Runes, Myrtle, and Morris in Cheshire

I have not posted in a while partly because I am rather busy and have been concentrating on research and teaching, all the wile having a job in order to maintain funds. While I do a lot of complaining about this, mostly when funds or sleeps are low. Its a been a really rewarding couple of terms and (as I am always having to remind myself) I have a pretty cool life.

However, this has meant I have not really traveled much, so feel that I have nothing to update about. However, during the Easter break I went to several conferences and on a couple research trips around the British isles. First stop Chester:



Chester is a lovely town that is very similar to York. It was a Roman settlement, has city walls, a cathedral and a lot of Victorian Medieval revival shop fronts. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time in the city to walk the walls.


I did see the Shrine of Minerva- a rare surviving Roman shrine.

RMMC034And a bit of the amphitheatre.

RMMC033Here you can see the amphitheatre and St. Johns. The stone in Chester is all of this reddish hue, which makes it very different from the churches around Yorkshire.

RMMC003RMMC002St Johns has some lovely ruins attached to the North end.

RMMC006And some lovely wall painting.

RMMC001But most importantly some early medieval stone fragments. Which is what this trip was all about. I should probably put in a warning now that there will be quite a lot of stone fragments in this post (much like many of my posts).

Following the first day of papers, a brilliant keynote in St. Johns and a morning of papers. The RMMC Network  went on a trip up the Wirral, which is an Anglo-Saxon place name meaning myrtle-corner, as it used to be over run with bog-myrtle. It was then settled by Vikings. And according to legend it is where Sir Gawain spent Christmas before meeting the Green Night.

The first stop was St Mary’s and St Helen’s Church, Neston.



They also have a stone that has been reconstructed to laser precision and painted (by the lovely Jo, who organized the conference and trip!)


RMMC021I think this is really cool as it is thought most early stone sculpture would have been painted, and while we can never recreate exactly how it would have looked, this sort of exercise on shows how striking they can look.


Neston also has some amazing Victorian stained glass, this window is by Burn-Jones.




While these are by Morris and Co. Very much a treat location that contained two of my favourites the Pre-Raphelites and the Early Medieval. Plus on the drive to here I was able to see Wales from the coach.



The next stop was St Briget’s Church, West Kirby where we were also shown into the new Charles Dawson Museum. The Church has a hogback and as it was just after Easter it had a display of Christ empty tomb (there sere several of these on the trip).





The Museum, with a smell of fresh paint had a brilliant display of some of the fragments found at the church some early, some less so. The stone crosses made for contain a cross fragment, I think are absolutely inspired. It gives the fragments an appropriate context without distracting from the extant fragments.

67586_10100484877538933_1082553758_n(Photo by Joe)

And here we all are. After this church we went back to Chester, but the next morning a smaller group set of for a trip up through Cumbria to see seven more churches, all containing Early Medieval Sculpture which I will post pictures of later this week.




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