William Marshal, England’s Most Famous Knight
with Professor Nigel Saul
(Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at Royal Holloway, University of London)
at Sutton Hoo on Saturday, 23rd September, 2017

William Marshal (d. 1219) was the most admired and remarkable knight of his day.  Through the prism of the unique near-contemporary biography of him, the course will look at the career and conduct of a man who rose from obscurity to become saviour of his country under Henry III.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:         Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:         Getting to know the Marshal

11.15 – 11.40:         Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:         From the cradle to the grave

12.40 – 14.00:         Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:         Chivalry and the Marshal

14.50 – 15.10:         Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:         The Marshal and his household

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Professor Nigel Saul

Nigel Saul retired in 2015 and is now Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at Royal Holloway, University of London.

In 2013 he was historical consultant to the BBC4 series Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years War.  Two years ago he was actively involved in the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.  He has published extensively on the history of medieval England, his most recent book being For Honour and Fame. Chivalry in England, 1066-1500 (London: Bodley Head, 2011).


When asked at previous Study Days by Nigel “what was best about the day?”  here is what people said:

  • Nigel’s energy and knowledge
  • Excellent lectures – vivid and scholarly
  • Each session was equally good. A lucid, straightforward, yet thought provoking account. A privilege to attend.
  • One of the best, few presenters have such clarity. Interestingly, I hardly noticed there were no visuals!
  • All of it excellent. Kept our attention going without visual aids. Nice breezy manner. Absolute clarity
  • Speaker was very clear, repeating his points to drive them home.
  • Brilliant! Please may we have him back.
  • Excellent lecturer (Nigel Saul), I thought it might be a bit above my level but he is so good, maintaining interest all through.
  • Brilliant, erudite and clear exposition wonderfully spoken and presented.


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

The key source for the Marshal’s life, the verse biography of him written in the 1220s, is now conveniently available is a good English translation: The History of William Marshal, edited and translated by Nigel Bryant (Woodbridge: the Boydell Press, 2016).

There are also two modern biographies of the Marshal.  The earlier, but still perhaps the best, and especially good on his retinue, is David Crouch, William Marshal: Court, Career and Chivalry in the Angevin Empire, 1147-1219 (Harlow: Longman, 1990).  More recent is Thomas Asbridge, The Greatest Knight: the Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power behind Five English Thrones (London: Simon and Schuster, 2015).