Saints Home Stones

Grounded: A Journey into the Landscapes of Our Ancestors by James Canton. From the author of The Oak Papers comes a beautiful meditation on how to foster a profound and healing spiritual communion with the natural world, exploring how the sacred can be accessed by looking to the past, to our ancestors and how they tread through their worlds. When James Canton walked into Suffolk's Lindsey Chapel, it was the beginning of what would become a new journey in his life, hours away from the bustling city of London and distant from the years in his early twenties when he traveled from Egypt to Argentina. Standing inside the quaint chapel, Canton realized that his past cosmopolitan desires had been replaced by an intense yearning to understand the history of the place he called home, a burning curiosity about the past and the spiritual ways and beliefs of the people who came before us. In Grounded, Canton retraces his steps into the places where our ancestors have experienced profound emotion, otherwise known as numinous experiences, to help us better understand who we are. Through lyrical meditation, reflection, and a thoughtful consideration of the ways and beliefs of the people who came before us, Canton seeks to know what our ancestors considered to be human, and what lessons we can learn from them to find security in our contemporary selves.

Ancient Wonderings: Journeys into Prehistoric Britain by James Canton. Traveling the length and breadth of Britain, Canton pursues his obsession with the physical traces of the ancient world: stone circles, flint arrowheads, sacred stones, gold, and a lost Roman road. He ponders the features of the natural world that occupied ancient minds: the night sky, shooting stars, the rising and setting sun. Wandering to the furthest reaches of the islands, he finds an undeciphered standing stone north of Aberdeen and follows the first footsteps on the edge of a long-lost Ice Age land in the North Sea. As Canton walks the modern terrain, slowly understanding the ancient signs that lie within and beneath it, he weaves a gentle tale of discovery, showing how, beyond the superficial differences of lifestyle and culture, the ancient inhabitants of the British Isles were much closer to the present day one than we might imagine. To quote the author: "My writing has been mainly concerned with the ties between nature, literature and the environment. I find myself frequently entranced with exploring the distant past. For my book Ancient Wonderings, I travelled across Britain in order to understand something of prehistoric ways of life in these islands. From South Uist in the Western Isles of Scotland to the Brecklands of East Anglia, I walked the lands in order to dig deep into what we know of the ancient past."

Scotland's Forgotten Past: A History of the Mislaid, Misplaced and Misunderstood by Alistair Moffat. While Scotland's history cannot be separated from its kings and queens, saints and warriors, there is a rich story to tell about the country's lesser-known places, people, and events. This colorful history of Scotland from award-winning writer Alistair Moffat, historian and former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television, chooses episodes, half-forgotten or misunderstood, that have been submerged by the wash of history. Bringing these stories to light and to life, this entertaining book reveals the richness and complexity of this nation on the northwest edge of Europe. Moffat takes us from the geological formation of the land that makes up Scotland to the first evidence of human habitation and then up to modern times. In the process our discoveries include: the cave of headless children; the origins of the Scottish kings and the real heroes of Scottish independence; the invention of tartan and the romance of the Highlands; Scotland's answer to Shakespeare; the many US presidents with Scottish heritage, and other fascinating tales brought to life by Joe McLaren's attractive woodcut-style illustrations. Even the most knowledgeable history buff will experience a sense of newfound knowledge and appreciation for this unique country, its history, and its people.

Winters in the World: A Journey through the Anglo-Saxon Year by Eleanor Parker. Winters in the World is a beautifully observed journey through the cycle of the year in Anglo-Saxon England, exploring the festivals, customs, and traditions linked to the different seasons. Drawing on a wide variety of source material including poetry, histories, and religious literature, Eleanor Parker investigates how Anglo-Saxons felt about the annual passing of the seasons and the profound relationship they saw between human life and the rhythms of nature. Many of the festivals celebrated in the United Kingdom today have their roots in the Anglo-Saxon period, and this book traces their surprising history while unearthing traditions now long forgotten. It celebrates some of the finest treasures of medieval literature and provides an imaginative connection to the Anglo-Saxon world. Interweaving literature, history, and religion, this book is an exquisite meditation on the turning of the seasons in medieval England. From a review in The Guardian: "Eleanor Parker conjures up this evocative magic from her careful reading of the wealth of weather literature left behind by the poets, sermonisers, scientists and historians of Anglo-Saxon Britain, a period that stretched from 410 to 1066. This means roughly 600 summers and winters to think and write about...combing the texts of everyone from the anonymous author of Beowulf to the Christian chronicler Bede."

