Hagiography at the Frontiers: Jocelin of Furness and Insular Politics (Resubmission)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Irish Studies

Abstract

The main focus of this project is to produce a book about Jocelin of Furness, one of the most influential hagiographers of the Insular Middle Ages who lived at the turn of the thirteenth century. Four substantial Lives composed by Jocelin survive, namely of St Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), St Kentigern (patron saint of Glasgow), St Waltheof (abbot of Melrose), and St Helena of Britain (mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great). Jocelin worked under the patronage of prominent British and Irish ecclesiastical and secular leaders. These included Jocelin, bishop of Glasgow; Patrick, abbot of Melrose; and John de Courcy, conqueror of Ulster.

Jocelin's significance as a historical figure has been somewhat overlooked (although the significance of his saintly biographies is clear). No overview of his work has yet been published, perhaps because his work ranged across modern political boundaries. Neither Jocelin nor his writings belong to the history of one nation. As an author he displayed familiarity with Gaelic, English, French and Latin. Scholars have disagreed over whether he was English, Scottish, Irish or Manx, for his work also shows sympathy with the identities of different political groups. It is precisely to explore the cross-cultural significance of Jocelin's output that this project is being proposed. Jocelin wrote about relations between England, Ireland, Scotland and the Brittonic world at a time when national identities were still at a formative stage in their development. He did so under the influence of broader currents of ecclesiastical reform and political ideology and the concerns and connections of his community in Furness.

The project results will include a book containing complete editions and translations of two of Jocelin's Lives (The 'Life of Saint Waltheof' and the 'Life of Saint Helena') thus making these primary sources available for further research. Further chapters will cast light on the geographical and cultural context of Jocelin's works with a study of the cross cultural connections of medieval Furness and the Abbey (which had daughter houses in England, Ireland and the Isle of Man). The political circumstances of Jocelin's compositions will also be explored. Rather than mining hagiography as a source of 'facts' about saints, Jocelin's texts can be viewed as a commentary on contemporary cross-border relations. His works can provide an alternative viewpoint to charters and chronicles. Jocelin himself will be compared with other medieval hagiographers of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries whose cultural interests were split between rival political groups.

In addition to producing a book, this project will raise awareness of Jocelin's work through the publication of an illustrated pamphlet and through a series of knowledge transfer activities, including a two-day conference, lectures and school visits.
The potential applications and benefits of this project are varied. It will promote research by making primary sources available to a wider audience, by providing the first overview of the career of Jocelin as a significant medieval author, and by giving a new perspective on frontier relations. This project will also highlight the historical significance of Furness Abbey. The site is in a relatively deprived borough within the UK (see government statistics http://www.barrowbc.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=1572&theme=default). The heritage industry provides significant employment in South Cumbria and research on the area's medieval past can be directed in a positive way in partnership with the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society (See 'Project Partners'), local organisations and visitor attractions. Jocelin's writings also bear on the local history of other places including Glasgow, Melrose, Ulster and the Isle of Man. They invite consideration of thecomplex relationship between different Insular polities in the Middle Ages.

Planned Impact

WHO WILL BENEFIT? HOW?

The most easily identifed non-academic beneficiaries of this project are people in the Furness peninsula. This project will promote the history and significance of a local heritage site. Furness abbey is a focus for community identity and local pride, with images of the ruins often appearing on local community websites and literature. The landscape around Furness is dominated by the interplay of sea and land and so the maritime culture and heritage of the area is constantly on show and a source of local interest. This project emphasises the historic connections of Furness across the Irish Sea. In more recent times Barrow-in-Furness developed as as an industrial centre for ship-buidling and many local families are descended from Irish and Manx immigrants. This project offers the potential for people's immediate sense of heritage and identity to be tied in to the medieval past. This project will enhance the resources available to learn about local history and it will promote an inclusive view of the region's history.

