Exploring the beliefs of English people during the fifth to ninth centuries


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Further reading

For non-academic readers who want to delve more deeply then several books provide much more detailed overviews – and also leave a dense trail of bibliographical references to the more arcane learned literature. Essential reading includes Ken Dowden on European paganism; Richard Fletcher on the conversion of Europe; James Russell's The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity; Barbara Yorke on the conversion of Britain; and the collection of papers edited by Martin Carver and colleagues, published as Signals of Belief..

If you want to get deeper into how worldviews are largely unrecognised from within in a culture then there is to my knowledge only one overview. And the absence of any previous such works led me to write The Myths of Reality, published under the pseudonym Simon Danser. The examples are almost all drawn from recent times but the opening chapters should stimulate further consideration of how easy it is to inadvertently project modern distinctions and assumptions onto earlier eras. Some chapters from The Myths of Reality are included in the Foamy Custard website (www.indigogroup.co.uk/foamycustard/index.htm).



Aitchison, Nicholas, 1994, Armagh and the Royal Centres in Early Medieval Ireland, Cruithne.

Aldhouse-Green, Miranda, 1997, 'Images in opposition', Antiquity, Vol. 71, p810–30.

Alves, Lara Bacelar, 2012, 'Circular images and sinuous paths: engaging with the biography of rock art research in the Atlantic facade of north-west Iberia', in A.M. Jones, J. Pollard, M.J. Allen & J. Gardiner (eds), 2012, Image, Memory and Monumentality: Archaeological engagements with the material world, Oxbow Books/Prehistoric Society Research Paper 5.

Bagge, S. and S.W. Nordeide, 2007, 'The kingdom of Norway', in Nora Berend (ed), Christianisation and the Rise of Christian Monarchy, Cambridge UP.

Basso, Keith H., 1996, 'Wisdom sits in places: notes on a western Apache landscape. In Senses of Place, edited by Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso, School of American Research Press.

Berend, Nora (ed), 2007, Christianisation and the Rise of Christian Monarchy, Cambridge UP.

Bieler, L. (ed), 1979, The Patrician Texts in the Book of Armagh, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Billingsley, John, 2013, 'Onigawara – facing off demons', Northern Earth, No. 135, p17–19.

Bradley, Ian, 1999, Celtic Christianity: Making myths and chasing dreams, Edinburgh University Press.

Bradley, S.A.J., 1995, Anglo-Saxon Poetry, Everyman.

Branston, Brian, 1958, The Lost Gods of England, Thames and Hudson.

Bray, Daniel, 1997, 'Sacral Elements of Irish Kingship', in Carole M. Cusack and Peter Oldmeadow (eds.), This Immense Panorama: Studies in Honour of Eric John Sharpe, School of Studies in Religion University of Sydney; online at core.ac.uk/download/pdf/229403692.pdf; reprinted in Richard Coates and Andrew Breeze (eds), 2000, Celtic Voices, English Places: Studies of the Celtic Impact on Place-names in England,Shaun Tyas.

Breeze, Andrew, 1998, 'Countisbury',Nomina, 21, 159–6.

Brown, Peter, 2003, The Rise of Western Christendom, Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200–1000, Blackwell.

Callahan, Kevin L., 1995, 'Rock art and lilliputian hallucinations', online at www.rupestre.net/tracce/tracce2b.html#lil

Carroll, Jayne and David N. Parsons (eds), 2013, Perceptions of Place, English Place-Name Society.

Carroll, Lewis, 1872, Through the Looking-Glass.

Carver, Martin, 2009, 'Early Scottish monasteries and prehistory: a preliminary dialogue', Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 88:2, p332–51.

Carver, Martin, 2012, 'Intellectual communities in early Northumbria', in D. Petts and S. Turner (eds), Early Medieval Northumbria: Kingdom and communitiesAD 450–1100, Brepols.

Carver, Martin, Alex Sanmark and Sarah Semple (eds), 2010, Signals of Belief in Early England: Anglo-Saxon paganism revisited, Oxbow.

Chadwick, Nora (ed), 1958, Studies in the Early British Church, Cambridge University Press.

Chadwick, Nora, 1961, The Age of Saints in the Celtic Church, Oxford University Press.

