Saints in the Landscape in Medieval East Anglia

Ref: C2226140

Session 1: Setting the Scene: Saints and East Anglian Watery Landscapes Why were East Anglian saints so often associated with water? We will survey watery landscapes in a range of saints' cults. Session 2: Demons & Dysentery: The Fearful Fens? Why did these wetlands hold such fear for non-fenland natives and why, conversely, were they so beloved of holy men and women? We will focus on the cult of St Guthlac in order to explore these questions. Session 3: Causeways & Communities Causeways were more than practical means of crossing wetland landscapes and in this session we will explore some of their symbolic functions in saints’ lives, with particular reference to St Æthelthryth. Session 4: Coastal Connections East Anglia’s coastlines allowed for the dissemination of cults within the region and overseas and we will consider some examples of local cults, including St Edmund, which travelled abroad. We will also examine the sea as symbol and metaphor within saints’ lives.

Course aim

This day school will introduce you to the cults of some key medieval saints and explore their relationship to the watery East Anglian landscapes in which they lived, died and were venerated throughout the Middle Ages.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • You don't need any prior knowledge or experience. This day school is suitable for anyone who is interested in medieval history and culture and the history of East Anglia.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe a range of East Anglian landscapes
  • Summarise the life of at least one medieval East Anglian saint
  • Analyse the representation of landscapes in the lives of saints

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Each session will be supported by slides and handouts. The tutor will introduce each session and facilitate group disussions.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • Printed handouts will be provided for you to keep afterwards. Please let the tutor know in advance if you need these in larger font size or on coloured paper. You may find it useful to bring a pen and paper to make notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • You don't need to undertake any reading in advance of the day school; the tutor will provide a reading list on the day for you to follow up if you wish. You are also welcome to contact the tutor in advance for recommendations.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Saints in the Landscape in Medieval East Anglia


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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