There has been much interest lately on the diversity of cultures in the Roman and Anglo-Saxon world, with many academics keen to promote research that highlights the positive interaction between communities, rather than existing as single homogenized societies. The Bibliography of British and Irish History can provide a useful platform for publication analysis, and give a general overview of trends and patterns on hot topics such as this. Taking the Anglo-Saxon period as a starting point, a search on the Bibliography of the period 450-1066 and the search term ‘other countries’ returns 1467 results, and by drilling down into publishing figures from 1970 to the present, it is clear that much more attention is currently being paid to Anglo-Saxon links with the rest of the world. There are only 250 resources published pre-1970, but statistical analysis after that time reveals the following results:
As the graph shows, there has been a steady increase in research, and an sharp rise in the mid 1990s, until the turn of the millenium when it plateaus at about the 235 mark. This may be due to the Bibliography becoming much more efficient in its indexing from 1992 onwards, and however encouraging these results, they do need to be assessed against the general rise in publications, which gives a more balanced view:
However, the percentage of resources published does show a steady increase, with figures doubling from the 1970s (at five per cent) to over ten per cent since 2000, showing that it is an area growing in interest. A map of the spread of resources further highlights how far-reaching the interactions were in the Insular world.
Click on images for more detail
These data visualizations show publication information, but looking at individual titles on the Bibliography is also vital to establishing the body of research out there.
Although physical geography may separate Britain and Ireland from other countries, it has never been left to develop in splendid isolation. All-important trade-routes and the growth of Christianity ensured that the Insular world had plenty of interaction with the Continent, and much further afield. Bede was keen to align the British Isles with the Roman Church (as opposed to the Insular Church), believing in a universal Catholicism, uniting all four corners of the known world. Despite never leaving Monkwearmouth-Jarrow, a constant stream of religious texts from the continent informed his global view, as Conor O’Brien’s book Bede’s Temple discusses. Never are these influences more apparent than in the Lindisfarne Gospels, the pinnacle of Anglo-Saxon culture. In her book chapter ‘The Cross and the book: the cross-carpet pages of the Lindisfarne Gospels as sacred figurae’, in Cross and Cruciform in the Anglo-Saxon World, Michelle Brown discusses the many influences that fed into the manuscript images, including the resemblance the carpet pages bear to eastern Mediterranean prayer mats, which may have been used in Britain in the early eighth century to pray towards the east, highlighting the blending of eastern and western cultures. She analyses the crosses embedded in the carpet pages, and suggests that each cross represents the concept of a universal church – St Matthew a Latin cross, St Mark a Celtic cross, St Luke a Greek cross, and St John a Greek-style cross that was popular in Coptic Egypt, Nubia and Ethiopia.
Carpet page for St John (London, British Library, Cotton MS Nero D IV, fol. 210v)
Carpet page for St Matthew (London, British Library, Cotton MS Nero D IV, fol. 26v)
The CodexAmiatinus, a magnificent copy of the Vulgate bible produced at Monkwearmouth-Jarrow that went missing on its journey to Rome, also indicates just how closely Christian England had aligned itself with Rome – the reason it remained undiscovered for so long was because it was assumed to be Italian, so completely had it emulated the Roman style. In his book chapter ‘Amiatinus in Italy: the afterlife of an Anglo-Saxon book’, in Anglo-Saxon England and the Continent, Marsden explores the extraordinary journey of this manuscript. ‘Who introduced charters into England? The case for Theodore and Hadrian’ in Textus Roffensis: Law, Language, and Libraries in Early Medieval England is also a reminder that Theodore of Tarsus (Archbishop of Canterbury) and his companion Hadrian (Abbot of St Augustine’s, Canterbury) from north Africa were received very favourably as church leaders in England in the seventh century.
Although the close connections between the Vikings and Britain and Ireland have been well-documented, a fascinating book chapter titled ‘Viking-age queens and the formation of identity’ in The Viking Age: Ireland and the West discusses the portrayals of Eadgyth, Gormlaith and Auðr and their regal roles. The ‘marrying-in’ to different cultures may suggest a keenness (or an unwillingness) to be politically allied, and the subsequent portrayals of these women symbolized the links being forged between English, Irish and Scandinavian cultures. Aquitaine and Ireland in the Middle Ages also offers interesting evidence of cultural and commercial links between Ireland and the south-west of France, who could use the Atlantic Ocean to bypass mainland Britain. ‘Innse Gall: culture and environment on a Norse frontier in the Scottish Western Isles’ in The Norwegian Domination and the Norse World, c.1100-c.1400 also highlights the blurred boundaries between the British and Scandinavian world, and how those links persisted well after the Anglo-Saxon era.
