Around 880, King Alfred of Wessex took control of Mercia and merged the two kingdoms into a new polity, the kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons. Although the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says little about the Mercians, the memory of Mercia was, however, never forgotten by contemporaries. It was preserved and expressed in charters and coins. Both of them were the main media of the Anglo-Saxon kingship, which circulated through and beyond one kingdom. The paper attempts to argue the possibility that charters and coins facilitated the formation of England by retaining the Mercian memory and disseminating it to the people.
Historians have carefully examined Bede’s description of the ‘Golden Age’ of English monasticism and shown that he carefully distinguished between monastic and secular religious life in his Ecclesiastical History. This paper argues that later English readers of Bede in the 10th century saw exactly the kind of all-monastic past that scholars like Foot and Cubitt have argued against. The anonymous Old English translation of Bede’s history frequently simplifies or elides the distinctions found in the careful terminology of the original, for instance, while Æthelwold’s brief summary of Bede in his English translation of the Benedictine Rule supported his own creation of monastic cathedrals. The later English memory of Bede’s era therefore contrasts sharply with modern historiography.
Hild was the first abbess of the Streoneshalh (Whitby, North Yorkshire) monastery from 657 until her death in 680. Her place in history was assured after Bede wrote of her in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Her monastery continued to thrive until the second half of the ninth century, when activity ceased. After the Norman Conquest, a Benedictine monastery was founded dedicated to St Peter and St Hilda. This talk traces Hild’s role, her memorialization throughout the Middle Ages, and her continued appeal in the 19th-21st century.