Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Historic Jarrow Monastery and Its Unknown Links to the Continent

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Historic Jarrow Monastery and Its Unknown Links to the Continent

Article excerpt

SCULPTURES discovered near the port city of Caen in Normandy, northern France, have been linked to artefacts excavated at the twin monastery of Jarrow-Wearmouth in Northumbria.

Highly respected Durham University academic, Dame Professor Rosemary Cramp's celebrated excavation at the Tyneside monastery was key to establishing Jarrow Hall, the world's only Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum.

Now, the world authority on Anglo-Saxon history is set to travel to Caen this month to help verify the similarities of the sculptures and to also to visit a lecture on the early monasteries of northern France.

She said: "Carvings recently discovered outside of Caen in Normandy have similarities in style and design to some of the artefacts, such as the sculpted balusters, found at the site of the Jarrow and Wearmouth monasteries during our excavation work in the 1950s and 60s.

"We've always thought that some of the carvings found in Jarrow and Wearmouth originally came from somewhere in France, so this find may help us pinpoint their origin and help shape our ideas of the period, providing further insight into the 7th and 8th centuries.

"It is part of the continuing fascination with the Venerable Bede, who is a towering historical figure, that his works are still studied and attract great interest internationally, across Europe and America.

"We are very fortunate to have one of the world's most complete examples of 7th and 8th century monastic buildings, with its stone architecture and double halls it gives wonderful insight into the daily life of the monks during that period.

"We believe the founder of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory St Benedict Biscop (c628-690) imported specialised stone masons to build Monkwearmouth church and to teach the Anglo-Saxon monks how to build Jarrow. Although these loose sculptures have been found in northern France, no early buildings have yet been excavated on these sites. …

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