Anglo-Saxon Study Day Raises £500

Forty four Friends and guests, (not an empty seat), enjoyed a super day of lectures given by Professor Joyce Hill at Thorpe Prebend House on Saturday 23rd June 2012 for our latest fund-raising event. The day began at 9.30am and finished at 4.00pm. As well as providing tea and coffee with biscuits and cakes we also offered a buffet lunch which was accepted by 34 people.

Mrs Caroline Eason writes –

The lectures given by Professor Joyce Hill at the Anglo Saxon day brought to life the Anglo Saxon kings, monks and ordinary people of the 7th Century.

It is humbling to remember that as long ago as the 7th Century great works were being written; among them Bede’s Historica Ecclesiastica and Cuthbert’s Opus Geminatum, a twinned pair of texts, one in prose and one in poetry, treating the same subject. This was one of the most distinctive forms of Anglo Saxon authors.

Music, too, was an important part of the life of Anglo Saxon monks. Eddius (Aedde) was brought to Ripon from Kent to teach Liturgical music.

We saw examples of beautiful illuminated writing, another wonderful skill of the 7th century scribes.

We heard about the lives of some of the monks; how, for example Willibrod became an oblate at the monastery in Ripon when only seven years of age. He was tonsured when he was fifteen and made his monastic profession at Ripon. Later, after spending time in Ireland, he was sent as a missionary to Frisia and in 695 became Bishop of  Utrecht. He built up a monastery at Echternach and is much revered in Holland.

We learned that Bede loved Ceolfrith, an Abbot who had been priested by Wilfrid at Ripon. He assisted Benedict Biscop at Wearmouth and eventually became Abbot of  Jarrow.

Wilfrid built the first stone church in Ripon and was the force behind the church accepting the Roman rite and not the Celtic one at the Treaty of Whitby at the Synod in 664.

Alcuin of York, Stephen of Ripon, Eata, Prior of Lindisfarne , Oswald of Northumbria as well as Wilfrid, Bede, Ceolfrith, Benedict Biscop and Eddius Stephanus were all part of the 7th Century world which, although so long ago, was all brought so vividly to life in Professor Hill’s lecture.

Mrs Sheila Burney says –

I attended the Friends’ Anglo-Saxon study day recently and was utterly absorbed by the presentations and volume of information and sheer scale of the knowledge of Professor Joyce Hill in giving us this wonderful day. I have heard Joyce speak before and as always the depth of her knowledge and particularly the ability to speak without notes, and answer any questions in great detail, is so impressive and really brought her subject alive. She has to be one of our modern treasures herself.

I found the manuscripts and other treasures particularly fascinating – that so much material has survived in spite of Viking plunder and ransom and religious conflicts and social changes and wars is itself wonderful, and in such remarkable condition and vivid colour.

The lunch was delicious and the opportunity to talk to people I had not met previously was a great bonus. Many thanks to the organising team as well as Joyce for giving us such a memorable day!