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Water and the Environment in the Anglo-Saxon World
A lecture by Dr Della Hooke
Start: 10th May 2019 7:30pm
This Lecture will be a 7.30pm start
Water was a dominant feature in everyone’s lives throughout history but and the Anglo-Saxon world was no exception. In this period, river-names, rights to water etc. are recorded in documents and more known about its cultural and symbolical role. An attempt will be made to relate much of this discussion to Staffordshire. Here some major rivers such as the Trent, and even some smaller streams, continued to bear names of British origin; other names display their nature as perceived in this period, whether describing their flow or the animals and birds that were found in the vicinity, providing an insight into the Anglo-Saxon countryside. Some rivers also gave their names to adjoining settlements. On a spiritual level, water had been revered since at least Mesolithic times and springs or wells might enjoy a special mystical or sacred role. In this period many were Christianised by becoming associated with a Christian saint and their presence might influence the siting of a new church or cathedral – the water used in liturgical practices. Water had a liminal quality, separating the everyday world from the sacred (although wetlands might sometimes be regarded as places of danger), and might influence the location of early minsters and monasteries, often established on ‘islands’ formed in a braided river. However, such locations were to prove immensely beneficial as trade expanded and markets were established, often by the monasteries themselves.
Della Hooke, PhD and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, pursued a career as a university research fellow and lecturer before becoming a free-lance consultant in Archaeology and Historical Landscapes. She is an Associate Member of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, in the University of Birmingham.
She is also the editor of the Routledge journal, Landscape History, and of the Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society.
The Guildhall, Bore Street, Lichfield WS13 6LX
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