Beacons of belief: seasonal change and sacred trees in Britain from prehistory to the later Middle Ages

Bintley, M. (2017) Beacons of belief: seasonal change and sacred trees in Britain from prehistory to the later Middle Ages. In: Bintley, M., Locker, M., Symons, V. and Wellesley, M., eds. Stasis in the Medieval West?: Questioning Change and Continuity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 27-45 ISBN 9781349950331

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Abstract

This chapter addresses the role of trees in religious belief in Britain from prehistory to the later Middle Ages. Despite considerable change to religious practices over the course of millennia, trees have retained a relatively constant symbolic function within systems of belief as beacons of the annual seasonal cycle, which affects humans no less than it does the world around us. The principal focus of this chapter is the earliest period for which there is surviving “historical” evidence, namely the early medieval, in which Anglo-Saxon traditional religion was supplanted by Christianity. In the form of the Holy Rood, trees remained a prominent symbolic presence in Christianity throughout the medieval period, being intimately intertwined with the life of Christ and Christian spiritual history.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0001 Religion (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0175 Natural theology > BL0239 Religion and science
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0300 The myth. Comparative mythology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0425 Religious doctrines (General) > BL0435 Nature worship
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0660 History and principles of religions > BL0689 European. Occidental > BL0830 Germanic and Norse
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0660 History and principles of religions > BL0689 European. Occidental > BL0900 Other European
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D0051 Ancient history
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D0101 Medieval and modern history, 476-
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D0111 Medieval history
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages > PD1501 North Germanic. Scandinavian > PD2201 Old Norse. Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian
P Language and Literature > PE English > PE0101 Anglo-Saxon. Old English
P Language and Literature > PE English > PE0501 Middle English
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR1490 Anglo-Saxon literature
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR1803 Anglo-Norman period. Early English. Middle English
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Dr Michael Bintley
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 15:10
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 15:10
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/15692

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00