Chandola, Sudha, 2007, Entranced by the Goddess: Folklore in north Indian religion, Heart of Albion.

Clark, Stuart, 1997, Thinking with Demons: The idea of witchcraft in early modern Europe, Clarendon.

Clark, Stuart, and Bengt Ankarloo (eds), 2002, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The period of the witch trials, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome, 1999, Of Giants: Sex, monsters and the Middle Ages, University of Minneapolis Press.

Cole, Susan Guettel, 2004, Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space: The Ancient Greek Experience, University of California Press.

Cox, Barrie, 2014, The Place-names of Leicestershire: Part Six Sparkenhoe Hundred, English Place-Name Society.

Danser, Simon, 2005, The Myths of Reality, Alternative Albion.

Daubney, Adam, 2010, 'The cult of Totatis: evidence for tribal identity in mid Roman Britain', in S. Worrell (ed), A Decade of Discovery: Proceedings of the Portable Antiquities Scheme Conference 2007, BAR British Series No. 520.

DeCaroli, Robert, 2004, Haunting the Buddha: Indian popular religions and the formulation of Buddhism, Oxford University Press.

Dodds, Eric R, 1951, The Greeks and the Irrational , University of California Press.

Dowden, Ken, 2000, European Paganism: The realities of cult from antiquity to the Middle Ages, Routledge.

Draper, Simon, 2006, Landscape, settlement and society in Roman and early Medieval Wiltshire, (BAR British series 419), Archaeopress.

Driscoll, Stephen, 2004, 'The archaeological context of assembly in early modern Scotland: Scone and comparanda', in Aliki Pantos and Sarah Semple (eds), Assembly Places and Practices in Medieval Europe, Four Courts Press.

DuBois, T.A., 1999, Nordic Religions in the Viking Age, University of Pennsylvania Press.

DuBois, T.A., 2009, An Introduction to Shamanism, Cambridge University Press.

Dukes, Eugene D., 1996, Magic and Witchcraft in the Dark Ages, University Press of America.

Earle, Joe (ed), 2009, Serizawa: Master of Japanese textile design, Yale University Press.

Edwards, Nancy and Alan Lane, 1992, 'The archaeology of the early church in Wales: an introduction', in N. Edwards and A. Lane (eds), The Early Church of Wales and the West, Oxbow Monograph 16.

Eliade, Mircea, 1964, Shamanism: Archaic techniques of ecstasy, RKP; first published as Le Chamanisme et les techniques archaïques de l'extase, 1951

Ewing, Thor, 2008, Gods and Worshippers in the Viking and Germanic World, The History Press.

Fell, Christine, 1984, Women in Anglo-Saxon England, Blackwell.

Fletcher, Richard, 1997, The Conversion of Europe: From paganism to Christianity 371–1386 AD, HarperCollins; second edition Fontana 1998.

Gelling, Margaret and Ann Cole, 2000, The Landscape of Place-names, Shaun Tyas.

Ginzburg, Carlo, 1991, Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath, Random House; translation of Storia notturna published Turin 1989.

Graham, Lloyd, 2010, 'Echoes of antiquity in the early Irish "Song of Amergin"'; online at www.authorsden.com/categories/article_top.asp?catid=54&id=53506

Greimas, Algirdas Julien, 1992, Of Gods and Men: Studies in Lithuanian Mythology, Indiana University Press.

Griffiths, Bill, 1996, Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic, Anglo-Saxon Books.

Håland, Evy Johanne, 2012, 'When the dead ensure the food: death and the regeneration of life through the festivals, food and social gathering during the ritual year in modern and ancient Greece', in Cosmos Vol. 28.

Hall, Alaric, 2005, 'The Meanings of Elf, and Elves, in Medieval England' (PhD thesis); online at www.alarichall.org.uk/phd.php

Hall, Alaric, 2007, Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of belief, health, gender and identity, Boydell and Brewer.

Harvey, Graham, 1997, Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary paganism, Hurst.

Harvey, Graham, 2005, Animism: Respecting the Living World, Hurst.

Harvey, Graham, 2013, Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding religion as everyday life, Acumen

Higham, Nick, 1994, The English Conquest: Gildas and Britain in the Fifth Century Manchester University Press.

Higham, Nick, 1995, An English Empire: Bede and the early Anglo-Saxon kings Manchester University Press.

Higley, Sarah, 2003, 'The wanton hand: reading and reaching into grammars and bodies in Old English riddle 12', in B.C. Withers and J. Wilcox (eds), Naked Before God: Uncovering the body in Anglo-Saxon England, West Virginia University Press.

Hooke, Della, 1985, The Anglo-Saxon Landscape: the kingdom of the Hwicce Manchester University Press.

Hough, Carole, 2012, 'Ælfric of Eynsham, Pucklechurch, and evidence for fallow deer in Anglo-Saxon England', Nomina, Vol.35, p103–30.

Hufford, David J., 1982, The Terror that Comes in the Night: An experience-centered study of supernatural assault traditions, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Hufford, David J., 1995, 'Beings without bodies: an experince-centered theory of the belief in spirits', in Barbara Walker (ed), Out of the Ordinary: Folklore and the supernatural, Utah State University Press.

Hutton, Ronald, 2001, Shamans: Siberian spirituality and the Western imagination, Hambledon.

Hutton, Ronald, 2007, The Druids, Hambledon Continuum.

Hutton, Ronald, 2009, Blood and Mistletoe: The history of the Druids in Britain, Yale University Press.

Hutton, Ronald, 2011, review of Clive Tolley's Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic in Time and Mind, Vol.4 No.2 p225–6

Hutton, Ronald, 2013, Pagan Britain, Yale University Press.

Jayne, Caroline Furness, 1905, String Figures and How to Make Them: A study of cat's cradle in many lands; two versions available online archive.org/details/cu31924029861469 and www.stringfigures.info/cfj/

Jolly, Karen Louise, 1996, Popular Religion in Late Saxon England, University of North Carolina Press.

Jones, Simon, 1999, The Atlantic Celts: Ancient people or modern invention?, British Museum.

Jordan, P D 2001 'Cultural landscapes in colonial Siberia: Khanty settlements of the sacred, the living and the dead', Landscapes Vol.2:2, 83–105.

Kaliff, Anders, 2007, Fire, Water, Heaven and Earth: Ritual practice and cosmology in ancient Scandinavia: an Indo-European perspective, Riksantikvarieämbetet.

Kilby, Susan E., forthcoming, Encountering the Environment: Rural communities in England, 1086–1348, PhD thesis, Centre for English Local History, University of Leicester.

Koppana, Kati, 2003, Snake Fat and Knotted Threads: An introduction to traditional Finnish healing magic (2nd edn), Heart of Albion.

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson, 1999, Philosophy in the Flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought, Basic Books.

Lecouteux, Charles, 2013, The Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral lore and practices, Inner Traditions.

Leland, Charles, 1891, Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling, Fisher Unwin.

Leland, Charles, 1892, Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition, Scribner/Unwin.

Lewis, Mark, 2013, Days and Rites: Popular customs of the Church, Heart of Albion.

Lynch, John, 2012, New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America, Yake University Press.

Maunder, Chris (ed)¸ 2008, Origins of the Cult of the Virgin Mary, Burns and Oates.

Meaney, Audrey L., 1981, Anglo-Saxon Amulets and Curing Stones, BAR British series 96.

Minehan, Rita, 1999. Rekindling the Flame: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Brigid of Kildare, Solas Bhride.

Meaney, Audrey L., 1981, Anglo-Saxon Amulets and Curing Stones, BAR British series 96.

Morris, Brian, 2006, Religion and Anthropology: A critical introduction, Cambridge UP.

North, Richard, 1997, Heathen Gods in Old English Literature, Cambridge University Press.

Nurminen, Terhi, 2011, 'Testing the Gelling hypothesis: Old English hill-terms in the place-names of Northumberland and County Durham', Nomina Vol.34, p51–90.

O'Brien, Elizabeth, 1992, 'Pagan and Christian burial in Ireland during the first millennium AD: continuity and change', in N. Edwards and A. Lane (eds), The Early Church of Wales and the West, Oxbow Monograph 16.)

Oppenheimer, S, 2006, The Origins of the British, Robinson.

