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Ellen Gallimore (University of York): A Witenagemot at Streoneshalh: The Secularisation of Ecclesiastical Authority in Kemble’s The Saxons in England (1849)


This paper will analyse the use of the Old English term witenagemot by philologist and historian John Mitchell Kemble when describing the Synod of Whitby of 664. By 1849 the Synod of Whitby was a well-known church council, having previously been depicted by other historians as a key instance of papal influence on the development of the Church in England. It is thus significant that Kemble should choose to depict the event as a witenagemot, a secular assembly of the king’s council. This paper will argue that Kemble’s portrayal of the Synod of Whitby downplays ecclesiastical authority in lieu of the secular governmental institution in response to the changing religious and political landscape of contemporary Britain.

Isabel Smith (Royal Holloway, University of London): Dives and Pauper, A Preacher's Aid: Text and Paratext in British Library, Harley MS 14


The scribes of the copy of Dives and Pauper in London, British Library MS Harley 149 are described in Priscilla Barnum’s 1976 edition of the text as showing ‘carelessness’ and ‘misunderstanding of the original’. This paper reconsiders the aims of the scribes of Harley 149, arguing that their idiosyncratic copying of Dives and Pauper reflects their interest in adapting the text for use as a preaching aid. Their revision of the paratextual apparatus and variations to the textual body (including a new reference to Bridget of Sweden) consistently demonstrate a preoccupation with clerical concerns and a desire to use the dialogue to provide sermon material. This paper will consider how these practices reveal the scribes’ affective concern for their pastoral responsibilities and for the souls under their care.

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