Facebook can be useful. Someone just posted a link to the Archeology Data Service site where they list English Heritage monographs that have been made into free PDFs. This one about Yeavering caught my eye.
There is a lot of information in it and I’ve only had a chance to flip through, but any mention of Edwin or Paulinus made me think, “Hey, I know those guys!”
Thanks for writing about Hild. Between my interest in medieval stuff (and playing in the SCA for 20 years), and working as a metalsmith in a studio where we dabble in forensic metalsmithing, your book inspires me to dig more into things Anglo-Saxon.
I skimmed the Hope-Taylor, long ago. Fascinating stuff. But I didn’t have it. Now I do. Yay! Thanks for that.
Yeavering is a most interesting place. It strikes me as out of character for Edwin. He seemed to prefer low-lying areas of rich countryside, close to water. This is the top of a hill. But Bede and the archaeology agree: this was a big, important site during his reign.
In Hild I posit that it’s basically a traditional ceremonial place of the British: a hillfort where tribes came for the annual cattle render to their lord in spring. This was taken over by the Angles a generation or two ago (by Æthelfrith? before that? I don’t know) and maintained in order to keep the local populace in their place. I’ve followed Hope-Tayor’s interpretations of the material evidence, mostly. Those interpretations are agreed with—to a degree—by many.
Yeavering was destroyed, deliberately. I’ll say no more of that here because for those that don’t know their Bede, or the archæological evidence, it could be a big spoiler for Menewood (working title).
But for how it might have been at the height of Edwin’s rule, you could do worse than watch this brief animation of the sparrow’s flight above and through the site of Yeavering. It’s crude, very old-school, but I love it.
And one of these days, should you be so inclined, I’d love to hear more about the metalsmithing.