The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society

by John Blair

Hardcover, 2005

Status

Available

Call number

274.2

Collection

Publication

Oxford University Press (2005), Hardcover

Description

From the impact of the first monasteries in the seventh century, to the emergence of the local parochial system five hundred years later, the Church was a force for change in Anglo-Saxon society. It shaped culture and ideas, social and economic behaviour, and the organization of landscape andsettlement. This book traces how the widespread foundation of monastic sites ('minsters') during c.670-730 gave the recently pagan English new ways of living, of exploiting their resources, and of absorbing European culture, as well as opening new spiritual and intellectual horizons. Through the eraof Viking wars, and the tenth-century reconstruction of political and economic life, the minsters gradually lost their wealth, their independence, and their role as sites of high culture, but grew in stature as foci of local society and eventually towns. After 950, with the increasing prominence ofmanors, manor-houses, and village communities, a new and much larger category of small churches were founded, endowed, and rebuilt: the parish churches of the emergent eleventh- and twelfth-century local parochial system. In this innovative study, John Blair brings together written, topographical,and archaeological evidence to build a multi-dimensional picture of what local churches and local communities meant to each other in early England.… (more)

Media reviews

Blair's skilful integration of archaeological and historical evidence is second to none. His synthesis and assessment of the most recent archaeological research conveys all the excitement of this fast unfolding field where, for example, an avalanche of new data from metal detecting surveys is continually sending archaeologists back to the drawing board. But it is the interplay of this material with Blair's brilliant analysis of the documentary sources that makes the work so rewarding; often the archaeological data provides the main story but elsewhere Blair places it alongside the slender written sources, be it to contradict, corroborate, or suggest new avenues of approach. The result is that the reader is given the sense of participating in the process of evaluation, as different types of source are weighed up and chewed over.

Language

Physical description

624 p.; 9.21 inches

ISBN

0198226950 / 9780198226956

Local notes

From the impact of the first monasteries in the seventh century, to the emergence of the local parochial system five hundred years later, the Church was a force for change in Anglo-Saxon society. It shaped culture and ideas, social and economic behaviour, and the organization of landscape and settlement. This book traces how the widespread foundation of monastic sites ('minsters') during c.670-730 gave the recently pagan English new ways of living, of exploiting their resources, and of absorbing European culture, as well as opening new spiritual and intellectual horizons. Through the era of Viking wars, and the tenth-century reconstruction of political and economic life, the minsters gradually lost their wealth, their independence, and their role as sites of high culture, but grew in stature as foci of local society and eventually towns. After 950, with the increasing prominence of manors, manor-houses, and village communities, a new and much larger category of small churches were founded, endowed, and rebuilt: the parish churches of the emergent eleventh- and twelfth-century local parochial system. In this innovative study, John Blair brings together written, topographical, and archaeological evidence to build a multi-dimensional picture of what local churches and local communities meant to each other in early England.
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