Skip Navigation Links
M. Bintley
Settlements and Strongholds in Early Medieval England
Texts, Landscapes, and Material Culture

Add to basket ->
231 p., 13 b/w ill., 156 x 234 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58384-6
Languages: English, Old English, Latin
The publication is available.The publication is available.
Retail price: EUR 80,00 excl. tax
How to order?
Online content:

The first interdisciplinary study of settlements and strongholds in early medieval England through their representation in literary and material culture.

In recent years numerous advances in archaeological and historical studies have enhanced our understanding of the form and function of settlements and strongholds in the landscapes of early medieval England. Until now, this groundbreaking work has not been matched in studies of early English literature, where no concerted effort has been made to investigate how these findings can inform our understanding of their representation in texts – and vice versa.

This study shows that literary works offer considerable insight into the ways their authors, readers, and other audiences thought and felt about the constructed places and spaces in which they lived their lives. Covering a broad range of evidence from the end of Roman rule to the Conquest, it is the first study of its kind to offer an interdisciplinary account of the relationship between the built environment as it appears in the material record, and in a range of textual productions.

Settlements and Strongholds

interrogates correlations and disjunctions between the stories found in the soil and in written works of various kinds, focusing on vernacular texts and Latin works that informed their development. It argues for a deeper appreciation of the relationship between imaginative works and the material contexts in which they were created, revealing the parallel development of ideas and concepts that were fundamental in shaping early medieval England.

Michael Bintley is Lecturer in Early Medieval Literature and Culture at Birkbeck, University of London. His publications include Trees in the Religions of Early Medieval England (2015), and Andreas: an Edition, with Richard North (2016). He is co-editor of Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World (2013), Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia (2015), Sensory Perception in the Medieval West (2016), Stasis in the Medieval West? Questioning Change and Continuity (2017), and Insular Iconographies: Essays in Honour of Jane Hawkes (2019).


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Chapter 1. Introduction: Texts and Landscapes in Early Medieval England

  • Texts
  • Materials
  • Contexts

Chapter 2. Ruin Mythologies

  • The Desolation of Britain
  • Origin Mythologies
  • Roman Buildings in the Exeter Book Elegies
  • Roman Buildings in Andreas
  • Rural Settlements in Early-Saxon England
  • Loci Amoeni in the Vernacular Tradition
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3. Settlements Before the ‘Viking Age’

  • Rebuilding Christendom in the Ruins of Rome
  • Cosmic Halls in Beowulf and Cædmon’s Hymn
  • Minster Authority: Cædmon in the Historia Ecclesiastica
  • Building the English Church in De Templo
  • Structuring the Everyday in the Exeter Book Elegies
  • Wīcs in Old English Poetry?
  • Burhs in Middle-Saxon England
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4. Settlements, Strongholds, and the Alfredian Reinvention

  • Reclaiming the Urban Landscape in Andreas
  • The Archaeology of the Burghal Hidage
  • Society, Settlements, and the ‘Alfredian’ Translations
  • Society, Settlements, and Asser’s Vita Alfredi
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5. Spiritual Strongholds in Late-Saxon England

  • Bethulia as Burh in the Old English Judith
  • Cities of Good and Evil in Elene, Juliana, and Daniel
  • Ælfric, Wulfstan, and the Building of Christendom
  • The Anglo-Norman City in Durham
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6. Afterword

  • Of Time and the City
  • Earth, Wood, Stone
  • Structures of Community

Works Cited


Interest Classification:
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
English language & literature
Old English language & literature
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : auxiliary sciences
Demography & settlement studies
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
British Isles

This publication is also distributed by: Proquest e-books, ISD, Marston
Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions © 2022 Brepols Publishers NV/SA - All Rights Reserved