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The Celtic Neighbours of the Anglo-Saxons

High cross, Ahenny (photograph: Fiona Edmonds)

with Dr Fiona Edmonds
(University of Cambridge)

at the Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 9th November 2013.

This study day focuses on the interaction of the Anglo-Saxons and their Celtic neighbours - the Gaelic-speakers of Ireland and Scotland, the Britons of Wales, Cornwall and Brittany, and the Picts. We will also investigate groups resident in Anglo-Saxon England, such as the monks of Lindisfarne.

Provisional Programme
(There may be variations to the programme on the day)
  10:00 Coffee on arrival  
  10:15 The Britons and the expansion of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms - The Britons, or Brittonic-speakers, spoke a language akin to modern Welsh, Cornish and Breton. At the start of our period, they dominated (what is now) England. We explore the fate of the Britons in the post-Roman period, paying particular attention to their interaction with the expanding Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wessex and Northumbria. Was it possible for Brittonic enclaves to endure in the midst of these Anglo-Saxon polities?  
  11:15 Coffee  
  11:45 The Britons of Wales, Cornwall, Dumbarton and Brittany - This session investigates the emergence of Brittonic kingdoms in Wales, Cornwall and southern Scotland. We also examine the evidence for a migration of Britons to the Continent and the subsequent history of early medieval Brittany. We then focus on interaction between the enduring Brittonic polities and their Anglo-Saxon counterparts.  
  12:45 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Gaelic-speakers of Ireland, Scotland and Man - At the start of our period, Gaelic-speakers dwelt in Ireland and on much of Scotland’s western seaboard. Gaelic was also spoken on the Isle of Man (alongside a Brittonic language). This session provides an introduction to the major political developments in early medieval Gaeldom, before focusing on Gaelic influence in Anglo-Saxon England, including the history of Lindisfarne.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Picts - The Picts dwelt in northern Scotland (to the north of the Firth of Forth). In this session we explore how their history can be reconstructed from versions of the Pictish king-list, texts written in neighbouring lands, and material culture (including the famous symbol stones). We also examine the interaction between the kings of the Picts and Anglo-Saxon dignitaries.  
  16:20 Close  

About Dr Fiona Edmonds

Fiona Edmonds holds MA (Hons), MSt and D.Phil. degrees in History from Oxford University. She is now Senior Lecturer in Celtic History in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, Cambridge University. She is a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Her recent publications include articles about the kingdom of Strathclyde, the cults of St Cuthbert and St Columba, and Welsh influence in north-west England.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Ó Cróinín, D., Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200 (Harlow 1995)
Charles-Edwards, T.M., Early Christian Ireland (Cambridge 2000)
Charles-Edwards, T.M., Wales and the Britons, 350–1064 (Oxford 2013)
Davies, W., Wales in the Early Middle Ages (Leicester 1982; 1989)
Foster, S.M., Picts, Gaels and Scots (London 1996)
Fraser, J., From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795 (Edinburgh 2009)
Smith, Julia M. H., Province and Empire: Brittany and the Carolingians (Cambridge 1992)
Woolf, A., From Pictland to Alba, 789-1070 (Edinburgh 2007)


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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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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