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Churches & High Crosses: The Art of Stone in Anglo-Saxon England - HOA00005M

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jane Hawkes
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

The stone churches and carved monuments of Anglo-Saxon England are perhaps the most perceptible, widespread, and easily accessible works of art from this period of English culture. In the churches, often enveloped in later modifications, it is possible to disentangle the former early structures, and to identify the sources of architectural ideas that often lie in structures as far afield as Rome and Jerusalem . Together with the carved monuments (such as those at Ruthwell in Dumfriesshire and Masham in North Yorkshire), produced during the 8th and 9th centuries, they reflect the institutional concerns of their patrons, while at the same time raising questions concerning their perceived audiences. The later, Viking-age, sculptures, on the other hand, betray a complex interaction of Christian narrative with Scandinavian military taste and heroic mythology. This module will focus on these structures as a means of exploring the arts of the stone builders and carvers of this early medieval period, and the complexities surrounding the production, decoration, and the roles of the patrons and audiences of these most public of early medieval arts.

Module learning outcomes

  • a familiarity with the many ways in which stone was employed in the period.
  • an understanding of some of the issues involved in the cultural transmission of the visual languages displayed in architecture and stone carving of the region.
  • a knowledge of some of the major monuments of the period and their historical context.
  • an understanding of some of the complexities of imagery and meaning in Anglo-Saxon sculpture.
  • an awareness of the various scholarly approaches to the material and the factors informing them.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • Bede, A History of the English Church and People (Penguin Classics / any edition)
  • H.Mayr-Harting, The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (London, 1987)
  • J.Campbell (ed.), The Anglo-Saxons (London, 1982/1991)
  • J.Hawkes, The Golden Age of Northumbria (Newcastle upon Tyne, 1996)
  • D.M.Wilson, Anglo-Saxon Art from the Seventh Century (London, 1984)
  • L.Webster & J.Backhouse (eds), The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon art and culture AD 600-900 (London, 1991)
  • R.N. Bailey, Englands Earliest Sculptors (Toronto, 1996)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.