Local Churches in the Anglo-Saxon Countryside

Richard Morris

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Local Churches in the Anglo-Saxon Countryside

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  • Archaeology
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology


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The ‘Anglo-Saxon landscape’ was a realm of co-varying regions and economies, some quite uniform, others highly differentiated, within which hierarchies of settlement changed in shape, function, and complexity as time passed. Burial across a wide area followed by contraction or re-adjustment of boundaries is known in a number of places. The issue of extensive, cross-country quarrying has implications for landscape and church-building along the length of England's Jurassic stone outcrop. Anglo-Saxon church history was once conceptualized in two halves — pre- and post-Viking — and told as a story in three acts: a monastic flourishing in the seventh and eighth centuries, institutional decay and Viking destruction in the ninth, reform, renewal, and growing localism in the tenth and eleventh. Today, ‘the evolution of institutions through the whole period’ is told as ‘one continuous story’.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon landscape; Anglo-Saxon church history; England; Viking destruction; monastic flourishing; localism

Article.  8924 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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