- November 16, 2019
10:15 am - 4:00 pm
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and East Anglian History
with Dr Sam Newton (Director, Wuffing Education)
An illustrated introduction to one of the major documents of early English culture. Its great narrative scope provides an Old Testament of English history and is also of enormous literary interest. Not only does it draw on, an in places incorporates examples of, the ancient English medium of alliterative poetry, it also contains some of the first original compositions in English prose, the language of which anticipates the King James’ version of the Bible.
We shall explore this wonderful document in the light of Anglo-Saxon art and culture, amplifying the references to East Anglian history wherever possible. These include the entry to the foundation of the minster of St Botulf in 654 (an event not mentioned by Bede in his Ecclesiastical History), as well as near contemporary information on the death on St Edmund in the winter of 869.
09.45 – 10.15: Welcome; tea / coffee
10.15 – 11.10: The Compilation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
11.10 – 11.35: Tea / coffee / biscuits
11.35 – 12.30: The Chronicle and the Kingdom of the Eastern Angles.
12.30 – 13.45: Lunch break
13.45 – 14.35: The Coming of The Danes and the Last of the Wuffings.
14.35 – 15.00: Tea / coffee / biscuits
15.00 – 15.50: Danish East Anglia and Beyond.
15.50: 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, in 2003. He is also the author of several academic papers, some of which are available at https://independent.academia.edu/SamNewton. He has lectured widely around the country and contributed to many radio and television programmes, especially Time Team, for whom he worked from 2005 to 2012. He is a tutor for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education, an accredited Arts’ Society lecturer, and a Director of Wuffing Education at Sutton Hoo
At previous Study Day by Sam when asked “What was best about the day?”, people said:
- Sam’s knowledge. Well worth the 260 mile round trip.
- Making connections between shreds of history randomly absorbed, getting a bigger picture. Thank you, such a treat.
- So many good things – how would I choose?
- Information that the chronicles have – so full of detail. Anglo-Saxon prose gave great insight to their approach and understanding of thoughts and fears
- So very interesting and informative, excellent slides and also recommendations of sources and further reading
- Excellent clear speaker, fascinating material and illustrations. Very enjoyable and stimulating.
- Lively narrative – always new things to mull over.
- Fascinating history told by an expert! Kept my interest throughout
- Sam’s knowledge, slides and declaiming from inter-linear translation. I believe Wuffings are an integral part of the offering at Sutton Hoo.
Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading
Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)
S. Baker, Introduction to Old English (Blackwell, 2003) – also online at http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/resources/IOE/index.html
Backhouse, J. (ed.), The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art (British Museum, 1984)
Garmonsway, G., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Dent 1953, 1975)
Keynes, S., & M. Lapidge (ed. & tr.), Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and other contemporary sources (Penguin Classics 1983)
Lee, S.D., & E. Solopova, The Keys of Middle-earth: Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J.R.R.Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan 2005)
Newton, S., “The Forgotten History of St Bótwulf (Botolph)”, The Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, 43 (2016), pp. 521-50, or online at
Pollington, S., First Steps in Old English (Anglo-Saxon Books)
Plummer, C. (ed.), Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel, 2 vols (Oxford 1892, 1899)
Smyth, A., King Alfred the Great (Oxford 1995)
Swanton, M., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Phoenix 2000)
Webster, L., & J. Backhouse, The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD600-900 (British Museum 1991)
Wilson, R., The Lost Literature of Medieval England (Methuen 1970)
Venue: The Court, Sutton Hoo