England. We shall look at some of the more authentic ways to chart the lost continent of pre-Christian mythology through literature, language, art, landscape, and archaeology.

We begin with the question of what King Æthelbert of Kent may have meant when he replied to the mission of Augustine from Rome in 597 that “we may not yet forsake the wise way that we have held for a long time with all the English folk.” We shall approach this question by examining the comparative literary, philological, artistic, and archaeological evidence which might help us to begin to map something of the lost landscape of pre-Christian Old English beliefs.

Provisional Programme
(There may be variations to the programme on the day)
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Kings, Farmers, and Goddesses  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 The War in Heaven  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Cult of Ing  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Offspring of Woden  
  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)

Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)
Branston, B., The Lost Gods of England (Thames & Hudson 1957, 1974)
Chaney, W.A., The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England (Manchester 1970)
Ellis Davidson, H., The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe (Routledge 1993)
Ewing, T., Gods and Worshippers in the Viking and Germanic World (Stroud, 2008)
Faulkes, A. (tr.), Snorri Sturluson: Edda (Dent Everyman 1987)
Garmonsway, G., & J.Simpson, Beowulf and Its Analogues (Dent Everyman 1968, 1980)
Glob, P.V., The Bog People, tr. R.Bruce-Mitford (Cornell 1969 etc.)
Grigsby, J., Beowulf and Grendel (London, 2005)
Herbert, K., Looking for the Lost Gods of England (Pinner, 1994)
Lee, S., & E.Solopova, The Keys of Middle Earth – Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J.R.R.Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan 2005)
Newton, S., The Reckoning of King Rædwald (Redbird 2003)
North, R., Heathen Gods in Old English Literature, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England, 22 (Cambridge, 1997)
Oosten, J.G., The War of the Gods. The Social Code in Indo-European Mythology (London, 1985)
Robinson, O.W., Old English and its closest relatives (Routledge 1992)
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, Arizona Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, Series V, 291 (Arizona 2005)
Simek, R., Dictionary of Northern Mythology, (Cambridge, 1993)
Stone, A., Ymir’s Flesh. Northern European Creation Mythologies (Loughborough, 1997)
Swanton, M., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Dent 1996; Phoenix 2000)
Turville-Petre, E.O.G., Myth and Religion of the North – The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia (London 1964)
Turville-Petre, G., The Heroic Age of Scandinavia (London 1951; repr. 1976)
Webster, L., & J.Backhouse, The Making of England. Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 (London, 1991)
Wilson, R., The Lost Literature of Medieval England (Methuen 1952, 1970)


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

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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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