Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia: From Prehistory to the Present

By Bettley, James | The Catholic Historical Review, April 2013 | Go to article overview

Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia: From Prehistory to the Present


Bettley, James, The Catholic Historical Review


General and Miscellaneous Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia: From Prehistory to the Present. Edited by T. A. Heslop, Elizabeth Meilings, and Margit Thofner. (Rochester, NY: Boydell and Brewer. 2012. Pp. xvi, 352. $80.00. ISBN 978-1-84383-744-2.)

East Anglia is an ill-defined region on the east coast of England, sticking out into the North Sea. Like many places in a similar situation-Cornwall, at the southwest corner of England, springs to mind, as does Brittany, in northwest France-East Anglia has tended to evolve its own culture and to draw its influences from across the water rather than from its inland neighbors. Before the nineteenth century, after all, it was usually easier and quicker to get to places by sea than by land, and East Anglia has always been in the front line when it came to invasions, whether defending the coast from Germanic pirates in the third century, or providing the bases for bombing raids on Germany in the twentieth. Trade across the North Sea was important for England for many centuries and brought with it language, customs, and buildings not always found elsewhere in the country: the use of the Old Norse word gate to mean street, for example, and the abundance of churches with round towers, now generally thought to be following models from northern Europe. Such regions also tend to have their favorite saints. The prevalence of churches dedicated to St. Margaret of Antioch is discussed in this volume, and Ethelbert, Etheldreda, and Edmund are popular locals who achieved sainthood. Paganism, too, is liable to continue in regions far removed from the center long after it has been suppressed elsewhere.

This wide-ranging volume comprises twenty chapters examining the relationship between sacred works of art (mostly but not exclusively Christian) and the location in which they were made or used. …

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