£30 – £45

The Old English Eastertide Festival - with Dr Sam Newton FSA

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£30 – £45

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The Old English Eastertide Festival - with Dr Sam Newton FSA (Wuffing Education).

About this Event

We begin our rediscovery of the Old English Eastertide festival with a look at the Old English calendar, which reveals how the pre-Christian year was structured. We can reconstruct this calendar from De Temporvm Ratione Liber, “Book on the Reckoning of Time” by the early eighth-century Northumbrian scholar Bede. Of great interest is his reference to the origin of the name of the festival.

Éosturmonath has a name … which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Éostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance (translated by F. Wallis, Bede: The Reckoning of Time [Liverpool 1999]).

We shall consider how the month of the Old English goddess Éostre become the great Easter festival and some of the ways in which it was celebrated in early England. We shall also discuss the ‘Synod’ of Whitby in 664 and the question of the dating of Easter which continues to this day. Finally, we shall look at Cult of the Cross, using examples from early medieval archaeology, art, and literature, especially the sublime poem known as The Dream of the Rood.


		The Old English Eastertide Festival - with Dr Sam Newton FSA image

Timetable for the day

10.15 – 11.15: The Old English Calendar

11.15-11.45: Coffee-break.

11.45 – 12.45: The Dating of Easter

12.45-13.45: Lunch-break.

13.45-14.45: The Cult of the Cross

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 has also published several papers, some of which are available on Academia – https://independent.academia.edu/SamNewton - or on his website www.wuffings.co.uk .

He has lectured widely around the country and contributed to many radio and television programmes, especially Time Team, for whom he worked for seven series. He is a tutor for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education, an accredited Arts’ Society lecturer, and a Director of the Wuffing Education Study-Day Partnership.

In 2020 he was elected as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008).

Brown, Michelle P., How Christianity came to Britain and Ireland (Lion Hudson 2006)

Chaney, W.A., The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England (Manchester 1970)

Ellis Davidson, H., The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe (Routledge 1993)

Hoggett, R., The Archaeology of the East Anglian Conversion (Woodbridge 2010)

Hutton, R., The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (Oxford 1996)

Lee, C., Feasting the Dead: Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon Burial Rituals (Woodbridge, 2007)

Mayr-Harting, H., The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford 1977)

Turville-Petre, G., Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia (London 1964)

Wallis, F., Bede: The Reckoning of Time (Liverpool 1999)

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		The Old English Eastertide Festival - with Dr Sam Newton FSA image
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