Schools of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture in the north Midlands
This thesis concerns the identification of schools of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture in the the north Midlands. It also contains a critical examination of the assumptions which have tended to underlie previous studies of this subject. The term 'school' can be interpreted in different ways, but is defined here as groups of sculptured monuments which are associated by common design elements and appear to be a product of some form of localised organisation. The research produced a large database of information for each sculptured stone monument in the research area. The results of the analysis of this material are as follows: An analytical method has been devised to identify objectively the schools and their geographical distribution in terms of their design elements. Six different schools of sculpture have been Identified in the research area. it is found that architectural sculpture does not appear to be directly related to any of the schools: only free-standing sculpture shows such cohesion. The geographical distribution of each school was compared with our understanding of land divisions. It was found that the schools do not appear to relate to any ecclesiastical provision, but to secular land units or settlement groups. In most cases these are likely to have been those existing during the period of Viking settlement The distribution of the sculpture is compared with our limited historical knowledge and this suggests that most of the monuments can be dated to the first half of the tenth century. They may have been erected as a result of the reconquest of Viking held territory, by the English. Evidence, mainly from the types of stone used in the manufacture of the monuments, suggests that they were likely to have been crafted at each site and were not the product of centralised 'workshops'.