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Anglo-Saxon Open-Air Governance and the East Anglian Hundred Moots

The stones which mark the site of the moot of Swanborough hundred in the heart of Wessex (Sam Newton 7th August 2006)

with Dr Sam Newton

at the Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 2nd November 2013.

Building on The Landscapes of Governance project at University College London ( www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/research/projects/assembly ), we shall explore the landscape of the early hundred moot sites of the Eastern Angles.

T he custom of holding important meetings, or moots, in the open air appears to have been widespread in early England and Scandinavia. The reason for this prefrence is suggested by Bede’s reference to the famous meeting in 597 between Æthelberht, King of Kent, and the newly arrived missionary from Rome, Augustine, on the island of Thanet.

(The Old English Version of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica, I, 25 [my translation])

Such outdoor moots were usually held at fixed places in the landscape and the clearest, though largely unexplored, examples are those pertaining to the shires and hundreds. We shall look at Anglo-Saxon and Norse assembly sites in general before exploring the East Anglian hundreds in particular.

Provisional Programme
(There may be variations to the programme on the day)
  10:00 Coffee on arrival  
  10:15 Anglo-Saxon & Norse Open Air Governance  
  11:15 Coffee  
  11:45 The Hundreds of East Anglia (1)  
  12:45 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Hundreds of East Anglia (2)  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Hundreds of East Anglia (3)  
  16:20 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D. 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)

Anderson, Olof S., The English Hundred Names (Lund 1934) – you can download this essential work in three .pdf files from UCL www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/research/projects/assembly/ElectronicAnderson
Arnott, W.G., The Place-Names of the Deben Valley Parishes (Ipswich 1946)
Cam, H., Liberties and Communities in Medieval England (London 1963)
Reynolds, A., Later Anglo-Saxon England: Life & Landscape (Tempus 1999)
Scarfe, N., The Suffolk Landscape (Hodder & Stoughton 1972, Alastair 1986)
Sturluson, Snorri, Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway, tr. Lee M. Hollander, American-Scandinavian Foundation (Austin, Texas, 1964)
Sturluson, Snorri, Heimskringla: The Norse Kings Sagas, Everyman Library, 3 vols, tr.S.Laing (London 1844) – also at http://omacl.org/Heimskringla/
Warner, P., The Origins of Suffolk (Manchester 1996)
Williamson, T., The Origins of Norfolk (Manchester 1993)

Bookings

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
(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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