Local heritage sites, in particular Furness Abbey and the Dock Museum, will benefit from research which can inform and engage visitors. Tourism has provided a major source of employment in the area following the decline of heavy industry. Initial contacts which have been made with local heritage sites concerning this project have elicited overwhelmingly positive responses and this will assist greatly in knowledge transfer. The publicity generated by this project will help increase visitor numbers, particularly at the time of the CWAAS funded conference which will be held at the Abbey House Hotel, next to Furness Abbey.

Visitors to local heritage sites will potentially benefit from knowledge acquired from this project. Patrons of Furness Abbey are already well provided with information about the site via site panels, a guide book and an audio tour. Naturally emphasis is placed on interpreting the physical remains of the site, and the role of the abbey in the local economy during the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, an enhanced understanding of the mental and cultural landscape in which the monks lived may enrich the visitors' experiences by providing a new angle into the abbey's past. Knowledge transfer would be assisted by the plan to work with local children to mount an temporary exhibition in the Abbey's educational resources room to explore this dimension, in addition to the proposed public lectures and school visits.

There is a potential interest in Jocelin's life and works at a number of locations, as they relate to the medieval history of Cumbria, Glasgow, Melrose, and Ulster (work on early saints' cults by Davies, Downham and Edmonds has generated non-academic enquiries and interest in different parts of Britain which encourages this view). An illustrated pamphlet would be an effective way of reaching this geographically diffuse audience, as well as publicising the project through the media and posting details on relevant local history and community websites. History is often a medium through which cross-border relations are interpreted. One of the potential strengths of the project is its ability to highlight both connections and conflicts between Insular polities during the Middle Ages, rather than offering a simplified or one-sided narrative.


WHAT WILL BE DONE TO ENSURE THEY BENEFIT?

The attached 'Impact Plan' provides a detailed response to this question. Two approaches will be employed:
1) Knowledge transfer by direct communication. This includes engaging the research team directly with the public through the conference, lectures to local societies, and school visits,
2) Indirect communication. The co-authored book will become an accessible resource in local libraries and archives. The illustrated pamphlet will be affordable and directed towards a general audien

Publications

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Kirk, T. (2014) Headland History in Research Horizons: Pioneering research from the University of Cambridge

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Sperber, I. The Life of St Helena of Britain by Jocelin of Furness (Trans.) in Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society

 
Description One of the key methodological contributions of this project is the fact that it has crossed traditional historiographical divides. The Furness peninsula now lies in England, and so medieval historians have tended to set Furness's history in the context of governmental developments in the English realm. This project has been fully informed by Irish, Scottish and Manx historiography, and has therefore been able to explore a relatively neglected dimension of Furness's history. The project has also focused on several of the key sources for Furness Abbey, and has therefore set the understanding of the abbey's history on a more secure footing. For example, the investigation of the Furness filiation has led to the reappraisal of the account of the emergence of the Furness filiation at the front of the Furness Coucher Book. This account has been viewed with some suspicion since it was copied into the Coucher Book in the fifteenth century, but it has been possible to demonstrate that the account drew on earlier sources, including an early thirteenth-century narrative of the foundation of Erenagh and Inch Abbeys. This in turn reveals that texts were transmitted from Furness's daughter house, Inch Abbey, to Furness Abbey itself.



The project aims and outputs have shifted due to the generosity of Professor Richard Sharpe (University of Oxford) in providing access to Ludwig Bieler's incomplete edition of the Life of St Patrick by Jocelin of Furness which Bieler had been working on shortly before his death. The project therefore brings the final work of this eminent medieval Latin scholar to completion and brings a very important text to light which had been relatively untouched for decades. The work will be published by the Pontifical Institute in Toronto. The availability of this text will foster further study of Jocelin's work.



