Welcome to the discussion forum of Ða Engliscan Gesiðas for all matters relating to the history, language and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. I hope it will provide a useful source of information, stimulate research, and be of real help. Ða Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) maintains a strictly neutral line on all modern and current political and religious matters and it does not follow any particular interpretation of history. Transgression of this Rule will not be tolerated. Any posts which are perceived as breaking this Rule will be deleted with immediate effect without explanation.

Recent Posts

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Completely agree with you. Heaven knows what administrative hoops one would have to through to get such a course off the ground. I'm sure the staff leading the ASNOC degree at Cambridge could give advice and support. 'If you will it, it is no dream' (Theodore Herzl).
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Lobbying to get pre-conquest history taught in schools and taught better in schools would be good.


I was having a look at the most popular topics in the history of the Gegaderung and came across this from a decade ago. I thought I'd revive it because I'm keen to know what people think the status of Old English is today, ten years on from when this was first discussed. Has anything changed for the better or for the worse? Have shows like Vikings and The Last Kingdom elevated the status of OE and/or pre-Conquest English history in the public imagination?


I quoted Horsa's post because for me, the curriculum in secondary schools in England is what has to change if OE is to gain in popularity. I work in secondary education and the National Curriculum stipulates that Key Stage 3 pupils (11-14 year olds) are to be taught British history from 1066-present day. Now, it does dictate that an aspect of pre-1066 history should be taught at some point, as well as incorporating world history, but essentially KS3 curriculums usually take a chronological approach, teaching 11 year olds 1066 and by the time they're 14 they'll be on to the Cold War. At GCSE level (14-16 year olds), Norman Conquest modules are among the most popular (see charts: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jul/13/black-british-history-school-curriculum-england). However, these modules tend to set the scene of pre-Conquest England, before swiftly moving on to the Battle of Hastings and events thereafter.


There is thus a huge gap in the English school curriculum. Pre-1066 history is usually taught at primary school, including Anglo-Saxon England, Egyptians, Romans etc. Whilst this chronological approach makes sense in some regards, it essentially consigns pre-1066 history as "kiddie" history, whereas serious learning begins with the Normans.


Furthermore, and most crucially in my opinion, Anglo-Saxon England suffers most out of this neglect. Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman history find their home in the Classics/Latin curriculum. Now, whilst this subject isn't universally taught, it is ubiquitous enough that a student may have a decent chance as having this as an option when they enter secondary school. So Classics takes (British) history up to around AD400, and History begins from 1066 onwards. A c.600 year chunk of English history, including the re-Christianisation of England, Beowulf, Alfred's reign, Athelstan's forging of "England", Cnut's successful invasion, the foundation of our language etc., is completely passed over. I think there is one GCSE module (OCR?) that looks at Scandinavian/Viking history during this period, and that's your lot for AD400-1066.


It can of course be argued that many other aspects of British and world history have been passed over - but to me this is the most glaring and baffling. Is it a consequence of the Norman Yoke?


I have a career dream of creating an Old English GCSE/A-Level course, which (like Latin is) teaches the language through the history, literature and events of the time period. This would be one way to start plugging that enormous cavern between where Classics ends and History in this country begins in secondary education.
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News & Events / Saxon and Viking festival, Stonham Barns (Suffolk), Oct 29
« Last post by Norman Yoke on July 01, 2022, 12:21:49 PM »

My wife and I spotted this and as East Anglian dwellers are very keen to go. Is anyone else planning on attending this in the autumn? Has anyone been before?

https://www.stonhambarns.co.uk/whats-on/saxon-viking-festival-2022/
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General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Norman Yoke on June 30, 2022, 12:45:37 PM »
I then cantered through Eleanor Parker's "Conquereed: the last children of Anglo-Saxon England" which was slimmer and an excellent read. She covered the Godwin children, Waltheof, Hereward and Exile's son and elder daughter. Fascinating stuff.


Just started this! Really excited, especially to find out more about Margaret.
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General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Phyllis on June 29, 2022, 02:35:12 PM »
I just finished Martin Carver's "Formative Britain" which was a long read. I think the main things I have learned are (1) I can;t cope with such heavy books easily and (2) actually all that detail about archaeology leaves me a bit cold. Once I realised I could skim the detail on sites and read the intros and outros, it went much easier. Now I know where to go and look when i do want the detail! It is a magnificent book though and I'm very glad to have it.

I then cantered through Eleanor Parker's "Conquereed: the last children of Anglo-Saxon England" which was slimmer and an excellent read. She covered the Godwin children, Waltheof, Hereward and Exile's son and elder daughter. Fascinating stuff.

I am now taking a brief respite in the final volume of a fantasy trilogy which wil be of limited interest to most of you; my next on-topic read is probably going to be Alaric Hall's "Elves in the Anglo-Saxon World"

Otherwise I am also getting up close and personal with Beowulf, working on translating it with some friends. A joyful exercise and giedscipe!

So many books, so little time...
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General Discussion / Re: Do we have descendents in Ukraine?
« Last post by Phyllis on June 29, 2022, 02:26:10 PM »
Eleanor Parker covers the Crimean settlement as well in her new book on teh post COnwuest generation. It's a fascinating story!

"Conquered: the last children of Anglo-Saxon England"

She did a talk at the York Festival of Ideas recently wich I hope will be on their YouTube channnel shortly.
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General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Bowerthane on June 28, 2022, 01:41:29 AM »
Whoops, yes! Of course I'm reading Withowinde and it's so good I just have to get back to it.  Well done and thanks to all concerned.






( Legs it back...)


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General Discussion / Re: Do we have descendents in Ukraine?
« Last post by Eanflaed on June 27, 2022, 08:06:56 PM »
We certainly did - before and after 1066! And we think we live in an age of travel!
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General Discussion / Do we have descendents in Ukraine?
« Last post by Jayson on June 27, 2022, 05:22:33 PM »
In his latest Gerefan Leaf, Geoffrey writes that 'While Ukraine may seem far away, we Anglo-Saxonists have a strong connection with that part of Europe' and quotes from 'The Anglo-Saxons: The Verdict of History' by Paul Hill that, in escaping from the brutalities of the Normans, they even got as far as The Crimea, the southern peninsula of Ukraine.  Something else I didn't know before, so I've just bought the book to read more.


We certainly got around, didn't we?
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General Discussion / Re: Emma of Normandy talk - Wednesday June 15th
« Last post by Jayson on June 27, 2022, 05:04:09 PM »
---thanks, that was a very interesting talk.  I knew very little about Emma, just that she was the great-aunt of The Bastard of Normandy and that she was the second wife of Edward, but I shall now hunt for more information.


And I do look forward to more Zoom talks about our subject
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