The “Historical” in Fiction

In the steps of Augustine thru France 

THERE ARE MANY PLACES – stretching from Rome to Canterbury – that have associations with his missionary journey to the Anglo-Saxon peoples of England.
This is the main purpose for this pilgrimage guide – to help us follow in his footsteps, to stand where he stood, perhaps to see what he saw, to think his thoughts after him, and discover what may be helpful for our own life-journey today. Our main aim of this particular quest was to follow St. Augustine as he journeyed through ancient Francia (now present-day France) on his way to England, and to learn what we can about the journey first undertaken in AD 596-7.
It seemed to us that this would not only bring to life our own understanding of events that took place over 1,400 years ago, but also that this exploration might be helpful to others who follow some or all of Augustine’s journey through sixth-century France. We have divided the journey into a number of smaller, more manageable stages to describe what Augustine and his companions from Rome might have seen as they journeyed from the south to the north of ancient Francia. On the way, historical details of the period help to enrich our understanding of events. Enjoy the journey!”

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Augustine of Canterbury: Leadership, Mission and Legacy


Augustine’s mission to Roman Britain in 597 at the behest of Pope Gregory the Great was one of the pivotal events in the history of English Christianity and crucial to its subsequent survival and expansion. Yet little is known about Augustine himself and even less about the leadership he exercised in mounting a mission to the Anglo-Saxon people, or the monastic spirituality that energised the enterprise.

This book sifts and evaluates recent and varied sources to produce a more coherent narrative of the events that led to Augustine’s mission, his complex political and geographical journey through Merovingian France, and the outcomes in Kent and ultimately for British Christianity. Critical leadership issues are considered as they arose on the journey to Kent, together with the spiritual resources available for this bold and unprecedented venture, and Augustine’s legacy as the first Archbishop of Canterbury is reassessed.

Written by an experienced teacher and adult educator, this book explores the significance of the first Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglo-Saxon Church of his day for the life and mission of Christianity in contemporary Britain.


Most people are not professional historians, but are intrigued by events of long ago, not least events within the Roman Empire! We can learn a great deal from the past. The aim of much historical fiction is to bring different eras vividly back to life and also raise some important questions for our own time.

In the history behind a C6th-C7th Legend we want to know how Pope Gregory came to launch a mission to pagan, Saxon England during one of the worst stages of Rome’s history with its wars, politics, intrigue and belief in the soon coming of the End of the World. It’s this small but crucial slice of history that opens up a time that was crucial to Rome, to Pope Gregory, and ultimately to us who read this today.
This blog comprising 16 posts ranges widely over events in Rome, France and Saxon England to understand how, against considerable odds, false starts, and long delays, the Saxon kingdoms began the difficult task of becoming one nation.

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