Jarrow's St Paul's takes runner-up spot in medieval abbey 'World Cup'
After storming its way to the Medieval Abbey World Cup final, St Paul’s in Jarrow lost out to Minster Abbey in Kent. The winner was decided by an online poll in a four-way final in which people voted for their favourite.
Jarrow polled 33.4% of the 1,314 votes cast as a combined entry with St Peter’s in Sunderland. But it was edged out by Minster with 38.4%. The other finalists were Mar Mattai in Iraq on 14.8% and Cluny in France on 13.3%.
However, Jarrow can take pride in its runners-up spot. There were six rounds in total with 180 entrants. These included Glastonbury, La Sacra di San Michele in Turin, Abba Garima in Ethiopia and Kells in Ireland.
The home of the Venerable Bede, St Paul’s was established in AD 684 as a double monastery along with St Peter’s. Together they are known as Monkwearmouth-Jarrow.
The “tournament” was the idea of medieval scholars Charlotte Liebelt and Lily Hawker-Yates, who recently completed their PhDs at Canterbury Christ Church University. The idea was to promote an interest in history while having some fun.
Charlotte said: “Organising a tournament such as this is a lot of work, but is also very rewarding.
“At the end of a tournament especially, we noticed how much such an activity on social media can connect people.
“That includes us as well, it is great fun to connect with people and history around the world.
“Monkwearmouth and Jarrow in particular holds some special interest for me of course due to my own research. The last day of the final we also noticed more local people getting involved, which is great.
“We did suspect Monkwearmouth-Jarrow would go far in the competition, due to its importance to our particular field of research.
"But what really made it special was to see it alongside its (rough) contemporaries, which gave it and the other sites new contexts.
“Most importantly, we hope that people enjoyed the competition and perhaps learned something new, because Lily and I certainly did.”