Anglo-Saxon map of the world (London, British Library, Cotton MS Tiberius B V/1, fol. 56v)
For resources covering areas beyond Europe and Byzantium, a book chapter called ‘Architecture and epigraphic evidence for Christian Celts in Connecticut, c. 500-700 A.D.’ in Atlantic Visions presents archaeological evidence for a drainage system that may signify occupation by settlers from Ireland or the Hebrides, strengthened by the presence of preserved inscriptions of the Chi-Rho symbol and Ogham script. An article titled ‘The figure of the Ethiopian in Old English texts’ in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, which although it offers both positive and negative aspects, highlights how places as far as eastern Africa were present in the Anglo-Saxon mind.
The Bibliography of the British and Irish History is an extremely useful tool for exploring both qualitive and quantitive results in history publications, in this case to explore the wider boundaries of the Anglo-Saxon period in Britain and Ireland.
This article challenges the influential revisionist interpretation of the impeachment of the duke of Buckingham in the parliament of 1626. It argues that Buckingham’s enemies sought to remove him from power rather than ‘reform’ his errors or reach a compromise settlement whereby he would give up some offices. It explores the relationship between M.P.s and their patrons in the house of lords, the ideological and religious significance of the impeachment and the reasons for the dissolution, arguing that the attack on Buckingham was much more radical, polarizing and uncompromising than has previously been acknowledged.
Since the nineteen-seventies public history has emerged as an increasingly coherent discipline in North America, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and, latterly, in a wider European context. In all of these places it has had a connected but distinctly different gestation, and the nature of how history is applied, constructed, proffered or sold for public consumption is unique to each society. In Ireland, and within the history profession connected to it, its meaning is yet to be fully explored. Recent talks, symposia and conferences have established the term in the public imagination. As it is presently conceived public history in Ireland either relates specifically to commemorative events and the effect historians might have on official discourse relating to them, or to a series of controversial and contested historiographical debates. This article, by contrast, seeks a wider, more inclusive definition that includes the ‘public’ as an actor in it.
Viking re-enactors at the Battle of Clontarf millennium commemoration, Saint Anne’s Park, Dublin, April 19th 2014
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen, one of Britain’s most well-known literary figures. She died on 18 July 1817, and this year celebrates a variety of different events to commemorate her life (see Jane Austen 200). To tie in with this, we looked at the resources available on the Bibliography of British and Irish History, and have selected some material which highlights the less-explored themes surrounding Austen’s life and her work.
A newly published book titled Jane Austen and the Reformation: Remembering the sacred landscape by Roger E. Moore explores the medieval religious houses that feature in Austen’s novels, noting the nostalgia that people in the Georgian era felt for the England that existed before the Reformation. He pays particular attention to the first-hand experience that Austen had with pre-Reformation buildings, such as being taught at the gatehouse at Reading Abbey and visiting relatives at Stoneleigh Abbey.
Abbey gateway Reading, by Paul Sandby, 1808 (image: Wikipedia)
Jane Austen, Dominic Serres, Princess Olive of Cumberland, Graf von Moltke: Unexpected encounters of an interesting kind is an article by Chris Birch in Geneologists’ Magazine (32:4), which charts a surprising family history that traces the author’s heritage from sugar plantations in St Kitts back to James Austen, Jane’s eldest brother. It is thought that the character General Tilney in Northanger Abbey was based on James’ father-in-law, General Edward Mathew.
Jane Austen and the state of the nation by Sheryl Craig takes a political view of Austen’s novels, discussing in each chapter a specific novel and relating it to the political and economic climate, such as Poor Law reform, the Speenhamland System and the Restriction Act of 1797. The monograph concludes that Austen maintained a liberal tory outlook throughout her writing life.
This article discusses and contextualizes a unique document: the record of an investigation into a death, apparently by suicide, in the communal prison in Bologna in 1473, with an accompanying drawing of the dead body. The credibility of this death as suicide is questioned and discussed as a possible concealed homicide. It is then further contextualized in relation to the recent, revisionist historiography of conditions in medieval prisons, and it is argued that the investigative phase of criminal justice, involving torture, increasingly generated suicides and prison escapes.
This article considers the life of a British would-be adventurer and clerk in the Imperial Maritime Service, Charles Mason, who became embroiled in an uprising against the Chinese government in 1891. By exploring Mason’s life, his writings and the diplomatic dialogue sparked by his actions, the article highlights the growing disjuncture between imperial fantasy and the reality of imperial administration. It considers how the actions of errant individuals could be used as a pretext to renegotiate the limits of British and Chinese power. As Mason’s actions and his literary career demonstrate, China and other imperial sites beyond the formal control of colonial authorities acted as ideal places for adventuring in the British imagination.
