ISAS Conference, 2007

University of London, England

The thirteenth ISAS meeting was held at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, from July 30 to August 4, 2007. The conference theme was ‘Anglo-Saxon Traces: Her mon mæg giet gesion hiora swæð’, and centred on remembering and celebrating England’s Anglo-Saxon past. Some sixty speakers presented their work. Conference papers were given by L. Abrams, D. Anlezark, D. Banham, F. M. Biggs, V. Bristow, J. C. Conde-Silvestre, P. W. Conner, E. Corradini, O. Da Rold, J. Davies, P. Dendle, N. G. Discenza, M. Drout, C. Farr, C. Fern, M. Godden, A. diP. Healey, J. Hewish Mullins, S. Hirst,  J. Jenkyns,  M. Jessop, K. Jolly, C. Karkov, C. Lee, R. Mortimer, R. Norris, R. North, A. Orchard, J. O’Reilly, M. D. Pérez-Raja, M. Scott, D. Scully, S. T. Smith, J. Stodnick, P. A. Stokes, M. Swan, E. Treharne, G. Thomas, E. V. Thornbury, H. Walda, B. Watson, J. Westgard, L. Weston, and S. Zacher. Reports were given on The Old English Newsletter Online: Present State and Future Plans (R. M. Liuzza), The Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain c. 700-1450: origins, identification, contexts and change  (G. R. Owen-Crocker, L. Sylvester, S. Rutten), Leornungcræft: Manuscripts and Texts used for Instruction in Anglo-Saxon England (P. Lendinara, F. Alcamesi, C. Giliberto, L. Teresi), Early English Laws (B. O’Brien) and the Lynne Grundy Trust (S. Lee), with further informal reports on The Alfredian Boethius Project (S. Irvine, R. Jayatilaka) and PASE The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (S. Baxter). Plenary lectures were given by Anton Sharer and Julia Crick. Throughout the week examples of the holdings of the University of London palaeography collection, curated by Mura Ghosh, were on display towards the front of the Beveridge Hall. At the British Library there was a special display case in the Treasures Gallery to coincide with the conference; among its contents was the recently purchased Liber de Hyda.

ISAS members arrived in London even before the conference began, for example to take part in a private viewing of some of the most famous early ivories arranged at the Victoria and Albert Museum by Paul Williamson. On the Sunday evening, a Festschrift party in honour of Éamonn Ó Carragáin, sponsored by Brepols Publishers and the Department of English, University College Cork, drew together many delegates. On Monday evening the Institute of English Studies and the Institute of Historical Research hosted a reception in Senate House. The conference visited Gallery 41 at the British Museum on Tuesday evening, where Leslie Webster introduced some of its treasures; the Coenwulf penny was brought in especially for the evening from display many miles away by Gareth Williams. On Wednesday the conference visited Sutton Hoo, where Angela Evans, James Graham-Campbell, Angus Wainwright and Leslie Webster acted as guides to the exhibitions and monument. A reception at King’s College (hosted by the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies and by the History and English departments) preceded the conference dinner, also at King’s College; the after-dinner speaker David Johnson reported on a ‘newly discovered’ Visio Alfredi in his talk ‘Mucking about in the Marshes: Alfred in Dialogue’. On the final evening the conference visited Lambeth Palace Library, where a special exhibition Lambeth Palace Library and its Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts was mounted.

After the conference a group headed north early on Saturday afternoon to the eighth-century church at Brixworth, where Susan Rankin talked about the experience of medieval music in the Anglo-Saxon church and the content of pieces of chant sung by Jesse Billett and Matthew Ward, and discussion of the church was led by Rosemary Cramp, Richard Gem and David Parsons. Sunday was a busy day. We went first to view eighth- and ninth-century sculptures at Breedon-on-the-Hill, with Michelle Brown and Jane Hawkes, moving on to Lichfield Cathedral. There Michelle Brown discussed the recently discovered Lichfield angel and, together with Pat Bancroft (Cathedral Librarian), displayed the Lichfield Gospels. The day finished at Repton, where discussion of the ninth-century crypt and of archaeological remains was led by Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle, Martin Biddle and Richard Gem.

The Advisory Board and officers met several times to consider the business of the Society. Stacy S. Klein was elected Executive Director, succeeding David Johnson. Bill  Schipper assumed the post of President, succeeding Jane Roberts. John D. Niles assumed the post of First Vice-President. Honorary memberships were awarded to Margaret Clunies-Ross, Alger N. Doane, Michael Lapidge, Richard Pfaff and Leslie Webster. The Advisory Board established procedures for the publication of themed volumes arising substantially from ISAS conferences. Madison, Wisconsin was chosen as the venue for the 2011 conference.