Church rituals were a familiar feature of life throughout much of the Anglo-Saxon period. In this innovative study, Helen Gittos examines ceremonies for the consecration of churches and cemeteries, processional feasts like Candlemas, Palm Sunday, and Rogationtide, as well as personal rituals such as baptisms and funerals. Drawing on little-known surviving liturgical sources as well as other written evidence, archaeology, and architecture, she considers the
architectural context in which such rites were performed.
The research in this book has implications for a wide range of topics, such as: how liturgy was written and disseminated in the early Middle Ages, when Christian cemeteries first began to be consecrated, how the form of Anglo-Saxon monasteries changed over time and how they were used, the centrality and nature of processions in early medieval religious life, the evidence church buildings reveal about changes in how they functioned, beliefs about relics, and the attitudes of different
archbishops to the liturgy. Liturgy, Architecture, and Sacred Places in Anglo-Saxon England will be of particular interest to architectural specialists wanting to know more about liturgy, and church historians keen to learn more about architecture, as well as those with a more general interest in the early
Middle Ages and in church buildings.
a deeply thoughtful and important volume that brings together divergent and disparate sources, and combines them into a persuasive and well-argued whole it is certainly a masterful introduction to the subject, adding an important new perspective to the Anglo-Saxon sacred place. It is of great value to historians and archaeologists alike. Ian Riddler, The Archaeological Journal excellent and timely ... a learned book, with gratifyingly wide references ... beautifully written by someone with a gift for communication. This is a book we have needed for years. David Stocker, Landscape History a serious attempt to establish an understandinig of how sacred places were used and experienced ... a welcome addition to our understanding of many aspects of the relationship between buildings and the celebration of the worship of God. Graham Duncan, Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae a wide-ranging work of considerable erudition, examining the architectural context of a variety of religious rites: consecration of churches and cemeteries; processions; relics and shrines. Northern History this exciting research sheds new light on the Anglo-Saxon Church and offers a new way of understanding church buildings and liturgy more generally. Revd Dr William Whyte, Church Times Gittos's success in achieving her primary aim of explaining how Anglo-Saxon churches were used and experienced. She has produced an authoritative and convincing exploration of the liturgical uses of Anglo-Saxon architecture, and of the architectural awareness of early medieval liturgists. Future studies of the other, less concrete, aspects of worship and belief in pre-Conquest England will be indebted to this book for so fully reconstructing the physical setting that framed and shaped them. Richard Sowerby, Early Medieval Europe Gittos raises important questions about religious practices and the evidence for them Helen Foxhall Forbes, Current Archaeology