This article examines jurisdictional disputes between the city of Salisbury and its bishops in the Elizabethan and early Stuart period, showing how debates over local control articulated broader ideas of order in the state. The civic leadership identified itself closely with the monarch in its bid for incorporation, arguing that prosperity and peace could only be achieved in this way. The bishops, in contrast, claimed that their own traditional authority over the city was the surest means of order, an argument that gained greater purchase under Charles I. Local actors could shape relations between themselves and the crown, but their success rested finally on the monarch’s willingness to trust them to maintain the royal state.
This article offers a comprehensive survey of relations between the labour movement, socialists and official eugenic opinion from the late Victorian era to the Second World War. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, it discusses both how the left regarded eugenics and the attempts by the Eugenics Society to gather support from this tendency. Although some socialists wished to utilize eugenics and some eugenists were friendly to labour, it is concluded that only peripheral labour organizations were truly attracted to the doctrine. The article provides a much more nuanced account than does the weight of past scholarship.
Building upon recent scholarship, this article presents a study of policy formation within the composite monarchy of Charles I. Through a scrutiny of the 1636 canons – a crucial but neglected aspect of the ‘Laudian’ programme in Scotland – new light is shed on the contested dynamics of the working partnership between the king and William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury (1633–45). The article also engages with the question of whether Laud can accurately be described as ‘the master’ of religious reform in Scotland and contends that he recast retrospectively his role in policy formation – not just in the canons, but in other, equally controversial, aspects of Scottish policy – thus concealing the true extent of his involvement, by presenting himself as having been a servant, not an agent. Suggesting greater involvement in Scottish affairs than has hitherto been acknowledged, these findings put Laud at the heart of a programme of religious reform that extended across the British churches during the sixteen-thirties.
Hayne hudjihini: Eagle of delight, Credit: Wellcome Library, London.
To tie in with the IHR’s upcoming conference Pocahontas and after: historical culture and transatlantic encounters, 1617-2017, we have gathered a selection of resources from the BBIH that address the themes of Native American women in Colonial America. The women in these resources are portrayed as vital members of their community, who were often pivotal in forging links between the indigenous tribes and the newly-arrived Europeans, while remaining true to their cultural heritage.
“As Potent a Prince as Any Round About Her”: Rethinking Weetamoo of the Pocasset and Native Female Leadership in Early America is an article in the Journal of Women’s History by Gina M. Martino-Trutor. Weetamoo was a female sachem, or chief, who wielded power and influence in the seventeenth century. She was the leader of the Pocasset people, and a primary ally in the Native coalition led by Metacomet (King Philip), head of the Wampanoag Confederacy, to temper the spread of English colonists in New England. Although relations had been largely amicable between the Puritan settlers and the Native Americans in the 1660s, by 1671 the tribes had grown tired of the continual expansion of the colonists, resulting in King Philip’s War (1675-1676). This article explores the role of Native American women in times of war and peace, and assesses their political and military influence in Colonial America.
“The Pocahontas of Georgia”: Mary Musgrove in the American Literary Imagination by Steven C. Hahn in Georgia Historical Quarterly tells a different story, but nonetheless portrays the interwoven yet volatile relations between the colonists and indigenous peoples. Mary Musgrove was born in 1700 and raised by her Creek Indian mother, before being taken away at the age of seven by her English father, a deerskin trader, who subsequently died in the war waged by the Creek Indians against the settlers in South Carolina. Musgrove’s experience and ties to both Native American and English culture put her in a unique position, enabling her to act as go-between as interpretor and negotiator. However, her unsuccessful claims for compensation and land from the Georgian government soured her relationship with the authorities, and resulted in public outbursts of frustration, for which she was arrested twice. This article discusses subsequent depictions of Mary Musgrove in literary texts as she grew in the American imagination, as a savage, vengeful ‘queen’, tragic figure, or feminist, depending on the era, reflecting the complicated relationship America has with its multicultural past, and with gendered biography.
Creek Indians meeting Georgian Trustees. Unfortunately only Mary’s husband, John Musgrove is depicted as translator. Image from Wikipedia
Johnson Hall, Molly Brant’s home from 1763 to 1774. Image from Wikipedia
Following along a similar theme, Molly Brant: Mohawk Loyalist and Diplomat is a monograph by Peggy Dymond Leavey, charting the life of Brant. She became an important intermediary figure in the American Revolutionary War between the British and Iroquois. She was born in 1736 and grew up in a very Anglicized culture, being raised as a Christian Mohawk. She became the consort of Sir William Johnson, British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and they had a family together. Johnson died in 1774 and as a respected member of the Mohawks, she proved invaluable to the British and was a vital link in keeping the Iroquois onside during the war. Like Mary Musgrove, Molly Brant’s legacy has also waxed and waned throughout history, and although some view her pro-British stance as traitorous, she is honoured as a Person of National Historical Significance in Canada.