O'Suillivan, Muiris, 2011, 'Megalithic tombs and storied landscapes in Neolithic Ireland', in M. Furholt, F. Lüth and J. Müller, Megaliths and Identities: Early monuments and Neolithic societies from the Atlantic to the Baltic, Rudolf Habelt.

Page, R.I., 1995, Runes and Runic Inscriptions: Collected essays on Anglo-Saxon and Viking runes, Boydell.

Page, R.I., 1999, An Introduction to English Runes (2nd edn.), Boydell.

Parsons, David N., 2013, 'Churls and athelings, kings and reeves: some reflections on place-names and early English society', in J. Carroll and D.N. Parsons (eds), Perceptions of Place, English Place-name Society.

Pearce, Susan M. (ed), 1982, The Early Church in Western Britain and Ireland, BAR British Series 102.

Petts, David, 2011, Pagan and Christian: Religious change in early medieval Europe, Bristol Classical Press.

Phillips, Julia, 1998, 'Encounters with the little people', The Cauldron, No.87 p21–22.

Phythian-Adams, Charles, 1980, 'The emergence of Rutland and the making of the realm', Rutland Record, 1, 5–12.

Pollington, Stephen, 2000, Leechcraft: Early English charms, plant-lore and healing, Anglo-Saxon Books.

Pollington, Stephen, 2011, The Elder Gods: The Otherworld of early England, Anglo-Saxon Books.

Pollington, Stephen, Lindsay Kerr and Brett Hammond, 2010, Wayland's Work: Anglo-Saxon art, myth and material culture 4th–7th century, Anglo-Saxon Books.

Price, Neil S., 2002, The Viking Way: Religion and war in Late Iron Age Scandinavia, Uppsala University Press.

Raw, Barbara, 1978, The Art and Background of Old English Poetry, Edward Arnold.

Reith, Sara, 2008, 'Through the "eye of the skull": memory and tradition in a Travelling landscape', Cultural Analysis, Vol. 7; online at socrates.berkeley.edu/~caforum/volume7/pdf/reith.pdf

Reynolds, A., 2004, 'From pagus to parish: territory and settlement in the Avebury region from the late Roman period to the Domesday survey', in G. Brown, D. Field and D. McOrmish (eds), The Avebury Landscape: Aspects of the field archaeology of the Marlborough Downs, Oxbow.

Robertson, Stanley, 1988, Exodus to Alford, Balnain Books.

Robertson, Stanley, 2009, Reek Roon a Camp Fire, Birlinn..

Russell, James C., 1994, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity, Oxford University Press.

Sawyer, Peter, 1962, The Age of the Vikings, Arnold.

Semple, Sarah, 1998, 'A fear of the past: the place of the prehistoric burial mound in the ideology of middle and later Anglo-Saxon England', World Archaeology, Vol. 30:1, 109–126.

Semple, Sarah, 2007, 'Defining the OE hearg: a preliminary archaeological and topographic examination of hearg place names and their hinterlands', Early Medieval Europe Vol. 15:4, 364–85.

Semple, Sarah, 2010, 'In the open air', in Carver, M., A. Sanmark and S. Semple (eds), Signals of Belief in Early England: Anglo-Saxon paganism revisited, Oxbow.

Semple, Sarah, 2013, Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford UP.

Shaw, P., 2011, Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World, Duckworth.

Sidebottom, Philip C., 1999, 'Stone Crosses in the Peak and the sons of Eadwulf', in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 119, 206–19.

Sidky, H., 2010, 'Ethnographic perspectives on differentiating shamans from other ritual intercessors', Asian Ethnology, Vol. 69:2, 213–240; online at https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/857

Simpson, Jacqueline, 2011, 'On the ambiguity of elves', Folklore, Vol. 122:1, 76–83.

Skemer, Don C., 2006, Binding Words: Textual amulets in the Middle Ages, Pennsylvania State University Press.

Smith, Gavin, 1995, Surrey Place-names, Heart of Albion.

Stone, Alby, 1989, Wyrd: Fate and destiny in north European paganism, published by author.

Stone, Alby, 1996, 'The perilous bridge', At the Edge No.1; online at www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/pbridge.htm

Stone, Alby, 2003, Explore Shamanism, Explore Books.

Sugg, Richard, 2011, Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The history of corpse medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians, Routledge.

