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CHAPTER 2 - ‘But where is Norfolk?’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2013

T. A. Heslop
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Elizabeth Mellings
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Margit Thøfner
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

Anybody participating in a project dealing with faith should start with a confession of faith, even if the faith in question seems to be related mainly to intellectual inquiry. This essay posits that the geographical and geological situation of a place influences how the people living in that place are directed to give shape to their beliefs and to the material and spiritual artefacts through which these beliefs are represented. In analysing the situation in Norfolk, I will be reviewing several types of data which are essential to such an enterprise.

The first is foregrounding Norfolk's geographical position in the world: where is Norfolk? Norfolk's position on the map of the world had a determining role in its history, including its religious history. A second set of data is that relating to what is under Norfolk, its geology: what is Norfolk made of? Even a quick glance at Ashwin and Davison's maps shows an immediate relationship between the cultural finds (dotted) and the geology. For example, in the Fens, which were hardly habitable before the nineteenth century, there are only non-conformist chapels. The abundance of faith-related sites in the river valleys provides another example of a particular geographical given influencing the cultural situation. A third set of data which may help us to define traits distinct to Norfolk is that relating to the movement of people and the spiritual artefacts that they brought and left in Norfolk, and thus added to the local perceptions and belief systems.

Type
Chapter
Information
Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia
From Prehistory to the Present
, pp. 19 - 29
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2012

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