In January 2015 I took the opportunity to visit Brompton church and its famous bear-guarded hogback stones. These recumbent stone monuments are usually dated to the 10th/early 11th centuries and hence are often regarded as ‘Viking colonial’ grave-covers or tombs.
“New Thoughts on Hogbacks”
I was proud to address the Brompton Heritage Group about their striking early medieval monuments and their importance including the splendid church warden, Doreen Newcombe, organiser Unity Stack, and I got to meet a familiar face from my alma mater the University of Reading;, retired archaeological illustrator Margaret Matthews.
The church hall was packed with around 60 people. I presented them my views on how hogbacks worked as early medieval technologies of remembrance: material media for constructing senses of identity and place through social memory. I addressed specifically,
- hogbacks as solid space: published in my 2015 edited collection here;
- hogbacks as part of a meshwork of canopied and beast-guarded material forms circulating in the Viking world, recently published here;
- a reinterpretation of the West Kirby hogback, a piece I discuss here and soon to be published in the Antiquaries Journal.
Together, the talk provided an overview of how far my thinking on these monuments has developed over recent years in thinking about hogbacks’ mnemonic agency.
I’ve done quite a few talks about hogbacks at public venues, as discussed before on this blog here. I’ve decided this one was my last-but-one. I’ll come back to the topic once again, but not for now I simly felt privileged to talk at the spiritual home of hogbacks to the community of Brompton about their very special stones.