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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

I'm afraid it's really a much more prosaic story. She's (probably) a
medieval nun from the convent of St Radegund in Cambridge. The convent
was closed down in 1496 to provide the buildings and endowment for the
college. In the late 1990s building work (without a proper
archaeological assessment, it would seem) hacked into a graveyard: the
bucket of the digging machine came up dripping with skulls and bones.
They were all adult females, so it was concluded that they had found the
nuns' graveyard. The skull on my shelf still has the holes from the
prongs of the digger (very useful - one can use them to show the
difference between recent damage and old worm-abraded edges like the
teeth cavities). 

Being completely decontextualised and unidentifiable she wasn't much use
to the archaeologists. She was given as a gift to one young man who was
leaving to join our teaching team. She was actually a bit modern for him
(he'd better be nameless but he's a Neolithic specialist and has since
gone on to much greater things). So he passed her on to me. 

She has been a valued member of the teaching team for many years. Of
course, all this is highly illegal and I do also wonder about the ethics
of it - but she was a Benedictine, they are a teaching order, she's
still teaching ... 

Now I am retiring I wonder what I should do with her. Reburial at the
local convent? But she is also a member of the family - for several
months in the winter of 2014/15 she shared her shelf with my mother's
ashes. It's surprisingly difficult to let her go.

Maddy

---
Prof. Madeleine Gray
University of South Wales
http://www.heritagetortoise.co.uk
http://twitter.com/heritagepilgrim

'The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language
of the living' (T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding) 

On 14/08/2016 17:09, Karen Schousboe wrote:

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture Are we not children deserving such an amazing bedtime story? Please... 
> 
> Best, Karen
> 
> _____________________________ 
> 
> WWW.MEDIEVALHISTORIES.COM [1] 
> 
> Subscribe to our NEWSLETTER and 
> get the MEDIEVAL NEWS about exhibitions, books, research and finds  
> 
> On 14 Aug 2016, at 15:19, Bill Schipper <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
> 
> But we love stories- especially long ones involving real skulls!
> 
> Sent from my iPhone 
> 
> On Aug 14, 2016, at 4:14 AM, David Standing <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
> 
> It's quite a long story! 
> 
> However, the skull makes a great visual aid while teaching ten year olds what archaeology is all about. 
> 
> I can still hear their gasps as I pulled the skull out of the box!
> 
> On 13 Aug 2016 17:54, "Genevra Kornbluth" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
> 
> David, you can't pass along that rumor and stop there! Details!
> 
> On 8/13/2016 11:55 AM, David Standing wrote: medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
> 
> It is rumoured that Maddy has saint Radegunds skull, in a box, above her desk. 
> 
> I am not joking...
> 
> On 13 Aug 2016 15:33, "Genevra Kornbluth" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
> 
> Unfortunately I have no photos-- I haven't been to Poitiers, and actually I have not even been able to see the catalogue, which seems not to be in any American library. I know that the lectern is still kept in Poitiers, but that's about it. Sorry!
> Perhaps someone who knows Poitiers can help?
> Genevra
> 
> On 8/13/2016 9:43 AM, Karen Schousboe wrote: medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
> Thank you Genevra!  
> Do you happen to know whether there is access to the relics of her life - I have tried to discover where they are kept but has not been able to figure it out (perhaps you had taken photos of them :-) 
> 
> Best, Karen
> 
> _____________________________ 
> 
> WWW.MEDIEVALHISTORIES.COM [2] 
> 
> Subscribe to our NEWSLETTER and 
> get the MEDIEVAL NEWS about exhibitions, books, research and finds  
> 
> On 13 Aug 2016, at 15:13, Genevra Kornbluth <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
> 
> There was a Radegund exhibition in Erfurt (her birthplace) in 2006/7. 
> http://www.stadtmuseum-erfurt.de/sonderausstellungen/radegunde.html [3]
> I unfortunately did not see it, but there is a catalogue:
> Hardy Eidam and Gudrun Noll, _Radegunde: ein Frauenschicksal zwischen Mord und Askese. 24. September 2006 bis 7. Januar 2007 im Stadtmuseum Erfurt - Haus zum Stockfisch_. Erfurt: Druck und ReproVerl., 2006.
> RI gives a list of essays:
> http://opac.regesta-imperii.de/lang_de/anzeige.php?sammelwerk=Radegunde+-+ein+Frauenschicksal+zwischen+Mord+und+Askese [4]
> best,
> Genevra
> 
> On 8/13/2016 2:58 AM, John Dillon wrote: 
> 
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
> 
> Radegund (d. 587; also Radegund of Poitiers, Radegund of Thüringen; in Latin, Radegundis) was a daughter of a king of the Thuringian Franks who had been killed by, and succeeded by, one of his brothers only to be slain in his turn by Chlotar I in 531 before Radegund was twelve.  Chlotar brought the young princess back with him to Neustria and, intending to marry her at some time in the indefinite future, had her educated according to her station at his villa near Athies in the Vermandois.  Despite reluctance on Radegund's part (this is sometimes considered to have been an early indicator of her attraction to a monastic vocation), the intended nuptials took place probably a little before 540.  About ten years later, after Chlotar had murdered Radegund's brother, she fled the court and had herself consecrated deaconess at Noyon by its bishop St. Medard.
> 
> Now under the protection of the church, Radegund withdrew to a villa in Poitou and soon founded a monastery for women in the vicinity of Poitiers, installing her adopted daughter, St. Agnes of Poitiers, as its abbess.  Probably to evade supervision by the local bishop, Radegund and Agnes affiliated their house with the community of St. Caesarius of Arles and adopted a version of the latter's rule forbidding sisters to leave a convent once they had entered religion there.  It is not clear when Radegund actually entered her monastery at Poitou (she may have waited until Chlotar's death in 561).  In 567 she acquired a lifelong acolyte in the form of the North Italian poet St. Venantius Fortunatus, who had come on pilgrimage to St. Martin and who stayed on to enjoy Radegund's patronage.  One of her early Vitae (BHL 7048) is by him; the other is by one of her nuns, Baudonivia (BHL 7049).
> 
> St. Gregory of Tours officiated at Radegund's funeral.  She was laid to rest in an extramural church subsequently named for her.  Her cult was immediate and her tomb drew many pilgrims.  In the ninth century both Radegund and St. Agnes of Poitiers were canonized by Elevatio.  Her cult spread widely in the Latin West.  Radegund is a patron saint of Jesus College, Cambridge (founded on land and buildings of a convent dedicated to the BVM and to her, it uses part of the latter's church as its chapel).
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Links:
------
[1] http://www.medievalhistories.com
[2] http://www.medievalhistories.com/
[3] http://www.stadtmuseum-erfurt.de/sonderausstellungen/radegunde.html
[4]
http://opac.regesta-imperii.de/lang_de/anzeige.php?sammelwerk=Radegunde+-+ein+Frauenschicksal+zwischen+Mord+und+Askese
[5] http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/medieval-religion

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