St Æthelbert: East Anglia’s other King and Martyr (martyred 20th May 794)
with Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education at Sutton Hoo)
at Sutton Hoo on Saturday, 19th May, 2018

On the eve of his festival day, an exploration of what we can see of the history of East Anglia’s less well-known king and martyr, Æthelbert. We begin with a look at the history of England and East Anglia in the latter part of the eighth century.  We shall assess what can be deduced of the events surrounding King Æthelbert’s murder near Hereford on 20th May 794, and the part played by the Mercian king Offa and his queen, Cynethryth. We shall then consider the later history of the cult of St Æthelbert.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:          Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:          The Kingdom of the Eastern Angles

in the Eighth Century

11.15 – 11.40:          Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:          The Martyrdom of King Æthelbert

12.40 – 14.00:          Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:          A Tale of Two Offas

14.50 – 15.10:          Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:          The Cult of St Æthelbert, King and Martyr

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D at UEA in 1991.  He published his first book, The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, in 1993, and his second, The Reckoning of King Rædwald: the Story of the King linked to the Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, in 2003.  His most recent publication is “The Forgotten History of St Bótwulf (Botolph)”, The Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, 43 (2016), pp. 521-50, which is also available from his Academia  webpage https://independent.academia.edu/SamNewton , along with some of his other papers.  He has lectured widely around the country and has contributed to many radio and television programmes, especially Time Team.  He is a tutor for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education, an accredited NADFAS / Arts’ Society lecturer, and a Director of the Wuffing Education Study-Day Partnership at Sutton Hoo.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)

Arnold-Forster, F., Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, vol.2 (London 1899)

Blair, J., The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (Oxford 2005)

Chaney, W.A., The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England (Manchester 1970)

Farmer, D.H., The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford University Press, 1978).

Garmonsway, G., & J.Simpson, Beowulf and Its Analogues (Dent 1968, 1980)

Heaney, Seamus (tr.) Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition, ed. J.Niles (Norton 2007)

Newton, S., The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia  (Brewer 1993, 1994, 1999, 2004)

Plunkett, S.J., Suffolk in Anglo-Saxon Times (Tempus 2005)

Webster, L., & J.Backhouse, The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 (British Museum 1991)

Wilson, R., The Lost Literature of Medieval England (Methuen 1952, 1970)