Settlements and Strongholds: Literature and Landscape in Early Medieval England
with Dr Michael Bintley (Canterbury Christ Church University)
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 1st July, 2017.


Much is known about Anglo-Saxon settlements from the archaeological record, but, as this study day will reveal, still more can be found by considering this evidence alongside the period’s literature and other written sources.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:          Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:          Coping with Stones: Urban Ruins and Origin Myths – A consideration of the various ways in which  Anglo-Saxon writers dealt with the ruins of Roman Britain.

11.15 – 11.40:          Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:          Halls, Hovels, Markets, and Fortifications: Presences and Absences – Here, we will look at a range of settlements and buildings that are both prominent in – and curiously absent from – the written record.

12.40 – 14.00:          Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:          Settlements and Strongholds in the Viking Age – The ways in which the representation of city-strongholds underwent a pronounced shift during the Viking Age.

14.50 – 15.10:          Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:          Cities of God in Later Anglo-Saxon England – The day will conclude by considering the representation of cities in Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman works.

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Dr Michael Bintley

Mike Bintley wrote his PhD thesis in literature and archaeology at UCL, and joined Canterbury Christ Church University in 2012, where he is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature. He has written and co-edited the following books: Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World (2013); Trees in the Religions of Early Medieval England (2015); Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia (2015); Sensory Perception in the Medieval West (2016); Andreas: an Edition (2016); Stasis in the Medieval West? Questioning Change and Continuity (2017). This study day draws on work for his new book on settlements and strongholds in the literature and landscapes of Anglo-Saxon England.


When asked ‘What was best about the day?’ respondents at a previous Study Day by Mike said:

  • Totally absorbing and accessible
  • Particularly interesting – would have been such a shame to miss this one.  The enthusiasm of the lecturer shines through.
  • Brilliant speaker on fascinating theme.  So thought provoking!  So very helpful to have a booklet of the extracts
  • It filled in gaps and opened up new ones.  A very good day.  Thank you
  • Range of references and fascinating info – instigated lively discussions at question time which extended into tea breaks.  Useful handouts
  • Speaker was great.
  • The expert speaking of OE text – the command of the subject, excellent eye contact


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

John Baker and Stuart Brookes, Beyond the Burghal Hidage: Anglo-Saxon Civil Defence in the Viking Age (Leiden, 2013)

John Blair, The Church in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2005)

Catherine Clarke, Literary Landscapes and the Idea of England, 700-1400 (Cambridge, 2006)

Jeffrey Cohen, Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages (Minneapolis, MN, 1999)

Jeffrey Cohen, Stone, an Ecology of the Inhuman (Minneapolis, MN, 2015)

Robin Fleming, Britain After Rome: the Fall and Rise, from 400-1070 (London, 2010)

Helen Gittos, Liturgy, Architecture and Sacred Places in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2013)

Helena Hamerow, Early Medieval Settlements: the Archaeology of Rural Communities in North-West Europe 400-900 (Oxford, 2002)

Nicholas Howe, Migration and Mythmaking in Anglo-Saxon England (New Haven, CT, 1989)

Ryan Lavelle, Sources and Interpretations of Anglo-Saxon Warfare in the Viking Age (Woodbridge, 2010)