Little has survived of the pre-Augustinian Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England: from churches or remains of churches used in the period between the departure of the Romans and the mission of Augustine there remains that of St. Martin at Canterbury, where a part of the choir might have belonged to the old church which queen Bertha had used before the arrival of Augustine. One of the principal sites of the conversion has been discovered by the excavations at Yeavering, Northumberland. Atlanta Map It was the seat of one of the palaces of the convert of Paulinus, King Edwin of Northumbria.
Buildings have been found on the site which can be interpreted as churches, while one of these could have been a pagan temple later adapted to Christian worship.
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The churches built in Kent and in Essex after the arrival of the Augustinian mission in 597 constitute an easily recognizable group: they are built in stone, according to the Roman tradition, and possess common characteristics.
A triple arch separated the short rectangular nave from the apse, flanked to the north and south by rooms or porticos which connected through narrow doors with the main body of the church, whose angles were reinforced with robust buttresses. The constructions were in wood, stone, brick or involved two or three of these materials.
Even if we know from literary sources the existence of churches in wood e.g. Lindisfarne, Glastonbury and Chester-leStreet, today a single wooden church from the AngloSaxon period remains, that of the 9th c.at Greensted in Essex. Traces of wooden churches have been found at North Elmhan, Norfolk; Pottern, Wiltshire; Rivenhall, Essex; St.
Mary formerly St. Bertelin, Stafford; St. Michael, Thetford; Wharram Percy, Yorkshire; and probably at Yeavering.
A certain number of churches, either complete or preserved only partially, can be dated with sound arguments, such as that of Sts.
Peter and Paul at Canterbury, begun during the life of Augustine and completed shortly after his death 604 609; part of the present-day church of Monkwearmouth, consecrated in 674; and perhaps certain elements surviving in the twin church in Jarrow 684.9. Anglo-Saxon monasteries.
From the literary sources it is known that hermitages of Celtic type were found in Northumbria e.g. the residence of Cuthbert and Inner Farne, but the only probable location of a hermitage is Burgh Castle, Suffolk, organized some years after 630 by an Irish monk named Fursa. A cemetery was found there in 1960, and several cabins were attached, perhaps monastic cells. In the Anglo-Saxon period there were a variety of monastic buildings there.
Only with the monastic renaissance of the 10th c.did the claustral order become normative. Among the Anglo-Saxon monasteries, Tynemouth, Whitby, Hartlepool, Glastonbury, the Old Minster at Winchester and the Monastery of St.
Augustine at Canterbury have left some rather insignificant information on accessory buildings. But in the two monasteries of Bede, at Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, buildings have been discovered regularly aligned with the church. Associated with these stone buildings were less-solid cabins, one of which, at Jarrow, was almost certainly used as a workshop.
Archaeological digs in the central nucleus of the two sites have certified that in 716 more than 600 people were in the two monastic houses, and not all could be housed in the buildings thus far brought to light; but these were rich and famous places.