History expert probes links between Jarrow Hall site and France

Sculptures discovered in Northern France have been linked to artefacts excavated at the twin monastery of Jarrow-Wearmouth.

Monday, 12th June 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th June 2017, 2:57 pm
Some of the artifacts at Jarrow Hall
Some of the artifacts at Jarrow Hall

Durham University Academic Dame Professor Rosemary Cramp’s celebrated excavation at the twin monastery was key to establishing Jarrow Hall, the world’s only Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum.

Now the world-authority on Anglo-Saxon history is set to travel to Caen in June to help verify the similarities of the sculptures.

Some of the artifacts at Jarrow Hall

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She said: “Carvings recently discovered outside of Caen in Normandy have similarities in style and design to some of the artefacts, such as the sculpted balusters, found at the site of the Jarrow and Wearmouth monasteries during our excavation work in the 1950s and 60s.

“We’ve always thought that some of the carvings found in Jarrow and Wearmouth originally came from somewhere in France, so this find may help us pinpoint their origin and help shape our ideas of the period, providing further insight into the 7th and 8th Centuries.

She added: “It is part of the continuing fascination with the Venerable Bede, who is a towering historical figure, that his works are still studied and attract great interest internationally, across Europe and America.

“We are very fortunate to have one of the world’s most complete examples of 7th and 8th Century monastic buildings, with its stone architecture and double halls it gives wonderful insight into the daily life of the monks during that period.

Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp

Prof Cramp believes the founder of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory St Benedict Biscop (c628-690) imported specialised stone masons to build Monkwearmouth church and to teach the Anglo- Saxon monks how to build Jarrow.

Dame Rosemary’s planned trip to Caen follows her inaugural lecture delivered recently at Jarrow Hall on the original excavation of the site.

Jarrow Hall, launched after its take-over by environmental charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN), has spent over £120,000 to support key improvement and renovation works.

This has included working with Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, and the development of masterplans to continually improve the site whilst ensuring Bede and the stunning history of the local area remain at the heart of a sustainable attraction.

Some of the artifacts at Jarrow Hall

The next event is a two-part lecture mini-series being delivered by broadcaster, author and cultural historian Dr Janina Ramirez at the Anglo-Saxon site this month - the first based around her bestselling book ‘The Private Lives of the Saints’ and the second around her top-charting podcast ‘Art Detective’.

The lectures are taking place on Thursday June 15 and Friday June 16 at 7.30pm; doors open 7pm.

Tickets are priced at £8 per event

Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp