Session Title

The Legacy of The Cult of Saint Swithun: In Honor of Michael Lapidge

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Jennifer Lorden, Justin G. Park, Erica Weaver

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of California-Berkeley, Yale Univ., Harvard Univ.

Presider Name

Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of California-Berkeley

Paper Title 1

Saint Swithun's Healing Miracles and Medical Practice in Winchester

Presenter 1 Name

Rebecca Stephenson

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. College Dublin

Paper Title 2

Uncertain Judgment: Rethinking the Ordeal in Lantfred's Translatio et miracula s. Swithuni

Presenter 2 Name

Andrew Rabin

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Louisville

Paper Title 3

The Life of Saint Swithun in William Caxton's Golden Legend

Presenter 3 Name

Judy Ann Ford

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Texas A&M Univ.-Commerce

Start Date

12-5-2017 3:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 2355

Description

Just over a decade ago, Michael Lapidge’s magisterial The Cult of St. Swithun presented authoritative editions of the medieval uitae of Swithun—ninth-century bishop of Winchester and posthumous miracle-worker—spanning over six centuries, as well as historical sources and essays on the art, liturgy, and architectural developments associated with the flourishing of his cult. The breadth of The Cult of St. Swithun testifies to the importance of the saint in late Anglo-Saxon England and beyond, and its publication has proved an invaluable aid to further study. This session will celebrate Lapidge’s volume through the new work it makes possible. Indeed, since Lapidge’s publication, numerous articles and book chapters have appeared This panel will provide the space for scholars to explore how they may continue to build upon this important work.

For medievalists, study of Swithun’s cult has implications for many areas of inquiry. His sanctification was instigated in 971 by Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester (963–84), and the Benedictine reformers at the Old Minster. Swithun’s cult is at the heart of the tenth-century monastic revival. At a moment of increasing scholarly interest in the Benedictine Reform(s), we must take into consideration Swithun’s cult when studying the reach and significance of the reformers’ efforts. The foundation of the cult provides insight into the reign of King Edgar (r. 959–75), as well as into the influential figure of Æthelwold himself, not to mention King Cnut, buried at Winchester, whose court resided there for a time. Moreover, the incipient cult inspired the production of works of visual art, musical compositions, building projects, and literary texts, including Wulfstan Cantor’s Narratio metrica de S. Swithuno, the longest extant Anglo-Latin poem from before the Conquest, and Ælfric’s Life of St. Swithun, the first in the vernacular.

Swithun’s cult is significant for the study of later periods, as the faithful continued to produce hagiographies, hymns, portraits, and poems through the time of Caxton’s Gilte Legende (1483). The antiquary John Leland (1506–52) took note of the earliest lives of Swithun in his Collectanea, and they were also included in the Index Britanniae Scriptorum of John Bale (1495–1563). Swithun’s cult spanned a wide geographical as well as temporal distance; the saint was widely culted not only in southern England but also in Scandinavia and at certain places in France and Ireland. Indeed, in the nineteenth century, Jane Austen even wrote a poem for St. Swithun’s Day, as his legacy continued in popular memory.

Our primary aim is to bring into focus the wealth of resources Michael Lapidge’s work has made available to scholars and how The Cult of St. Swithun continues to inspire innovative scholarship.

Justin G. Park

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May 12th, 3:30 PM

The Legacy of The Cult of Saint Swithun: In Honor of Michael Lapidge

Schneider 2355

Just over a decade ago, Michael Lapidge’s magisterial The Cult of St. Swithun presented authoritative editions of the medieval uitae of Swithun—ninth-century bishop of Winchester and posthumous miracle-worker—spanning over six centuries, as well as historical sources and essays on the art, liturgy, and architectural developments associated with the flourishing of his cult. The breadth of The Cult of St. Swithun testifies to the importance of the saint in late Anglo-Saxon England and beyond, and its publication has proved an invaluable aid to further study. This session will celebrate Lapidge’s volume through the new work it makes possible. Indeed, since Lapidge’s publication, numerous articles and book chapters have appeared This panel will provide the space for scholars to explore how they may continue to build upon this important work.

For medievalists, study of Swithun’s cult has implications for many areas of inquiry. His sanctification was instigated in 971 by Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester (963–84), and the Benedictine reformers at the Old Minster. Swithun’s cult is at the heart of the tenth-century monastic revival. At a moment of increasing scholarly interest in the Benedictine Reform(s), we must take into consideration Swithun’s cult when studying the reach and significance of the reformers’ efforts. The foundation of the cult provides insight into the reign of King Edgar (r. 959–75), as well as into the influential figure of Æthelwold himself, not to mention King Cnut, buried at Winchester, whose court resided there for a time. Moreover, the incipient cult inspired the production of works of visual art, musical compositions, building projects, and literary texts, including Wulfstan Cantor’s Narratio metrica de S. Swithuno, the longest extant Anglo-Latin poem from before the Conquest, and Ælfric’s Life of St. Swithun, the first in the vernacular.

Swithun’s cult is significant for the study of later periods, as the faithful continued to produce hagiographies, hymns, portraits, and poems through the time of Caxton’s Gilte Legende (1483). The antiquary John Leland (1506–52) took note of the earliest lives of Swithun in his Collectanea, and they were also included in the Index Britanniae Scriptorum of John Bale (1495–1563). Swithun’s cult spanned a wide geographical as well as temporal distance; the saint was widely culted not only in southern England but also in Scandinavia and at certain places in France and Ireland. Indeed, in the nineteenth century, Jane Austen even wrote a poem for St. Swithun’s Day, as his legacy continued in popular memory.

Our primary aim is to bring into focus the wealth of resources Michael Lapidge’s work has made available to scholars and how The Cult of St. Swithun continues to inspire innovative scholarship.

Justin G. Park