Heavenfield: Christian Inspirations

Richard Hingley

in Hadrian's Wall

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641413
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745720 | DOI:
Heavenfield: Christian Inspirations

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Travelling west along the line of Hadrian's Wall, just before reaching the River Tyne at Chollerford, the visitor arrives at Heavenfield. A large modern wooden cross marks this site of Christian pilgrimage by the side of the road running just to the south of the Wall. Heavenfield remains a significant place today, visited on the first Saturday in August by the Annual Pilgrimage travelling from Hexham Abbey to celebrate the cult of St Oswald. This chapter draws on the writings of Gildas and Bede to argue that the Wall had a particularly Christian association, since these authors viewed it as the final work of a lost empire that had introduced Christianity to Britain. The writings of Gildas and Bede indicate that during the centuries following the ending of Roman rule, at least some educated people in Lowland Britain retained an impression of the origin and history of the Wall. Bede's and Gildas' accounts are important in themselves, since they provide significant interpretations of the Wall, but they also had a sustained impact on later work.

Keywords: Hadrian's Wall; Christian pilgrimage; St Oswald; Gildas; Bede; Britain; Christianity

Chapter.  6630 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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