The Scop

   The Anglo-Saxons had an 'oral tradition', which means they did not write anything down. They had story-tellers with fantastic memories who could recite their histories at any given time. These story-tellers may have travelled from village to village spreading news too.

   The children are visited by Eadgyth the Scop (pronounced 'shop') or story-teller, in full period costume who describes her role in society, allows them to handle some reproduction objects and then tells a story which features those objects. The scene is set with a short piece of Anglo-Saxon music.
   The story told here is an adaptation of part of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, where Beowulf meets and defeats the dragon, but is wounded himself and dies. . The translation is in alliterative form and follows closely the original Old English text, which was written down some time between the 7th to 11th century. Beowulf himself is believed to be a 6th century prince!
   There is a possible connection between the story of Beowulf and King Raedwald - allegedly buried at Sutton Hoo.


   After the story, the children can see what Beowulf may have looked like by examining photographs of 'Raedwald' (who is seen regularly at Sutton Hoo and parts of whose costume I made) and the Sutton Hoo treasure.

   As an optional extra the children can meet Eadmund * - a real life warrior, and volunteers will be able to handle Eadmund's weapons and armour.

   Finally, the mead-horn is passed around for brave volunteers to try a drink of non-alcoholic mead (carried by a host and wiped after each drinker with a food safe wipe).
* when available

   Teachers resource pack includes details about the original Beowulf manuscript and where other interpretations / translations of the story can be found, a photocopyable picture for the children to colour in and one or two other paper activities.

Key Facts:
Oral tradition - spoken not written; Beowulf manuscript written in England sometime between 650 and 999 AD; Possible link between Geats of Scandinavia and Sutton Hoo; Manuscript on display in the British Library; How stories reflect life and don't always have a happy ending
Other Topics:
Cultural Traditions; Weapons and Armour; Ancient Music; Honour of Battle; Hospitality
Preferred Size:
minimum 25
7 years upwards
1 hour (story takes 20 minutes)
£50 (excluding mileage and travel costs); * Eadmund - additional £60
area large enough for whole group to be seated
Rosie (Glenn available on request - as Beowulf)