Sutphen, Richard, circa 1995, The Battle for your Mind: Persuasion and brainwashing techniques being used on the public today; online at www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Secrets/TR/sutphen.html

Thacker, A., and R. Sharpe (eds), 2002, Local Saints and Local Churches in the Early Medieval West, Oxford University Press.

Thomas, Keith, 1971, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Weidenfeld and Nicolson; reprinted Penguin 1991.

Thompson, Victoria, 2004, Dying and Death in Later Anglo-Saxon England, Boydell Press.

Thompson, Tok, 2004, 'The Irish Sí Tradition: Connections Between the Disciplines, and What's in a Word?', Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol. 11:4., p335–68

Tolley, Clive, 2009, Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic (2 Vols), Academia Scientaum Fennica (Helsinki).

Tomkins, Stephen, 2013, David Livingstone: The Unexplored Story, Lion Books.

Townend, Matthew, 2013, 'Scandinavian place-names in England', in J. Carroll and D.N. Parsons (eds), Perceptions of Place, English Place-Name Society.

Trubshaw, Bob, 1994, 'Goddess or Queen? The enigmatic carving at Braunston in Rutland', Mercian Mysteries, No.21; online at www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/braunstn.htm

Trubshaw, Bob, 1998, 'Fairies and their kin', At the Edge, No.10; online at www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/fairies.htm

Trubshaw, Bob, 2003, Rutland Village by Village (2nd edn), Heart of Albion.

Trubshaw, Bob, 2005, Sacred Places: Prehistory and popular imagination, Heart of Albion.

Trubshaw, Bob, 2010, 'What is the meaning of this Germanic barbarity?' Leicestershire Historian, No.46, p43–7

Trubshaw, Bob, 2011, Singing Up the Country: The songlines of Avebury and beyond, Heart of Albion.

Trubshaw, Bob, 2012a, The Especially Sacred Grove: Six Hills and Vernemetum, Leicestershire, Heart of Albion; online at www.hoap.co.uk/localhis.htm#sixhills

Trubshaw, Bob, 2012b, The Process of Reality: The curious continuity between early Chinese Taoism and early Greek philosophy, Heart of Albion; online at www.hoap.co.uk/general.htm#tpor

Trubshaw, Bob, 2012c, Creating the Paranormal, Heart of Albion; online at http://www.hoap.co.uk/general.htm#ctp

Trubshaw, Bob, 2013a, Souls, Spirits and Deities (2nd edn), Heart of Albion; online at www.hoap.co.uk/general.htm#ssd

Trubshaw, Bob, 2013b, Continuity of Worldviews in Anglo-Saxon England, Heart of Albion; online at www.hoap.co.uk/general.htm#aswv

Trubshaw, Bob, 2013c, Through the Eye of the Skull: The metaphysical relocation of self in ritual narratives, Heart of Albion; online at www.hoap.co.uk/general.htm#tte

Trubshaw, Bob, forthcoming, Mawming and Mooning: Towards an understanding of medieval carvings and their carvers, Heart of Albion; draft online at www.hoap.co.uk/mawming_and_mooning.pdf

Wake, Eleanor, 2010, Framing the Sacred: The Indian churches of early colonial Mexico, University of Oklahoma Press.

Watkins, Carl, 2004, '"Folklore" and "Popular Religion" in Britain during the Middle Ages', Folklore Vol.115, p140–150

Walsham, Alexandra, 2011, The Reformation of the Landscape, Oxford University Press.

Weir, Anthony, 1993, 'Potency and sin: Ireland and the phallic continuum', Mercian Mysteries, No.15; online at wwww.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/Phallic.htm

Weir , Anthony and James Jerman, 1986, Images of Lust: Sexual Carvings on Medieval Churches, Batsford.

White, Lynn, 1967, 'The life of the silent majority', in Robert S. Hoyt (ed), Life and Thought in the Early Middle Ages, University of Minneapolis Press.

Wilby, Emma, 2005, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, Sussex Academic Press.

Wood, Michael, 1982, In Search Of The Dark Ages, BBC Books.

Yorke, Barbara, 1997, Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England, Routledge; first published B.A. Seaby 1990.

Yorke, Barbara, 2006, Conversion of Britain: 600–800: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain, 600–800, Longman.


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