From Cultural Climax to Conquest – Anglo-Saxon England up to 1066
Known to generations of historians as ‘The Dark Ages’, there are five centuries in England’s early medieval history that very few explore. Yet, from the 6th to the 11th century England was a creative hub, producing some of the best minds, art and literature in the Western World. With that most seminal of dates – 1066 – the Norman Conquest would not only transform the nation, but would rewrite the history books.
On this journey from the iconic white cliffs of England’s south coast to the wild landscapes of Lindisfarne Priory near the Scottish border, we will discover the vibrant world of the Anglo-Saxons. We will see for ourselves their exquisite craftsmanship and learning from Bede and Beowulf, the bloody fields of Hastings and Stamford Bridge. Our tour will retrace ancient Saxon kingdoms, and cross over the boundary of Viking controlled territory into the Danelaw of the north, discovering how these ancient boundaries still dictate the geography of English counties today.
Beginning in London, along the way we will visit Tamworth, the ancient capital of Mercia, and York – the great Viking city Jorvik. In each place we will discover great libraries, cathedrals and castles which have their origins in the power struggles and conquest which took place in Saxon England, and will also take time to visit simple churches, remote priories and little known, but incredibly significant locations.
You will see the first stained glass window, the earliest English epic, and the finest illuminated manuscript ever made and will discover an era of history that was anything but “Dark”.
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