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By Warwick Rodwell

Dorchester-on-Thames and its abbey were topics of antiquarian curiosity for greater than 450 years, and through that time a lot has been written approximately them. they're, although, nonetheless faraway from being comprehensively studied and recorded. certainly, the such a lot massive architectural description of the medieval church was once written as some time past as 1845, and a thoroughgoing reappraisal has lengthy been past due. during this significant new examine at the origins, historical past and structure of Dorchester Abbey, Warwick Rodwell assembles an enormous volume of fabric from observations in the course of fix and conservation and knowledge derived from archaeological excavation, in addition to the unforeseen discovery of formerly unstudied and unpublished topographical and architectural fabric, housed in numerous data. the amount is divided into elements: the 1st comprises an account of the archaeology of the location and the architectural improvement of the abbey, whereas the second one includes a sequence of special notes and observations at the current constitution, its fittings and furniture.

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Fifty eight We stay doubtful to what volume past due Roman Christianity lingered on in midland Britain into the fifth century, or even past: pagan and Christian ideals may perhaps, and infrequently did, co-exist. The case for seamless continuity and slow transmutation is as powerful at Dorchester because it is wherever in England. historic aid for this comes from the statement within the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that the Dorchester zone remained below British keep an eye on until eventually 571. fifty nine In that yr numerous cities within the Oxford zone have been overrun, the closest to Dorchester being Benson. Excavation has validated at the cloister web site, at Beech apartment, and in different places within the city, that the ‘sunken-hut section’ used to be succeeded within the seventh or eighth century by means of cost characterised by way of timber-framed structures, the wall positions of that are evidenced both through strains of postholes or shallow slots for sill-beams. Such buildings will be both secular or ecclesiastical. The common distribution in and round Dorchester of either profession proof and burials of the Anglo-Saxon interval issues to the presence of a giant and critical cost. a couple of stray unearths of remarkable caliber are symptoms of the excessive prestige of where: a gold coin (solidus) of the Byzantine emperor Mauricius Tiberius (582–602), an Anglo-Saxon runic gold coin (minted c. 640–650), and a 7th-century gold pyramidal stud inset with garnets. 60 different overdue Roman gold solidi were stumbled on at Dorchester, yet no longer thoroughly recorded: it can't now be decided whether or not they have been informal losses within the Roman interval, or were got through Anglo-Saxon jewellers to make pendants (a no longer unusual practice). eventually, an attractive discovery was once made within the excavations of 2001, within the kind of 4 sherds of green-glazed pottery of early or center Saxon date: it's been recommended that those can be of Byzantine beginning, and as such are a great rarity in Britain. sixty one NOTES 1 Benson and Miles, 1974. 2 Bradley, 1990. three VCH, 1939, 263. four prepare dinner and Rowley, 1985, 18. five Atkinson, et al. , 1951. 6 sooner than the twentieth century, Wittenham Clumps was once generally called Sinodun Hill; within the 18th century it additionally bore the nickname ‘Lady Dunche’s Buttocks’: Hearne, vol. V (1901), 380. (OHS, forty two. ) 7 Lane-Fox, 1870. one of many extra notable antiquarian illustrations of Dyke Hills, with the city and abbey within the distance, is in Skelton, 1823, pl. 6. See additionally Keevill, 2005, fig. 7. eight See, P. de Jersey, in Keevill, 2003, 338–9. nine Frere, 1984, 94–106. 10 VCH, 1939, 288–96. the main updated attention of Roman Dorchester is in Henig and sales space, 2000, 58–63. eleven The oft-mentioned ‘Dorocina’, which appears to be like on early variations of OS maps, is natural invention. Bede offers the earliest reference (c. 730), calling the city Dorcic and Dorcicaestrae. within the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (compiled c. 900, yet relating the years 635/636) the identify is written Dorceceastre and Dorcesceastre (Gelling, 1953, 152). For the Roman point of view, see Rivet and Smith, 1979, forty eight, fifty seven, 466, 513.

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