The Coffin Roads: Journeys to the West by Ian Bradley. Coffin roads are ancient tracks along which bodies were carried for burial and are a marked feature of the landscape of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Many are now popular walking and cycling routes. This book journeys along eight coffin roads to discover and explore the distinctive traditions, beliefs and practices around dying, death and mourning in the communities which created and used them. The result is a fascinating snapshot into place and culture. After more than a century when death was very much a taboo subject, this book argues that aspects of the distinctive West Highland and Hebridean way of death and approach to dying and mourning may have something helpful and important to offer us today. Bradley describes several coffin roads with their cairns on which the coffin would rest during its journey. Some were long and arduous journeys for those who shared the carrying of the coffin. Most often, the journey was from east to west. The journey of the body, like that of the soul, was towards the west and the setting sun. Sample of routes covered in this book: the Kilmartin Valley, the Street of the Dead on Iona, Kilearnadil Graveyard Jura, the Green Isle, Loch Shiel, Ardnamurchan, the coffin road on Eigg, the coffin road from Traigh Losgaintir to Loch Stocinis on Harris, and the coffin road on Barra.

The Book of the Skelligs by John Crowley and John Sheehan (Editors). This book explores the Skelligs, Ireland's most dramatic and beautiful Atlantic islands, and focuses particularly on Skellig Michael, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. It considers why the construction of a remarkable monastic site near the peak of this island over a thousand years ago stands as one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of Christianity. The Book of the Skelligs combines different approaches to deepening our understanding of the islands, combining the perspectives of history, archaeology, cultural geography, oral tradition, literature and natural science. It interprets distinctive features, both physical and human, that shape the unique character of these islands while also exploring their geology, marine and terrestrial life as well as the historical background and cultural setting of Skellig Michael's monastic remains. It also considers the impact of the Vikings and the construction of lighthouses a millennium later. Drawing on appropriate disciplines, the book reveals how a unique cultural landscape was generated by human activities over long periods of time. The blend of text and images by photographer Valerie O'Sullivan is an important part of the book, making it suitable for both the general reader and a wide range of teaching programmes.

Picts: Scourge of Rome, Rulers of the North by Gordon Noble and Nicholas Evans. This is the first dedicated book on the Picts that covers in detail both their archaeology and their history. It examines their kingdoms, culture, beliefs and everyday lives from their origins to their end, not only incorporating current thinking on the subject, but also offering innovative perspectives that transform our understanding of the early history of Scotland.The Picts have fascinated for centuries. They emerged c. AD 300 to defy the might of the Roman empire only to disappear at the end of the first millennium AD, yet they left major legacies. They laid the foundations for the medieval Scottish kingdom and their captivating carved stones are some of the most eye-catching yet enigmatic monuments in Europe. Until recently the Picts have been difficult to trace due to limited archaeological investigation and documentary sources, but innovative new research has produced critical new insights into the culture of a highly sophisticated society which forged a powerful realm dominating much of northern Britain.

Beda: A Journey to the Seven Kingdoms at the Time of Bede by Henrietta Leyser. Written by the Oxford historian Henrietta Leyser, Bede's England is a gazetteer to the remaining Anglo-Saxon ruins in England - touring the seven kingdoms of the Heptarchy: Kent, Northumbria, East Anglia, Essex, Mercia, Sussex, and Wessex - and providing a guide to the remaining ruins of that bygone era, many of them from the time of the Venerable Bede. This is an invaluable window onto the world of the author of the Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Concentrating on Bede himself (our most valuable historical source on Anglo Saxon England and author of books that played a key role in the development of English national identity), this book is an accessible history and a guidebook simultaneously, illustrated with maps and photographs. The author is an expert on the history of medieval England, in particular the role of women, an Emeritus Fellow at St. Peter's College, Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She is the author of numerous works, including Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500, Hermits And The New Monasticism: A Study Of Religious Communities in Western Europe 1000-1150, and A Short History of the Anglo-Saxons.

Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall, AD 130 by Bronwen Riley. It is AD 130. Rome is the dazzling heart of a vast empire and Hadrian its most complex and compelling ruler. Faraway Britannia is one of the Romans' most troublesome provinces: here the sun is seldom seen and "the atmosphere in the country is always gloomy." What awaits the traveller to Britannia? How will you get there? What do you need to pack? What language will you speak? How does London compare to Rome? Are there any tourist attractions? And what dangers lurk behind Hadrian's new Wall? Combining an extensive range of Greek and Latin sources with a sound understanding of archaeology, Bronwen Riley describes an epic journey from Rome to Hadrian's Wall at Britannia's - and the empire's - northwestern frontier. In this strikingly original snapshot of Roman Britain, she brings vividly to life the smells, sounds, colours and textures of travel in the second century AD. The author describes her work: "I write books and articles about historic buildings and the people who lived in them and about journeys into the past, and also devise cultural journeys and literary events. I am presently writing a book about a fourth-century female pilgrim and her journey to Jerusalem."

Between the Chalk and the Sea: A Journey on Foot into the Past by Gail Simmons. An old map. A lost pilgrimage route. A journey in search of our walking heritage. When Henry VIII banned pilgrimage in 1538, he ended not only a centuries-old tradition of walking as an act of faith, but a valuable chance to discover the joy of walking as an escape from the burdens of everyday life. Much was lost when these journeys faded from our collective memory, but clues to our past remain. On an antique map in Oxford's Bodleian Library, a faint red line threading through towns and villages between Southampton and Canterbury suggests a significant, though long-forgotten, road. Renamed the Old Way, medieval pilgrims are thought to have travelled this route to reach the celebrated shrine of Thomas Becket. Described as England's Camino, this long-distance footpath carves through one of the nation's most iconic landscapes - one that links prehistoric earthworks, abandoned monasteries, Saxon churches, ruined castles and historic seaports. Over four seasons, Simmons walks the Old Way to rediscover what a long journey on foot offers us today. Winding 250 miles between the chalk hills and shifting seascapes of the south coast, she ventures deep into our past, exploring this lost path and telling a story of ancient folklore and modern politics.

Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain by Amy Jeffs. Soaked in mist and old magic, Storyland is a new illustrated mythology of Britain, set in its wildest landscapes. It begins between the Creation and Noah's Flood, follows the footsteps of the earliest generation of giants from an age when the children of Cain and the progeny of fallen angels walked the earth, to the founding of Britain, England, Wales and Scotland, the birth of Christ, the wars between Britons, Saxons and Vikings, and closes with the arrival of the Normans. These are retellings of medieval tales of legend, landscape and the yearning to belong, inhabited with characters now half-remembered: Brutus, Albina, Scota, Arthur and Bladud among them. The stories are told with narrative flair, embellished in stunning artworks and glossed with a rich and erudite commentary. We visit beautiful, sacred places that include prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge and Wayland's Smithy, spanning the length of Britain from the archipelago of Orkney to as far south as Cornwall; mountains and lakes such as Snowdon and Loch Etive and rivers including the Ness, the Soar and the story-silted Thames in a vivid, beautiful tale of our land steeped in myth. It Illuminates a collective memory that still informs the identity and political ambition of these places.

