Friday, 28 August 2009

Repton /Hreapandune: Place in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series ****




Repton is a large village cum small town, lying on the south bank of the river Trent, some 8 miles from Derby. Repton is known and sign posted as the capital of Mercia.
St Wystans Church contains a unique Saxon crypt which is one of the most important surviving pieces of Saxon architecture in England.

The Church was the burial place of Mercian Kings. It dates from around 750 AD and contains the tombs of King Ethelbald of Mercia(ad757), King Wiglaf in AD840 and his grandson St Wystan who was brutally murdered. The crypt became a place of pilgramage.
A monastery had been founded following the arrival of Christianity in Mercia around AD653. It was sacked by the Danes, lay in ruins for 200 years and never rebuilt, but the crypt survived and a church was built on the old site. Its 212 ft spire is a land mark for miles around.
A priory was founded in Repton about 1172 but was dissolved at the Reformation. On the site of the prioy ruins, Repton School was established under the will of Sir John Port of Etwall in 1557.The priory arch and the west wing of the cloister court now form the entrance to the school.
Under the headship of Dr Pears in 1854-74, Repton school grew in fame and reputation as well as physically.



Repton Market Cross




There are many fine old buildings in the town, some connected with the school. The restored, market cross in the town centre was said to have been where Christianity was first preached in the Midlands. Until the end of the 19th century regular markets took place in the area between the cross and the priory arch. Repton is a large village in Derbyshire, England between Derby and Burton upon Trent, situated at the edge of the River Trent floodplain.



It was the traditional royal burial place of the kings of Mercia, one of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Christianity was reintroduced to the Midlands at Repton, where the Mercian royal family, under Peada, were converted to Christianity in 653. Soon a double abbey under an Abbess had been constructed.
The centre of the village is dominated by the Church of Saint Wystan, also called Wigstan of Mercia, which is notable for its Saxon crypt. Built in the 8th century, the Repton crypt was to serve as a mausoleum for the Mercian royal family. Wigstan was a prince of Mercia who was murdered by his guardian in 850, under the reign of Wiglaf. His remains were buried in the crypt at Repton and miracles were ascribed to them. Repton proceeded to become a place of pilgrimage; Wigstan was later sanctified, and became the patron Saint of the church.
Repton was the original seat of Christianity in the English Midlands, though in 669 the Bishop of Mercia moved his See from Repton to Lichfield. Offa, King of Mercia seemed to resent his own bishops paying allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent who, whilst under Offa's control, was not of his own kingdom of Mercia. Offa therefore created his own archbishopric in Lichfield, which presided over all the bishops from the Humber to the Thames. Repton thus became an origin for a third split in the English Church: Canterbury, York and Lichfield. This lasted for only 16 years however, before Mercia returned to being under the Archbishopric of Canterbury.
Remains of a priory founded in 1172 have been incorporated into the buildings of Repton School, a public school established in 1557.

Notable Resident

A 19th century engraving of the crypt at Repton where Æthelbald was interred.



Æthelbald King of Mercia was interred here in 797 AD. Beornrad of Mercia was buried here Saint Guthlac of Croyland was a monk here in c 697 AD King Wiglaf of Mercia was buried here King Wigstan of Mercia was reburied here

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