Lichfield and the Lands of St Chad
Creating Community in Early Medieval Mercia
Author: Andrew Sargent
Price: £18.99 (free postage)
“Thoroughly researched, stimulating and illuminating, Lichfield and the Lands of St Chad could be a useful model for research projects in parts of the country where archival evidence may be thin and where a multi-disciplinary approach may yield new insights into what ‘community’ signified in the medieval period. For instance, comments on the dissemination and after-life of cults of local saints in Mercia suggest ways in which to approach the persistence of similar traditions in other localities. In addition to illustrations of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture from the region, other strengths of this work are its well-presented maps, plans and tables, including data from Domesday Book showing the distribution of estates of the bishop of Lichfield in 1066 from Burton in Wirral to Tachbrook, Warwickshire. Informative footnotes and a comprehensive bibliography add notably to its usefulness. Originally based on a PhD thesis, Lichfield and the Lands of St Chad will be of lasting interest to the general reader as well as to the medievalist.”
About the book
“This is a book that deserves to be read by all those interested in the early medieval period, particularly if their interests touch upon the religious culture of the period, although it clearly has a relevance beyond that. It is also a significant addition to the corpus of regional studies in this period. A stimulating book that challenges many familiar notions, in the best traditions of good scholarship, it will undoubtedly prompt continued debate and evaluation of its conclusions. No author could ask for more.” John Hunt, Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions
This book focuses on the period from the seventh to eleventh centuries that witnessed the rise and fall of Mercia, the great Midland kingdom, and, later, the formation of England. Specifically, it explores the relationship between the bishops of Lichfield and the multiple communities of their diocese.
Andrew Sargent tackles the challenge posed by the evidential ‘hole’ at the heart of Mercia by synthesising different kinds of evidence — archaeological, textual, topographical and toponymical — to reconstruct the landscapes inhabited by these communities, which intersected at cathedrals and minsters and other less formal meeting-places.
Most such communities were engaged in the construction of hierarchies, and Sargent assigns spiritual lordship a dominant role in this.
Tracing the interconnections of these communities, he focuses on the development of the Church of Lichfield, an extensive episcopal community situated within a dynamic mesh of institutions and groups within and beyond the diocese, from the royal court to the smallest township.
The regional elite combined spiritual and secular forms of lordship to advance and entrench their mutual interests, and the entanglement of royal and episcopal governance is one of the key focuses of Andrew Sargent's outstanding new research.
ISBN: 978-1-912260-25-6 Format: Paperback, 296pp Published: Jul 2020
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