Has everyone else finished their Leeds reports yet? Must be time for me to start then! Leeds, in this instance, being for those new to the blog where each year the principal European conference on medieval studies is held, the International Medieval Congress. I have been going for many years and intend to continue to for a while yet, though this coming year taking less active a role. Anyway. I had an excellent Leeds this year but it started early, because for once I had time to go on one of the excursions that are arranged as part of the conference, which was to Whitby. I’d been to Whitby before for a friend’s wedding during the Goth Weekend, and that was, shall we say, not as medieval as it sounds except that as I recall I spent most of the weekend in our room minding my infant son and reading Pauline Stafford’s Unification and Conquest as teaching preparation. In particular, I never got a proper look round the Abbey.
As you can see, I fixed that. The abbey is largely thirteenth-century and largely ruined, though more of it stood than now does until 1914, when a German cruiser squadron bombarding the East Coast managed to put this hole in a wall.
Not totally clear what they were aiming at, but that’s what they got, apparently. These and other details were supplied by our excellent guide, Glynn Coppack, and we had plenty of time to wander around and appreciate details by ourselves. I took loads of pictures, and can’t share them all, but there are some I took with particular people or facets in mind, so I’ll put them below the cut, along with one snapped by and kindly shared by the estimable Kathleen Neal, international medievalist extraordinaire, famed dancer and warmly regarded by all who know her, who had booked on the same trip by coincidence and who afforded me that vital asset for tourism, someone to point cool stuff out to. There was plenty… Continue reading