Our inspiration comes from Northumbria’s Golden Age, a time when nearby Gefrin (Yeavering) was the 7th Century summer residence of its Anglo Saxon Kings and Queens; a time when kingdoms were defined by people not geography; a time when royalty were judged by their generosity not their wealth; a time when people travelled from North Africa, Europe, and Scandinavia to be part of the rich culture of the Northumbrian court; a time of welcome, celebration and hospitality.
Discovered in 1949, but now pasture, the historical site of Gefrin (Yeavering), was excavated by archaeologist Brian Hope-Taylor between 1953-1962 revealing a huge complex of large timber halls, a unique wooden grandstand and support buildings that make the palace one the most important archaeological sites of the 20th Century.
This was the home of Aethelfrith, Edwin and Aethelburga, the saintly Oswald, and his younger brother Oswy. For a century this ‘field’ became the stage for some of the most momentous events in early northern English history, including the first conversions to Christianity.
Bede, writing his Ecclesiastical History of the English People in AD 731, recounts a time when Edwin and his queen Aethelburga were residing at Yeavering, where her Italian bishop, Paulinus, spent 36 days: ‘Catechising and baptising: during which days, from morning to night, he did nothing else but instruct the crowds who flocked to him from every village and district in the teaching of Christ, and when instructed, he washed them in the water of absolution in the river Glen, nearby’.
Today the scheduled archaeological site at Yeavering is under the ownership and management of The Gefrin Trust. The Trust was formed to ensure the future preservation of the site through sympathetic management, conservation, and investigation. We are working in partnership with The Gefrin Trust to further illuminate the importance of the archaeological site and the Anglo Saxon artefacts within our museum exhibition and collection, and our great hall experience. To find out more, book tickets to visit the Ad Gefrin experience.
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