Laura Taylor

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert F. Berkhofer, III

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Ulin

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The arrival of missionaries from Rome on the southeastern shore of Britain near the end of the sixth century represents a crucial moment in the imagined origin story of the English people. Not only did the missionaries bring the Christian faith to the pagan Anglo-Saxons, but they also imported Latin language and literacy in addition to Roman and ecclesiastical concepts of land tenure and social exchange that had an immeasurable impact on the development of English identity.

This thesis examines the mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons from the perspective of patronage as manifested in land grants ^thelberht and Eadbald of Kent made to the church in the early seventh century. By analyzing the vocabulary relevant to gift-giving found within charters credited (albeit dubiously) to these two kings, I demonstrate how the interaction between the missionaries and Kentish rulers may have shaped the perception and practice of patronage, and vice versa. A more thorough understanding of how patronage affected - and was affected by - the mission thus sheds light on one aspect of the complex story of the origin of England.

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