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Lindy Brady

2 •• Penda of Mercia and the Welsh borderlands in Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Bede’s eighth-century Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, one of the earliest and most historically significant surviving texts of the Anglo-Saxon period, narrates the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and the nascent formation of what might be called an ‘English’ identity. The Historia Ecclesiastica has long been interpreted as a narrative of Anglo/ British strife, because Bede is so critical of the Britons, who are in his perspective heretical. Yet because of Bede

in Writing the Welsh borderlands in Anglo-Saxon England
Series: Artes Liberales
Author: Lindy Brady

The Welsh borderlands were a distinctive territory where two peoples came together throughout the Anglo-Saxon period. It was here that men skilled at law drew up the Dunsate Agreement, to solve the impending problems with cattle theft. This book explores what sets the Dunsate Agreement apart from other Anglo-Saxon law codes grappling with cattle theft, highlighting that creators of this document, and the community that it concerns, included both Anglo-Saxons and Welsh. It argues that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle represents the military culture of the Welsh borderlands in a distinctive way which aligns its inhabitants with outlaws. The book articulates a discernible culture in the Welsh borderlands prior to 1066. Bede's The Historia Ecclesiastica has long been interpreted as a narrative of Anglo/British strife. His rancour towards the pagan Mercians provides substantial information about the life of Penda of Mercia, whose entire reign over this borderlands kingdom was defined by consistent political and military unity with Welsh rulers. Expanding on the mixed culture, the book examines the various Latin and Old English Lives of the popular Anglo-Saxon saint, Guthlac of Crowland. Vernacular literary tradition reveals a group of Old English riddles that link the 'dark Welsh' to agricultural labour through the cattle they herd, and who have long been understood to show the Welsh as slaves. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is frequently cited as a paradigm of Anglo/Welsh antagonism. The book reveals that the impact of the Norman Conquest on the Anglo-Welsh border region was much greater than previously realised.

Ellora Bennett

case, the pagan Æthelfrith was able to kill Christians because his kingship was essential to Bede's overall narrative. Once Christianity had been largely established in early medieval England, it was an essential characteristic of the ingroup and superseded the notion of a common ‘Germanic’ background. 60 The treatment of the pagan Penda of Mercia, and the Mercians more generally, is a case in point. Penda and the Mercian enemy The exact date Penda came to

in Early medieval militarisation
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The Dunsoete Agreement and daily life in the Welsh borderlands
Lindy Brady

the seventh century, shared between the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys, a cohesion formed in opposition to cultural changes brought about by the conversion of surrounding AngloSaxon kingdoms to Roman Christianity. Bede has long been understood as highly critical of both the heretical Britons and the heathen Mercians, but in his hostility he preserves important details about the life of King Penda of Mercia which provide a window into the culture of the borderlands as a region that stands apart from Bede’s narrative of

in Writing the Welsh borderlands in Anglo-Saxon England
The case of Blood on Satan’s Claw
Paul Newland

Rudkin and directed by Alan Clarke for the BBC’s Play for Today series. Set in the Malvern Hills, Penda’s Fen also evokes a tension between the past and present in one rural location. It sees a teenager, Stephen (Spenser Banks), unleash the spirit of the buried seventh-​century warrior king Penda of Mercia when he plays Elgar’s ‘visionary chord’ from The Dream of Gerontius.49 1970s rural horror(s) Other films arguably fall within the category of 1970s ‘folk horror’ (or at least exist on its thematic periphery) and were shot on location. As such, they are able to focus

in British rural landscapes on film
Abstract only
The countryside and modernity
Paul Newland

. This, then, is 1970s Britain; a nation poised on the cusp of modernity, but also unable to forget past traditions; a nation in which the past is ever present, even if it is not always visible in the new developments springing up across the countryside. As such, Rob Young notes that Requiem for a Village, like Akenfield, shares some of the concerns of Penda’s Fen (Alan Clarke, 1974), a BBC television Play for Today – written by David Rudkin – which features a figure from the past in the shape of the pagan king Penda of Mercia, ‘bursting out of the earth to bring

in British films of the 1970s