Femina by Janina Ramirez. The Middle Ages are seen as a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings, a patriarchal society which oppressed and excluded women. But when we dig a little deeper into the truth, we can see that the 'dark' ages were anything but. Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women's names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burnt, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated. Only now, through a careful examination of the artefacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women like Jadwiga, the only female King in Europe, Margery Kempe, who exploited her image and story to ensure her notoriety, and the Loftus Princess, whose existence gives us clues about the beginnings of Christianity in England. See the medieval world with fresh eyes and discover why these remarkable women were removed from our collective memories. Ramirez is a well-known British art and cultural historian and TV presenter, based in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

The Ness of Brodgar - Time and Place . The newest Ness of Brodgar Guidebook, published in 2023, it brings the story right up to date. As Ness of Brodgar Site Director Nick Card says in his forward to this publication, "As the Ness of Brodgar celebrates 20 years of excavations, we are delighted to bring you our new, revised and expanded guidebook. Much has changed in the six years since the last incarnation of the guidebook, and in the two years since the publication of our major Ness volume, As It Stands. As more evidence is unearthed on site or revealed in the lab, we add new threads to the tapestry of what remains, for us, the most amazing site." The Ness of Brodgar excavation has been ongoing since 2004, revealing a massive complex of monumental Neolithic buildings dating from the centuries around 3000BC. Without parallel in Atlantic Europe, the Ness of Brodgar's three hectares are filled with huge stone structures containing spectacular finds. The final season of excavation at the Ness of Brodgar will take place in 2024, after which the remains of the 5,000-year-old Neolithic complex will be covered over and backfilled.

A Welsh Landscape Through Time by Jane Kenney. To discover just how important Wales is to understanding prehistoric Britain, Jane Kenney takes the reader on an investigation of Neolithic buildings throughout the Welsh landscape. She takes us to Holy Island, a small island just off the west coast of North Wales, an archaeologically rich region. Between 2006 and 2010, excavations across over 20 hectares were investigated, revealing a busy and complex archaeological landscape, which could be seen evolving from the Mesolithic period to present day. This book examines the information unearthed by the archaeological investigation that revolutionised our understanding of how people have lived in and transformed the landscape of Holy Island, and broader significance for similar sites across Britain and Ireland. These buildings, whether they were mainly domestic structures or had broader social functions, were clearly an important part of Early Neolithic life across Britain and Ireland, though they were only built and used over no more than three centuries at the start of the Neolithic period. The Welsh sites deserve a wider consideration as they have much to add to the debate about this site type. Jane Kenney is a senior archaeologist at Gwynedd Archaeological Trust.

Doggerland: Lost World under the North Sea by Luc Amkreutz & Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof (Editors). This popular-science book tells the story of one of the most important, but least known, major archaeological sites in Europe: Doggerland. Doggerland is where early hominids left the first footprints in northern Europe, more than 900,000 years ago. Later, for hundreds of thousands of years, it was the scene of ice ages. A world of woolly mammoths and rhinoceroses, horses and reindeer and the successful Neanderthals who hunted them, including Krijn, the first Neanderthal from Doggerland. At the end of the last Ice Age, the first modern humans also left their traces here, including the famous "Leman and Ower Banks spearhead" - the first documented Doggerland find - and some of the oldest art in the region. With the onset of the Holocene, our current era, Doggerland's inhabitants were increasingly confronted with climate change and rising sea levels, just as we are today. The Mesolithic hunter-gatherers lived in a rich but constantly changing world - to which they successfully adapted. Ongoing submergence and a huge tsunami around 6150 BC marked the beginning of the end. A few centuries later, the last islands disappeared under the waves and with them the story of Doggerland was lost in time.

'A Mighty Fleet and the King's Power': The Isle of Man, AD 400 to 1265 by Tim Clarkson. Situated in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man is like a stepping-stone between the lands that surround it. In medieval times, it played an important role in the histories of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. This book explores the first part of that turbulent era, tracing the story of the Isle of Man from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries. It looks at the ways in which various peoples - Britons, Scots, Irish, English and Scandinavians - influenced events in Man over a period of more than 800 years. A large portion of the book is concerned with the Vikings, a group whose legacy - in place names, old burial mounds and finely carved stones - is such a vivid element in the Manx landscape today. The Isle of Man is unique in many ways. It is one of the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. The island lies roughly equidistant between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom but rather is a crown possession (since 1828) that is self-governing in its internal affairs under the supervision of the British Home Office, home to the oldest continuously running parliament in the world, established by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago.

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