Although the relations between the Native American peoples and colonial settlers has often been fraught with difficulties, misunderstandings and deceit, the selection of resources featured above and below demonstrate that there was always a need for relations between the two, with women often forming a pivotal role. A further selection of resources from the BBIH is listed below. For more information on the resources, enter the title on the simple search field, or use the index terms ‘women’ and ‘Native Americans’ to explore further:
Anne Boleyn, attributed to John Hoskins. Image from Wikipedia
The Howard family, dukes of Norfolk, are usually described as Catholics and considered to have been religiously ‘conservative’ throughout the early modern period and beyond. Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk, the family patriarch at the beginning of the Reformation, is thought to have remained on the conservative ‘side’ and it is assumed that the rest of the family followed his lead. By examining the responses of the Howard women to early religious change, this article argues that this was not the case; families did not react collectively but maintained relationships while occupying different positions across the shifting religious spectrum.
Edited by Elizabeth Baigent and Ben Cowell, this is a new collective volume from the IHR Conference Series.
Octavia Hill (1838-1912) was a successful housing and social reformer, providing an excellent example of female leadership in the nineteenth century. She inherited a strong sense of social justice from her mother’s side of the family, and committed herself to the development of social housing and the provision of open spaces for all social classes. She was also co-founder of the National Trust. The following chapters demonstrate the breadth of Octavia Hill’s achievements and her legacy:
Octavia Hill: ‘the most misunderstood … Victorian reformer’ Elizabeth Baigent
Octavia Hill: lessons in campaigning. Gillian Darley
Octavia Hill: the practice of sympathy and the art of housing. William Whyte
Octavia Hill’s Red Cross Hall and its murals to heroic self-sacrifice. John Price
‘The poor, as well as the rich, need something more than meat and drink’: the vision of the Kyrle Society. Robert Whelan
Octavia Hill: the reluctant sitter. Elizabeth Heath
Octavia Hill, nature and open space: crowning success or campaigning ‘utterly without result’. Elizabeth Baigent
Octavia Hill and the English landscape. Paul Readman
‘To every landless man, woman and child in England’: Octavia Hill and the preservation movement. Astrid Swenson
Octavia Hill and the National Trust. Melanie Hall
At home in the metropolis: gender and ideals of social service. Jane Garnett
Octavia Hill, Beatrice Webb, and the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1905–9: a mid Victorian in an Edwardian world. Lawrence Goldman
‘Some dreadful buildings in Southwark’: a tour of nineteenth-century social housing. William Whyte
For the benefit of the nation: politics and the early National Trust. Ben Cowell
Octavia Hill By John Sergeant (Image from Wikipedia)
As one of the first anti-colonial movements of the twentieth century, the Indian struggle for independence has attracted a vast and rich historiography. Much of this has been focused within the boundaries of India. This article adds a transnational dimension by examining Indian anti-colonial activism in exile. The experience of political exile, both voluntary and involuntary, provides insight into the international dimensions of radical politics. This article tells the story of some of these exiled revolutionaries, looking at radical Indian nationalists in London (1905–10); the emergence of the Ghadar movement in the United States (from 1914); and the early career of anti-colonial revolutionary M. N. Roy (1917–19). It gauges the impact of global events including the First World War and the Bolshevik revolution on the thoughts, ideas, movements, collaborations and confrontations of these actors.
This article analyses the public debates about the two corporate forms used in the seventeenth century to develop England’s international commercial reach: the regulated and joint stock company. It examines pamphlets to assess the changing public postures of the two forms across the period, and challenges histories of seventeenth-century English overseas trade that argue the triumph of free trade over monopoly. The article instead suggests that the public debate about the two company forms contributed to the development of new corporate constitutions derived from both models and therefore recovers the neglected significance of the regulated company in this period.
This article examines the uses to which Cambridge University’s ten-year statute was put suggesting that its popularity from c.1815 reflects both increasing career insecurity among non-graduate clergy, and the closing of traditional non-graduate routes into the Anglican ministry. Using a quantitative study of university calendars and ordination records alongside a review of controversial pamphlet literature, the article documents the degree’s changing popularity and the appearance of a discourse which discredited both it and non-graduate clergy. This discourse also reflects the general anxieties of elite and middling families, threatened by meritocratic trends and eager to secure cultural, occupational and economic privilege.
This article aims to write the army transport mule, which has previously been neglected in the equine historiography of the conflict, into the story of the First World War. It does not aim to tell the entire story of the role of mules in the war, as this deserves fuller investigation. Instead, it focuses on how various British sources depicted the army transport mule and how the actual involvement and treatment of these animals on the Salonica Front accorded with these perceptions.