Article. Bullough. York, Bede’s Calendar and a Pre-Bedan English Martyrology.


York, Bede’s Calendar and a Pre-Bedan English Martyrology.
Donald A. Bullough.

Compared with his contemporary, Paul the Deacon, Alcuin seems not to have been very interested in buildings or in the physical environment of his public activities. The substantial corpus of letters, written from St. Martin’s, Tours, in the last seven-and-a-half years of his life, is extremely sparse in its references to that monastery and its urban context, except during the conflict over sanctuary in 801 x 802. With the notable exception of his familiar mention of the columns in the Aachen chapel gallery in a letter dated summer 798, his references to the Palace complex – where he resided for two years (794- 796), and which he subsequently visited twice – are unspecific and ambiguous. Moreover, his poem on the Court, probably written from Tours, is concemed with its members, not with its material setting. Similarly, at !east in his letters, he has disappointingly little to say about the ecclesiastical structures, and next to nothing about the secular ones, in his native York. The one church other than St. Peter’s cathedral which he names – apparently a monastic one, the cella sancti Stephani – is not among those recorded later and has not been identified archaeologicalll. His own cella which, as a metaphor and a reality, is the subject of a fine exile poem was, despite P. Godman, surely York, but where this then was will either remain unknown or perhaps one day be roughly established by archaeological exploration of the area to the north-west of the high-medieval Minster.

Analecta Bollandiana, 121 (2003), p. 329-355.

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