The first modern critical edition of the Life of St Patrick (it was last edited by the Bollandists in the seventeeth century). The work provides a significant leap forward in Patrician Studies, medieval hagiography and Irish Sea Studies. The edition is accompanied by an up to date English translation (the last published translation of the work dates to the mid-nineteenth century). The notes and accompanying text identify names, places and the sources of Jocelin's uita. The commentary illustrates how Patrician hagiography has developed from the seventh century until the twelfth century. A study of the text of Jocelin's Life of Patrick reveals significant parallels with the writings of another prominent twelfth century hagiographer Gerald of Wales and it is hoped that further exploration will be made of the links beyond the present study.



The first published translation of the 'Life of St Helena' by Jocelin of Furness. This uita was composed in 1198×1207 under the patronage of an unidentified religious community dedicated to the saint. The text is extant in three fourteenth-century manuscript. It has recently been edited by Antonina Harbus in Helena of Britain in Medieval Legend (Cambridge, 2002). Harbus's edition will provide the basis for the first published translation of this Life.
Exploitation Route The finished edition of the Life of St Patrick and the conference proceedings will be of use not only to academics but also to everyone interested in the history of Furness and its daughter-houses, especially those in Ireland and the Isle of Man. Also those interested in the legend of St Patrick (one of the few mediaeval saints who are still well known among the general public) will be happy to see that the last major piece of mediaeval writing related to Patrick finally made accessible in a modern edition and translation.



The Irish-Sea link has influenced the history of the Furness peninsula from prehistoric to modern times. The findings of the project can therefore be incorporated into a wider-ranging understanding of local history that embraces both the 'English' and 'Irish-Sea dimensions of the history of the Furness peninsula. There is considerable interest in Furness's medieval history at the moment as a result of the discovery of a new Viking-Age hoard on the peninsula in 2011 and the abbot's grave in 2012. Thus, interest in medieval history is currently very strong locally.



The dissemination of the project's findings through local history societies and schools has found a receptive audience, demonstrating its educational value and interest as well as highlighting historic links across the Irish Sea and the cultural diversity of medieval societies.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Leisure Activities/ including Sports/ Recreation and Tourism,Culture/ Heritage/ Museums and Collections

URL http://www.liv.ac.uk/irish/Hagiography/index.htm
 
Description 1. Clare Downham was an academic consultant for the BBC 1 series 'Great British Stories: Regional Histories' episode on the 'Furness Journey'. Her scheduled interview at Furness Abbey for the programme in May 2012 had to be cancelled due to illness. The project work was nevertheless a springboard for some programme content about Furness Abbey and the cultural diversity of the Furness peninsular in the Middle Ages. Clare's article article about the project, called 'Britain's Medieval Identity Crisis', BBC History Magazine in March 2012, preceded the broadcast. Publicity arising from the Project conference at Furness, included radio interviews and newspaper interviews and summaries (including BBC Radio Cumbria, The Westmoreland Gazette and the North West Evening News). This brought the project to the wider attention of the inhabitants of north-west England, and promoted interest in the heritage of the Furness Peninsula. As per description above. 2. The Project's Impact strategy aimed to improve knowledge of Furness Abbey and the writer Jocelin of Furness in the local area. This was of potential benefit since Furness Abbey is one of the main tourist attractions in the South Lakeland area. The local audience was engaged by talks to historical societies. Clare Downham has given presentations to the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society AGM in April 2010, to the 'Medieval Cumbria' day conference at Lancaster University in February 2011. She also gave the annual Bridekirk Lecture in June 2012 on cross Irish-Sea connections. Dr Fiona Edmonds will present the findings of the project to the Ingleborough Archaeology Group in April 2013 (meeting in Ingleton, North Yorkshire). Members of local history societies attended the project's day conference 'Medieval Furness: Texts and Contexts' in July 2011. The conference was partly funded and advertised through CWAAS which is the main local history society in the region. Information about the project was published in CWAAS newsletters and online. As per description above.
Sector Cultural
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Annual St Patrick's Day Lecture 
Organisation Shenanigans Irish Bar
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Annual St Patrick's Day Breakfast Lecture 2014, 2015, 2016. Includes tales from The Life of ST Patrick by Jocelin of Furness.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of venue and advertising
Impact Event featured in the 'Irish Post' Newspaper March 18 2015 http://irishpost.co.uk/st-patricks-celebrations-took-on-a-mythical-theme-in-liverpool-yesterday/
Start Year 2014
 
