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The Anglo-Saxon See and Cathedral of Dorchester-on-Thames: the Evidence Reconsidered

The Anglo-Saxon See and Cathedral of Dorchester-on-Thames: the Evidence Reconsidered

Doggett, Nicholas

Oxoniensia,Vol. 51 (1986)

Abstract

Situated on the northern frontier of the West Saxon kingdom, Dorchester was given in 635 to the missionary saint, Birinus, as the site of his cathedral and see. It is suggested that the choice was partly dictated by political motives, but a discussion of the course of the Roman defences and their relationship to the latter abbey church, under which the cathedral is thought to lie, raises the possibility that the cathedral may have originated as a ‘capella memoriae’ on the site of a Roman cemetery. The final part of the paper is concerned with the evidence for work of the late Anglo-Saxon or immediately post-Conquest period surviving in the present church, and with that question of Dorchester’s three former parish churches.

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