King Offa & early medieval English landscapes

King Offa & early medieval English landscapes


11th June, 2022 at 11:10 AM

Herstmonceux Castle, Herstmonceux, Hailsham, BN27 1RN

The Offa Charter, Early Medieval England, and its Landscapes

Three fascinating talks to introduce you to the rich wealth of surviving material that tells us about King Offa and the early medieval world’s perceptions of the environment around it. Chaired by Claire Kennan & Jack Newman). Admission is free, but booking is required. Coffee and cake and free entry to the beautiful grounds of Herstmonceux Castle is included with your booking.

‘Putting King Offa’s Bexhill Charter into Context’, Robert Gallagher (University of Kent)

This talk will introduce the charter dated to AD 772 that records the donation of by the Mercian King Offa to Bishop Wilfrid of land at Bexhill. King Offa was the most powerful English king in the second half of the eighth century, who reigned from 757 to 796. His political authority reached across much of present-day southern England and the midlands, and his power was such that it gave him significant international clout. This charter is clear evidence of that power, and indeed, charters were an important way in which Offa controlled the landscape. This talk will explain the political situation in the 770s, as well as the nature and function of early medieval charters. It will also provide an overview of the later history of this compelling document.

Dr Robert Gallagher is a historian of early medieval Britain, particularly Anglo-Saxon England. Much of his current research focuses on uses of the written word, multilingualism, and cultural and political identities in early medieval societies. More about the speaker.

‘Landscapes and Environments of Early Medieval England, Real and Imagined’, Mike Bintley (Birkbeck, University of London)

This talk will introduce you to the environments of early medieval England, considering the interplay between those found in works of literature and other forms of writing, and the physical realities one finds reflected in charters. Drawing on works such as Beowulf, we will encounter forests and fenlands, rivers and seas, towering halls, crumbling cities, and demon-haunted wastes.

Dr Mike Bintley’s research and teaching cover the early middle ages. He has expertise in the literature, material culture, and archaeology of early medieval England and Scandinavia, and a research focus on landscape, environment, and settlements. More about the speaker.

‘Northeye – A Lost Village’, Julian Porter (Bexhill Museum)

This talk is an introduction to what we know – or perhaps more correctly what we don’t know – about the “Lost Town” of Northeye, situated on Chapel Field in the Hooe Levels, Bexhill. What is missing in details is more than made up in mystery, things to do with Northeye have a tendency to go wrong or disappear, this includes two archaeological excavations that were cut short and lost reports. A heady mixture of history, supposition and folklore.

Julian Porter is District Curator for Rother’s Museum Service. He is attached to Bexhill Museum as its curator and provides expert advice and guidance on all aspects of the collection’s history, documentation, care and display.

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