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The concept of territory in the late Anglo-Saxon and early Medieval cult of Saints in England

The concept of territory in the late Anglo-Saxon and early Medieval cult of Saints in England

By Carwyn Hywel Morris

M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham (2010)

Abstract: The Cult of Saints, the practice of venerating holy figures and their relics, and the events that surround such worship, was widespread in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval England. It was a cultural phenomenon that engaged all sections of society, and saints enjoyed high levels of popularity through their cults. Not all instances were the same, and cults differed in size and construction. The distances over which cults could command attention varied, as did the social groupings that they catered for.

This work constitutes a discussion of the socio-geographic coverage of such relic cults in this period. Particular attention is paid to methodology and the value of specific types of evidence, including resting-place lists, hagiographical material and church dedications. Historians’ approaches to the subject are analysed, with special regard to previous attempts at describing areas of influence. The concept of ‘territory’ is introduced and defined, and proposed as a standard terminology which can be applied to all cults. Conclusions are drawn about the worth of the model and how it deals with such aspects such as cult expansion and development.

Click here to read this thesis from the University of Birmingham

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