Description Annual St Patrick's Day Lecture 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Department Institute of Irish Studies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Annual St Patrick's Day Breakfast Lecture 2014, 2015, 2016. Includes tales from The Life of ST Patrick by Jocelin of Furness.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of venue and advertising
Impact Event featured in the 'Irish Post' Newspaper March 18 2015 http://irishpost.co.uk/st-patricks-celebrations-took-on-a-mythical-theme-in-liverpool-yesterday/
Start Year 2014
 
Description 'Jocelin of Furness' in 'Research Horizons' magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Article in 'Research Horizons: Pioneering research from the University of Cambridge' issue 23, pp.12-13. The article results from an interview with Fiona Edmonds
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://issuu.com/uni_cambridge/docs/issue_23_research_horizons/1?e=1892280/6588944
 
Description 'The Great British Story: Furness Journey' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact TV programme aired on BBC1 12 June 2012 presented by Michael Wood.

Clare Downham consulted by Michael Wood and Sally Williams (presenter) scheduled interview had to be cancelled due to viral infection.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6101192/
 
Description BBC Radio Cumbria Breakfast Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Live Interview on breakfast time radio 8 July 2011 to share information about the Project Conference at the Abbey Hotel, Furness.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Lecture (Ranulph Higden Society) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 26/4/14 Lecture Presented by Clare Downham to the Ranulph Higden Local History Society at Keele University entitled 'The Saints' Lives of Jocelin of Furness'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ranulfhigden.org.uk/
 
Description Lecture on the Lives of St Patrick (Shenanigan's Irish Bar, Liverpool) March 17, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A breakfast lecture on the Lives of St Patrick at Shenanigan's Bar Liverpool on St Patrick's Day.

Event reported on in 'The Irish Post' see URL below.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://irishpost.co.uk/st-patricks-celebrations-took-on-a-mythical-theme-in-liverpool-yesterday/
 
Description Lecture on the cult of St Patrick in NW England, 17 March 2016, Shenanigan's Irish Bar, Liverpool 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lecture on the cult of St Patrick in NW England, 17 March 2016, Shenanigan's Irish Bar, Liverpool as part of a series of morning events to celebrate St Patrick's day which included literary readings, dance and song. The event has expanded since these lectures first began in 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Public Lecture (Forum Theatre, Barrow-in-Furness) by Fiona Edmonds 'Sea-kings and Saints' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Fiona Edmonds (Co-I) presented a public lecture in the Forum theatre, Barrow-in-Furness 12 July 2016 at the invitation of the history re-enactment society 'Iron Shepherds'. This drew on research from the AHRC project highlighting links across the Irish Sea during the twelfth century linked to the writings of Jocelin of Furness. The event was well attended and a summary of the lecture was printed in the North West Evening Mail (see URL below)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.nwemail.co.uk/Furness-links-with-the-Viking-world-cc6001a9-509e-4a1a-b8d6-0c010cd19de6-ds
 
Description School Visit: Cartmel Priory School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation about the project and it's findings to sixth form students, the school is close to Barrow-in-Funress and questions related to local heritage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description School Visit: Liverpool College 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation about the project and it's findings to all the College's sixth form students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description School Visit: Manchester Grammar School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation related to the project and it's findings to the school's History Society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description School Visit: Westholme School, Lancashire 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Description of research project to school children which sparked questions and discussion afterwards.

Desciption of the Jocelin of Furness project given to sixth form students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description School Visit: Winstanley College 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation about the project and it's findings to sixth form students with discussion after.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description St Patrick and His Cult 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Invited lecture presented at Shenanigans Irish Bar, Liverpool for their St Patrick's Day breakfast 2014
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/irish-studies/research/hagiography/news-and-events/