The Middle Ages was also the period of Catholic England. The old stereotypes of a decadent, corrupt and discredited medieval Catholicism being pushed aside by a rational and pure Protestantism have been challenged by a recent generation of scholars. Failure to communicate the heterogeneity of the Middle Ages - when the Romano-British, the Celt, the Viking and the Catholic (not just the Anglo-Saxon) played vital roles in the construction of England and the English - means that the search for identity by those who will form the communities of England in the 21st century will lead only to those myths which propped up Empire - hardly an appropriate grounding for England's new place within Europe and the United Kingdom.
DR JOHN MORELAND
Department of Archaeology and Prehistory, University of SheffieldReuse content