Saturday Study Day Programme

Autumn 2016:

24th September

Stamford Bridge

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The Battle of Stamford Bridge (25th Sept. 1066)
Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)

A 950th anniversary reappraisal of one of the greatest victories over an invading army in British history. Using the near contemporary entries in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as our primary source, and looking at the landscape of Stamford Bridge, we shall chart what we can of the build-up to the battle, the battle itself, and its aftermath.
1st October


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Medieval Kingship
Dr Rosemary Horrox (University of Cambridge)

This study-day explores what was expected of medieval English kings and whether it changed across the period. It will also consider what happened when they failed to live up to expectations.
8th October


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Viking Voyagers: The Maritime World of the Vikings
Dr Gareth Williams (British Museum)

The Viking Age saw an unprecedented expansion from the Scandinavian homelands to America, North Africa, and Central Asia. Viking shipbuilding and seamanship played an essential part in the growth of this incredible maritime world.  We shall explore the ships themselves, and how their use on seas and rivers fuelled three centuries of raiding, trading and cultural interaction.
FULL – please email to be added to waiting list
15th October


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Art and History in the Bayeux Tapestry
Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)

The Bayeux Tapestry is the most important work of narrative art of the eleventh century and one of the major sources for our understanding of Anglo-Norman culture.  On the day following the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings (14th October 1066), we shall attempt to unravel the great story this superb embroidery tells in the light of contemporary art and literature, especially the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
22nd October


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‘Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay’: Recent Research on Rural Buildings and their Context in Suffolk (1300-1800)
Philip Aitkens, Historic Buildings Consultant

A study of farms, farmhouses and outbuildings in the Suffolk countryside from 1300 to 1800 using mainly unpublished case studies. Topics will include unexpected tree ring dates for early carpentry, surprisingly specialised farm buildings from the heyday of dairying, and unique tastes in colour and interior design.     Full – email to be added to the waiting list   
5th November
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Anglo-Saxon woodworking and timber buildings; recent waterlogged archaeological evidence and experimental work
Dr Damien Goodburn (Museum of London)
Beginning with a look at the woodlands in the Anglo-Saxon landscape and archaeological evidence for woodworking tools and techniques, we shall then examine different building techniques in timber, including joints and fastenings.  After lunch there will be a handling session of timbers and replica tools, along with a demonstration of use of Anglo-Saxon woodworking tools.Full – please email to be added to the waiting list   
19th November


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The Anglo-Saxon Fenland, c. 400-800 AD
Dr Sue Oosthuizen (University of Cambridge)

The early Anglo-Saxon fenland was colourfully described by the great H.C. Darby as ‘a frontier region … the resort of brigands and bandits’, an empty wilderness until the coming of saints like Æthelthryth of Ely and Guthlac of Crowland. We shall critically examine these assumptions in the light of recent research which suggests that the fen landscape was more populated, more organised, and more carefully exploited in this period than was previously thought.Full – please email to be added to the waiting list   
26th November


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Old English Language and Literature
Steve Pollington & Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholars)

An opportunity to become further acquainted with the Old English language and its earliest surviving literature. Participants will be encouraged to utter some short texts in the original tongue.
 3rd December


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Christmas at the Court of King Arthur: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Dr Rebecca Pinner (University of East Anglia)

A Christmas game at Camelot initiates this compelling quest in which Arthur’s most famous knight, here unusually flawed and vulnerable, traverses a barrow-strewn winter landscape full of ‘wolves, worms and wodewose’ in search of medieval literature’s most enigmatic anti-hero: the Green Knight. We will explore the mythic backdrop and linguistic riches of one of the finest poems in Middle English.
10th December


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The Old English Yuletide Feast
Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)

Rediscover the magic of Christmas with an exploration of the significance of the great midwinter festival in early England and how it was celebrated.  This will include a look at the Old English calendar, which reveals how the pre-Christian year was structured, and a consideration of how this calendar was transformed into the Christian year, in the light of early medieval art, poetry, and archaeology.