Art and History in the Bayeux Tapestry
with Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education at Sutton Hoo)
at Sutton Hoo on Saturday, April 21st, 2018

The Bayeux Tapestry is the most important work of narrative art of the eleventh century and one of the major sources for our understanding of Anglo-Norman culture.  We shall attempt to unravel the great story this superb embroidery tells in the light of contemporary art and literature, especially the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which provides an almost continuous narrative of the events leading up to and including 1066, one of the most well known years in English history.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:                Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:                The Last of the Line of Alfred

11.15 – 11.40:                Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:                The Oath Sworn at Bayeux, 1064

12.40 – 14.00:                Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:                 The Oath Broken at Westminster, 1066

14.50 – 15.10:                Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:                The Judgement of God

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 , 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.


When asked “What was best about the day?” this is what people said after a previous Bayeux Tapestry Day by Sam:

  • Sam’s reading the OE – terrific! A good day, many thanks. Lovely to see tapestry scenes in such details, get very good overview of the whole. Many thanks, I’ll be back.
  • Sam brings great enthusiasm to his talks, which brings the material to life
  • Sam’s enthusiasm and clarity. Such fun!
  • Interesting account of history as represented on the tapestry. Seeing photos of panels large-scale emphasised its skill and beauty.
  • Sam’s translations and reading of OE
  • The handouts
  • Detailed perception. Differing perspectives on interpretation. Learnt a lot


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

  • Allen Brown, R., The Normans and the Norman Conquest (London 1969)
  • Barlow, F., Edward the Confessor (London 1970; Yale 1997)
  • Barlow, F., The Godwins (Pearson Longman 2002)
  • Backhouse, J. (ed.), The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art (British Museum, 1984)
  • Bridgeford, A., 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry (Walker 2005)
  • Brink, S. & Price, N. (eds), The Viking World (Routledge 2008)
  • Heywood, J., The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings (Penguin 1995)
  • Hicks, C., The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece (Chatto & Windus 2006)
  • Higham, R. & P. Barker, Timber Castles (London 1992; Exeter 2004)
  • Howard Bloch, R., A Needle in the Right Hand of God: The Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Making and Meaning of the Bayeux Tapestry (Random House 2006)
  • Jones, G., A History of the Vikings (2nd Edition, Oxford 1984)
  • Liddiard, R. (ed.), Anglo-Norman Castles (Woodbridge 2003)
  • Magnusson, Magnus, & Hermann Pálsson, King Harald’s Saga (Penguin Classics 1966)
  • Muntz, H., The Golden Warrior: the story of Harold and William (Chatto & Windus 1950)
  • Musset, L., The Bayeux Tapestry, tr. R.Rex (Boydell 2005)
  • Swanton, M.(ed. & tr.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Dent 1996; Phoenix 2000)
  • Williams, A., The English and the Norman Conquest (Boydell 1995)
  • Wilson, D., The Bayeux Tapestry (Thames & Hudson 1985)
  • Williams, G., The Viking Ship (British Museum Press 2014)